The Cinnamon Network seeks to transform cities by partnering with the Church in different sectors of society like government, nonprofit, business and more. They call these partnerships “networks,” and while the idea was ignited in the United Kingdom (U.K.), the Cinnamon Network is helping start networks across the world.
In the U.K. specifically Essex, England, they helped to facilitate a partnership between 5 to 10 local churches and the local police force to create a united effort that supports the most vulnerable in their community. While some churches are not active in their communities, these churches made themselves available by showing up and alleviating pressure on local police to respond to “non-crime” related calls. They did this with the help of a Cinnamon Network Project, who trained “Street Pastors” to respond to these calls instead.
Stretched Police Forces
While police forces are under incredible pressure, the majority of calls they respond to are consider “non-crime” and, with continued budget cuts, the strain on local forces is immense. The police force in Essex, featured in the program, estimate that 80 percent of calls are not actually reporting a crime, but rather related to welfare, mental health, and negative social behavior.
“Police officers can’t do everything all the time so we need to work more effectively with people who know what is going on in their local community. We work with other voluntary groups who come in and work with young people and around the night time economy and they fill some of those gaps that my officers would like to – but they are so thinly stretched they just don’t have the time and capacity” says Stephen Kavanagh, the Chief Constable of Essex Police.
In response, Cinnamon Network has been helping churches to set-up Cinnamon Recognized Projects that contribute to local policing priorities. By partnering with the Cinnamon Network, police forces provide resources to enable 5 to 10 local churches to access a micro-grant, training, and support to establish a tried and tested project that effectively meets the greatest needs in their communities.
The partnership enables projects to be set-up at a very low cost to the police force, while resulting in outcomes that contribute to the priorities identified in the force’s Police and Crime Plan.
Churches Together in Basildon, Essex
An example of one Cinnamon Recognized Projects is “Street Pastors,” which aims to reduce negative social behavior and address issues around the night-time economy on the weekend. A gospel movement in the borough of Essex called Basildon received a grant from the Essex Police to set up the Street Pastors.
Within 12 months, the project worked with more than 500 at-risk people and as a result, saw a significant reduction of crime, and even non-emergency calls to the police. Similar projects in other cities have seen remarkable results as well.According to Sussex Police data, when teams from local churches are on patrol, negative social behavior is reduced by 79%, violent crime by 50 percent and violent crime leading to injury by 82 percent.
Roger Hirst, Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, says, “Sometimes the police aren’t the right response for minor crime. We are enabling people who want to do good in their community to do it in a structured way, in collaboration with police services, so we’re trying to achieve goals that are going to make a difference to the night time economy and to young people.”
It’s Cost Effective
The Founder of Cinnamon Network, Matt Bird, says, “Policing resources, like the resources of any public agency, are more limited than ever. One of the ways of making the money they have go further is by building partnership and collaboration with others. By working with churches the police are creating a partner that leverages the money they do have to make an even bigger difference for the strength and safety of communities.”
Since October 2015, the Essex Police & Crime Commissioner has provided a total of 10 micro-grants of approximately $2,000 to help local churches across the Essex police force area to establish social action projects to tackle the key issues faced by their communities. Into the second year, 97% of projects continued, and over 90% into a third year and beyond. On average, projects directly impacted 40 individuals in the first 12 months. This equates to a project cost of approximately $97 per person.
This piece was adapted from an article by The Cinnamon Network.