Students studying to be police officers at the University of East London stopped for tea on Brew Monday to acknowledge the great work of the ‘Samaritans’, showing support for the charity’s bid to raise awareness of the need to chat.
With the Samaritans answering a call every six seconds listening to someone who is struggling to cope, the University wanted to highlight to students the work of the charity, the vast majority of which are volunteers, and to reinforce the importance of communications skills and effective listening.
The Samaritan Brew Monday campaign (taking part throughout Jan and Feb) centres around coming together ‘when it’s cold and grey outside’ to connect people over a warming cuppa to engage in conversations in order to manage life’s ups and downs and at the same time raising awareness and fundraising for the Samaritans.
Dr Sarah Fox, the University’s Head of Policing, Centre of Professional Policing, (CoPP) explained, “The University of East London have been leading the way in our unique approach to learning in order to help our policing students understand the importance of effectively engaging and interacting with the community.
“The primary role of the Samaritans is suicide prevention, creating a world where fewer people die by taking their lives. The recent few years have seen an increase of deaths by suicide in the UK, so encouraging time-out to talk and share concerns can go some way to helping reduce these numbers.”
The University’s students are currently on a journey to learn the skills and knowledge for effective policing as part of the pre-join route into the police or a similar and allied profession. They are the first intake on the BSc (Hons) Professional Policing degree. As part of their degree studies, they are engaging in community projects and other related ventures, including mentoring and learning about risk and safety, vulnerability and well-being.
The University of East London is well on the way to working with the community, having launched its Project Tri-Com in November last year, focusing on interacting with the public, police and schools. Its emphasis is on Community Engagement and bringing various parties together to encourage dialogue in an innovative way. Tri-Com is a Community Action: Promoting partnerships to Problem Solve and is an initiative by the University of East London Centre of Professional Policing and their Online Harms and Cyber Crime Unit (OHCCU).
Tri-Com focuses on working with others on issues such as understanding peer pressure online, virtual and face-to-face.
Dr Fox added, “As technology continues to replace some of the ways we engage with each other, it is important to remember the basics of effective listening. And, it’s also important for more research to be undertaken which considers internet-safety and the messages conveyed by this medium as well as how we can effectively use the cyber space to help save lives.”
The University of East London is officially launching its Online Harms and Cyber Crime Unit at the House of Lords this month.