This short paper will present findings based on the evaluation of the recently completed ‘Picturing Diversity’ project which is a learning resource developed primarily for student police officers who study on the Foundation Degree in Police Studies. This online resource incorporates a video-interview format to enable real community members to ‘speak for themselves’ in relation to their views on equality and diversity issues and professional practice.\ud \ud The project was initiated as a result of student feedback which indicated that many students struggled to relate academic concepts and theories around equality and diversity to real-world situations and professional practice. In particular, students felt that the module gave them little opportunity to research the lives, experiences and concerns of real community groups. This in turn did little to build their confidence in working effectively with diversity issues in their professional practice. Picturing Diversity aims to address these problems by encouraging students to reflect on the thoughts, views and experiences of community members so that these can be ‘brought into the classroom’. The need for the police service to gain a better understanding of local community diversity and needs through networking, consultation and research is already well established within the framework of Neighbourhood Policing Teams (NPT). This is further confirmed by several of the Picturing Diversity interviewees who state that effective relationships between the police and diverse communities ‘is all about doing research’.\ud \ud This paper will present the rationale underpinning the development of this resource, and consider how it has contributed to learning and teaching on the ‘Equality, Diversity and Rights’ module. It will articulate some of the challenges and rewards involved in engaging student police officers in diversity issues, in a context where many of the available media resources focus exclusively on negative police practice. It will also outline our approach to investigating community members’ perspectives and evaluate the extent to which this has helped to emphasise links between theory and practice
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