Future Trends: Building Trust in Policing Through the Arts

Building Trust in Policing Through Arts Collaboration

Future Trends Series

The Future Trends series explores different aspects of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 (UK CoC 2021). It aims to provide accessible, research-led accounts of issues related and relevant to the development of the UK City of Culture programme.

The paper Building Trust in Policing Through Arts Collaboration was released in December 2022.


Drawing on over 100 interviews and focus groups, this paper evaluates the innovative partnership between West Midlands Police and Coventry City of Culture Trust to ask: Can police engagement through creative partnerships help to rebuild public trust and confidence?

It considers how the police can use arts and culture to build positive relationships with vulnerable, at-risk, and seldom heard communities through collaborative working with arts practitioners and 3rd sector organisations.

Coventry UK City of Culture 2021 offered West Midlands Police a unique opportunity to explore the possibilities offered by arts and culture for building positive community relationships.

Building Trust in Policing Through Arts Collaboration (page 4)

The paper also notes the suspicion still felt by some members of the public and community organisations, highlighting the ongoing need for a shift in police culture, long-term relationship-building with existing community organisations and transparency of police objectives

A case study incorporates several themes, the first of which Building Trust And Connections Through Arts And Culture covers:

  • the partnership model: close collaboration and relationship-building
  • safety and security
  • community engagement
  • opportunities for engagement
  • relationships with other organisations.

The Engagement Through Arts And Culture: More Than Just Keeping People Safe theme includes:

  • showing a willingness to engage
  • co-creation: rebalancing power
  • humanising the police and the public.

Learning Going Forward: Police Culture, Long-Term Relationships And Transparent Objectives outlines the importance of:

  • police buy-in: shifting police culture
  • strong, long-term relationships with community organisations
  • trust and transparency: tensions between enforcement and engagement.


This Future Trends paper was written by Professor Jackie Hodgson and Dr Rachel Lewis, both University of Warwick.

These Future Trends papers were published as part of the UK Cities of Culture project and commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


Related content is available within the focus study: Policing, Culture And Community − West Midlands Police As City Of Culture Partners.

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