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Community Tensions/ Community Cohesion

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What is Community Tensions/ Community Cohesion?

A community tension is an event that may threaten the peace and stability of communities and may lead to disorder or crime. Tensions can develop when a lack of trust develops between communities or the institutions they rely on e.g. the Police, Local Authority, utility companies or the Government. Tensions can also be connected to local, national or international events.” Safe Newcastle

Community tensions can lead to Anti-Social Behaviour, poor behaviour in Public Spaces, Hate Crimes, Harassment, Serious Violence, and Extremism and Terrorism. It also frequently leads to a breakdown in relationships between people in communities and the Police, Local Authorities or other public bodies.

Covid-19 led to additional neighbourhood tensions due to people being at home for longer, and confusion and anxiety regarding changing restrictions (Wales Safer Communities Network ASB Survey 2021). This followed tensions caused by the Brexit campaign and decision.

The Mayhill riot in 2021 was reported as being, at least in part, due to community tensions, with those who had been involved no longer feeling safe in their own homes (BBC News).

Wales’ communities are increasingly diverse and face challenges due to economic migration, deprivation and poverty, intergenerational differences, the rise of hate crime and the threat of extremism. Wales’ councillors and councils play a key community leadership role in encouraging integration and community cohesion.” WLGA

The Welsh Government wants to make sure Wales is an inclusive country in which people from all backgrounds are welcomed and there is zero tolerance of xenophobia, racism or bigotry.” Welsh Government

Welsh Government, Local Authorities, Police and the third sector work to ensure that cohesion takes root in all communities. Part of this is done through the community cohesion teams and coordinators. Their role is to engage with communities, provide reassurance and enable collaboration between public services and local communities.

The Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 includes a Wales of cohesive communities as one of the 7 wellbeing goals, yet between 2013/14 and 2018/19 the number of people who agreed that there was good community cohesion in their local community had dropped from over 60% to only just over 50%. There was also an increase in hate crimes.

Cohesive and connected communities are an important part of people’s individual well-being, and more people now realise the value of kindness, community and connections on wellbeing.” Future Generations Commissioner

Community cohesion is about inclusion, making the effort to find out about others, treating each other with respect and building good relations between different parts of the community.

Cohesive communities that are well connected are more resilient to change, and people are kinder to each other. It leads to individuals and communities being trusted and empowered to do the things that matter, and they have good access to public bodies involved in Health, Education, Housing and Community Safety. Community cohesion describes the ability of all communities to function and grow in harmony together rather than in conflict.

  • Equality Act 2010 sets out the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity.
  • Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 introduced the 7 wellbeing goals which include: a more equal Wales; a Wales of cohesive communities; a healthier Wales; and a resilient Wales.

Local Authorities will have links to the Network of Community Cohesion Coordinators and may have a local plan. See the Directory for links to the Local Authority websites.

Help and Support

For victims, families and concerned people

If you’ve witnessed or been the victim of crime, please report it to the Police. Call 101 or report it online depending on your region of Wales – South Wales Police, Dyfed Powys Police, Gwent Police or North Wales Police. In an emergency, call 999.

If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, use the Police textphone service 18000 or text on 999 if you’ve pre-registered with the emergencySMS service.

If you have information about crime and wish to remain anonymous, contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online.

If you’ve been affected by crime, you can access support from Victim Support, including via their free, 24/7 national supportline on 08 08 16 89 111, or get support online.