Celebration of Pride Month - Focus on Fingerprint Examiner Victoria
“No two fingerprints are the same – they are completely unique to a person and what makes you, you. They’re the perfect example of diversity!”
Victoria is a Fingerprint Examiner here at Essex Police and her main focus is looking at crime scene marks to try and identify the people involved. She knows first-hand the importance of each fingerprint being completely distinct in order to catch criminals.
Since working in the Fingerprint Hub, Victoria has learned the history of fingerprints and the formation of how they’re made. Each fingerprint is unique to an individual.
“Did you know that your fingers, hands and feet have skin known as friction ridge skin which makes it easier to grip and hold things? Your fingers have patterns on them that are generally variation of arches, loops and whorls and contain different features and characteristics. “Although we all have fingerprints and they’re generally similar in look and nature, none are ever repeated, much like people. “I identify as a white cisgender female lesbian and although there may be others who identify the same as me, no one will be exactly like me!”
Another reminder on why events like Pride are so important, it’s a chance to embrace and celebrate our differences. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community herself, Victoria spoke about her role in Essex Police and what Pride means to her.
Tell us a bit about yourself:
I have worked for Essex Police since 2013. I previously volunteered as a Special Constable in the Braintree District and now volunteer as part of the LGBTQ+ Staff Network. I live in Essex with my girlfriend and our rescue Dog Jinkx.
Tell us about the LGBTQ+ Network and what they do/ what it means to you?
The LGBTQ+ Network is there to support officers and staff who identify or have family and friends that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. We are here to help push change in Essex Police and challenge any misconceptions and homophobia. We also advise any colleagues if they need help with an investigation that may include someone who identifies as LGBTQ+ and generally exist as a network to help colleagues and community members learn more.
Why is Pride Month important and what does it mean to you?
Pride month is important to me because it gives me the space to be myself. It’s somewhere I can feel safe to exist and also, more importantly, it gives visibility that queer people and queer spaces exist to those who have grown up questioning their sexuality or gender identity and provides that feeling of not being alone.
How does Pride Month make you feel in a sentence or less?
Pride month makes me unquestionably happy to see other people, like myself, being unapologetically themselves and defying hatred that is unfortunately still around today.
How do you promote inclusivity and how can others learn from this?
Everyone should feel able to celebrate pride. As a white cisgender lesbian, I only represent a tiny part of our LGBTQ+ spectrum, inclusivity is important because we’re all different and if we were all the same carbon copy of each other life would be boring. I want to meet people who are different to me, have different views and lives and by welcoming people of all backgrounds it can only be a positive experience. It’s primarily about being open and learning experiences from a variety of people.
How can we get involved in Pride Month and continue to support the LGBTQ+ community in our workplace and in our communities?
I think it’s great that Essex Police support LGBTQ+ colleagues, there’s always room for improvement of course, and by always challenging situations that arise and doing the right thing, I think support is shown here. Even simply putting this sort of news out to the general public despite the hatred the police often get from so many for sharing an “affiliation with a specific group”, it shows that they’re willing to support us. Despite the backlash from the community, especially after the recent picture of the Progress Pride flag that went out and received negative responses – if it helps just one person feel they can come forward and report a hate crime or gives one person in the LGBTQ+ community a little more trust in the police, it can only be a good thing!
Is there anything Essex Police do well for the LGBTQ+ community and what could we be doing more of/ differently?
There’s always positive feedback after attended events such as Pride and it’s important that Essex Police have a presence there, a lot of the Essex Police employees that go to these events do so in their own time to provide their support to the community. Being visible and showing your support for marginalised groups is crucial in raising the confidence of LGBTQ+ based crimes. I personally think making hate crimes easier to report would be a good step forward in getting people to speak out.