Equality and diversity
At the very heart of everything Essex Police does is the community. Communities are diverse and getting to know each and every one within the county helps us do our job more effectively. Put simply, diversity means difference across race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, faith and age.
We take diversity related issues very seriously and continually review how we can best meet the needs of the residents of Essex and those who work and visit here.
It’s important to us that your experience of Essex Police is a positive one and that means being sensitive and responsive to your individual needs.
To make sure that happens we have a Diversity Unit constantly working to raise awareness of equality and diversity within the daily business of Essex Police.
Valuing differences, treating people fairly and judging people on merit makes for better policing and we’re determined to make sure nobody who comes into contact with us is disadvantaged.
We strive to make the way we deliver our services, provide information and carry out our employment functions open and accessible to all.
On the next few pages you can read about what we’re doing to build a diverse workforce and how we’re working to improve the quality of service we offer the communities of Essex.
If you would like more information about equality and diversity within Essex Police contact the diversity unit by calling 101.
Independent advisory groups
We're always thinking of ways we can improve the service we offer and have a group on hand to help.
The Essex Police Independent Advisory Groups play an important part in ensuring that Essex police consult with and understand the views of our many diverse communities.
The aim is to help the Force better understand how our processes and new policies can affect the different communities in Essex and, be the link between communities and Essex Police in relation to matters of diversity.
It brings together people of all ages and backgrounds, who can provide expert knowledge from their communities to help our staff and operational officer’s build trust and confidence with the community.
The group offer advice and practical assistance around the subjects of race, faith, disability, travellers, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and vulnerable, young and older people.
They provide an insight into their communities during staff training, help complete impact assessments after a crime has taken place and monitor tensions within a community.
They can also offer senior investigating officers advice on the direction of investigations and help us write policies.
Members are recruited to offer advice and guidance to the police, including constructive feedback around new policy developments and police recruitment, and provide the link to all Essex communities.
If you’re interested in shaping the way policing is delivered in Essex and ensuring your community has a voice, fill in the form below and email it to us, or find out more from the diversity unit by calling 101, then asking for ext 130072.
Staff support networks help improve our understanding of minority issues and ensure they’re reflected through our work. They give officers, staff and volunteers the chance to share their experiences and concerns and help us learn from our mistakes and successes.
If you’re thinking about a career with Essex Police you might like to know about some we have available:
- Minority and Ethnic Support Association (MESA)
- The Essex Police Branch of the Christian Police Association (CPA)
- The Disability Network
- LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Network
- The Women's Leadership and Development Forum (WLDF)
- The Catholic Police Guild
Specially trained staff also run support networks to give guidance and advice to their colleagues should they need it.
- The Worklife Balance Network - for working parents and carers
- Fairplay Advisors Network - volunteer grievance advisors
- TRiM - Trauma Risk Management
Each group nominates a representative to sit on our Equality and Diversity Group, a strategic meeting held quarterly.
Our aim is to build a workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities and attracts the best talent from the widest pool of people. However some groups of people are currently under represented either in our workforce as a whole or in particular positions.
Employees from ethnic minority groups and with disabilities are currently under represented across Essex Police while women are under represented in senior management positions and the role of police officer. Men are under represented in administrative roles.
Under represented is a term used to describe the situation whereby the diversity of the local community is not accurately reflected in the workplace. It’s worked out by taking the make up of the local population of working age and comparing it to the current workforce at Essex Police
We’re working to make sure the diversity of the community is reflected by our workforce. That’s where positive action comes in.
Positive action refers to measures designed to counteract the effects of past discrimination and help eliminate stereotyping.
It’s not about favouring some people over others but is a way of helping employers encourage people from under represented groups to apply for jobs and promotions.
Sadly, some people believe they won’t fit in to an organisation because of their lifestyle or background. Their past experiences may even have led them to think they wouldn’t be welcome as an employee.
Positive action aims to dispel these myths, show potential employees how organisations have changed and emphasise that applications are very welcome from people from under represented groups. Final selection for a post is always made on merit however.
Positive action is not the same as positive discrimination. Positive discrimination is unlawful in the UK but certain positive action initiatives are permitted by law. For example, the Disability Discrimination Act (now covered under the Equality Duty 2010) and Government Two Ticks Scheme were introduced to support the employment of people with disabilities.
We’re committed to developing a diverse workforce and are currently considering issues relating to under representation in support staff and police specialist posts.
Public Sector Equality Duty (section 149 Equality Act 2010)
This legal duty requires public bodies (and their individual members) to have ‘due regard’ to eliminate discrimination, promote equality and foster good relations in carrying out their business functions. This means taking a pro-active approach to understanding and responding to staff and service users (and potential users) needs, understanding the impact of business policies, procedures and decisions on different people, delivering fair and appropriate services and promoting equality. Most aspects of business will be covered by the duty, including policy making, providing services and employing people. The duty involves:
- removing or minimising disadvantages suffered by persons who share a relevant protected characteristic* that are connected to that characteristic;
- taking steps to meet the needs of persons who share a relevant protected characteristic* that are different from the needs of persons who do not share it;
- meeting the needs of disabled persons that are different from the needs of persons who are not disabled including, in particular, steps to take account of disabled persons’ disabilities.
* 'Protected Characteristics' is the term introduced by the Equality Act 2010 to describe the specific groups of people who are protected from discrimination under the Act. The characteristics protected are Age, Disability, Pregnancy & Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, Sexual Orientation and Transgender.
How does Essex Police comply with the duty?
Public bodies are required to publish information about their compliance by 31st January 2012 and annually thereafter. They are also required to publish one or more ‘Equality Objectives’ by 4th April 2012 and every 4 years thereafter.