Inspector Ben Forbes
Met Police 03/11/2013
Joined Essex on promotion on 03/12/2018
Tell us a bit about yourself
I am currently the Inspector in charge of our COVID19 response and preparation with partners across the West Local Policing Area. This has been a demanding role but I have learnt a considerable amount and had given me a great opportunity to grow as a leader.
When I joined Essex Police, I was posted to LPT in Thurrock and led an emergency response team for almost a year. I then was very lucky to be selected to lead and launch the first ever Thurrock Town Centre Team, which was a fantastic opportunity for me to work at different levels and really provide a meaningful engaging and visible community team for the heart of our town centres.
A key incident / role that I held whilst in Thurrock CPT was being a sub bronze commander for an extremely challenging and emotionally tough operation. I am so glad I was asked by my Superintendent to step up and help the local communities and to support a serious investigation led by our brilliant SCD colleagues.
Not only was it a pleasure to get to know and support our local communities that were affected by this incident, it was a real humbling moment to focus on how we support our colleagues from within our force family.
I am also proud to have completed and passed a College of Policing funded University Degree. I grew up as a single child in Newham, East London, who had not engaged with education and as such, had no GCSE’s, It just shows that anything is possible with the right support and energy to go behind it.
Outside of work I love forest walks with my kids and am a previous Kayak, Canoe and Powerboat Coach/Assessor so love being on the water and exploring the open sea.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
My role here now in Essex is diverse in every possible way. I most enjoy being able to work with some incredible partners (charities, large and small organisations) and every member of staff and officer team across Essex in order to help focus our attention on supporting victims of crime, and using innovative, new and evolutionary ways of working/thinking to divert and prevent criminality, such as public health approaches with our Violence and Vulnerability unit.
Lastly, I would say that my fear of moving from the Met in London to Essex was that I would not be given opportunities to develop, expand, learn and grow. How wrong was I! I have never been supported more than I have in Essex but also, there are endless opportunities for you to develop and grow as a leader, be it in HR Innovation, Specialist Crime or developing current and Community Policing practices.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
For me, it’s important because I am different, I am a disabled officer (dyslexia) and I am a mixed heritage officer and due to both diversity factors, that are a part of me, I have experienced positive and negative repercussions in my past.
So, for me, it is important that as a police force, but also as human beings, we are being respectful and aware of difference in everything we do in society, from our professional world of policing to our social and home life.
In order to truly represent the people we serve, and we hear a lot about Sir Robert Peels quote that the ‘Public are the Police and the Police are the Public’ and I really do live by that.
It is by only being different, by only recognising, valuing and safeguarding that difference, will we be truly representing our core values.
I would end by saying that being diverse is not a singular term and it certainly means more than what we see on the surface, it’s about diversity of thought and mind, its about experience, its about culture and its about much much more.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
Perception. People within our most diverse communities may have the perception that law enforcement (national issue) is a closed book and that police forces do not respect, understand or value cultural differences.
My experience is that we are not perfect, and I think that is an unrealistic term to use because who truly is perfect all the time in every regard? What I would say is I have never experienced such a welcoming, understanding and fluid force. Fluid in the terms of it will adjust and adapt to make sure everyone is welcome.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
Essex Police have numerous support forums, groups and networks that look to holistically support everyone and anyone from within. I am lucky to be connected to our Disability Network, Minority & Ethnic Support Association and I am also a Federation Rep.
My previous background in supporting diversity and developing numerous engagement projects for communities that do not have a traditionally positive relationship with law enforcement, has been welcomed since I have arrived in Essex and I honestly believe our thoughts are listened to from our Chief Constable.
What advice would you give to anyone identifying as BAME thinking about joining Essex Police?
There is no set profile on who we want to join Essex Police. What we do want and what we need, are people who want to make a change, people who want to work on developing relations and driving that passion with a high level of care, compassion, energy and professionalism.
Be you, be different, and be the change.