Sergeant Matt Hughes
Tell us a bit about yourself
Currently a Harlow Town Centre Team Sergeant. Biggest achievements include being chosen to go to London to represent Essex Police in the Remembrance Sunday Parade at the Cenotaph. Achieving my advanced IPP driving course and becoming a Temporary Inspector only 18 months after becoming a Sgt. Essex Police Drill Instructor (voluntary). Being able to attend drill related CPD in London to watch the Changing of the Guards Ceremony from the forecourt of Buckingham Palace. Achieving the rank of Warrant Officer in the Air Cadets and being a first aid instructor. Lastly, managing to buy my own home.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Being able to influence change. Being able to manage a team and develop them to be the best they can be. Being on LPT means I get the best of frontline policing in terms of the diversity and variety. Being responsible for such a great, hardworking team of people.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Valuing difference in the Police is essential in being able to represent the diverse communities we serve. Any form of inequality or disproportionality can harm community cohesion. Essex Police is committed to resolving inequalities. Our approach both inside and outside of the organisation is key to being able to maintain our ability to Police by Consent.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
No. I had my own hidden barriers to joining. As a gay man I was nervous about joining. I was worried that I was joining a predominantly straight male environment full of testosterone and masculinity. Truth be known I am camp and effeminate, and not in any way muscular, so I felt that the environment I would be joining would be judgemental and prejudice and I wouldn’t fit in. I could not have been more wrong. Essex Police as an organisation and all of my colleagues that I have had over the 10 years in the job are brilliant, I could not have asked for more supportive and friendly people which I now call friends.
Why do you think it’s so important that our force values difference?
From my own perspective, we must show externally that we respect diversity internally in order to be able to show that we also value difference externally. We must show both visually and representationally the communities that we serve. It is important to narrow the disparity between our workforce and the communities we serve so that we better reflect our community which in turn will help us to improve public satisfaction and confidence.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I am a member of the LGBTQ+ Network, I am a committee member. I am also an appointed LGBT Recruitment Buddy. I have been allowed duty time to attend PRIDE events in Essex, London and Cardiff to represent Essex Police. Essex Police has also paid for my attendance at the National LGBTQ+ Policing Conference in 2019.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
As one of the Essex Police Drill Instructors I have been to watch the Changing of the Guard Ceremony whilst in Police Ceremonial Uniform whilst standing on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about joining Essex Police?
DO IT! Whether you are gay, bi, lesbian, trans, black, white, Asian, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes, it can be scary applying for a job/career where preconceived ideas around testosterone fuelled environments may put you off, but don’t let it. Be you, be yourself, be strong, be proud and DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!