I am the proud but recently appointed Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Essex Police. In my limited time in role I have revised the pending D&I Strategy, updated the Impact Assessment template, proposed EDIC (Equality Diversity Inclusion Cohesion) working groups to effect problem-solving on issues such as Stop and Search and Use of Force. We’ll also be hosting the force’s first event in acknowledgement of Day of the Disabled Persons (3 December) which will be opened by Chief Constable Harrington.
Some of my biggest external past projects including working with Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick and George Michael. I am most proud of the now defunct Brent HIV Centre, which I developed during the outset of that virus in the 1980s. Supporters included Princess Diana. One of my first service users was a Met Police officer living with AIDS.
My hobbies include writing books, the gym, cooking and keeping up with politics.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
There are unique challenges in policing regarding diversity, inclusion and community cohesion. I am full of ideas and enthusiasm to add value to the challenge. I have always had a deep respect for the police and British values, and I have an intrinsic dislike of criminality of any kind. I will enjoy enabling the interface between the police and diverse public, building strong relationships, and encouraging young people to see themselves as future heroes in uniform. Including people who are different, that’s what I’m all about and is what I’ve been doing for a few decades now. It’s a great privilege to add value to the national conversation about diversity within policing and the progress we’re continuing to make.
Why is diversity and inclusion so important in and outside of the workplace?
Our work and campaigning regarding diversity, inclusion and policing, internal and external, is important for the following reasons:
The Legal Case – The Equality Act 2010 is a matter of law and Essex Police sees it as an opportunity, not a threat;
The Business Case – We want to attract and retain the best possible diverse talent and make sure they are represented in all roles and at all grades. We welcome and want to benefit from the innovation and creativity that come with diverse perspectives;
The Moral Case – Providing high quality, inclusive, dignity-affirming policing services to everybody, regardless of protected characteristic, is simply the right thing to do;
The Ethics Case – The Policing Code of Ethics as developed by the College of Policing guides our principles and values. We will act in accordance with the Code to respect the rights of our staff and communities to ensure they are treated with dignity, fairness and respect;
The Life Chances Case – Enabling equal life opportunities and outcomes by comparing and reducing inequalities or disparities between different groups; such as disabled and non-disabled people, black, Asian and minority ethnic and non-black, Asian and minority ethnic people, different genders, older and younger people, heterosexual and LGBT+ people, stop and search operations, health status, socio-economic status, etc;
Our Valuing Difference campaign sums up the essence of our diversity and inclusion values as a modern police force.
Were there any barriers to joining Essex Police?
I must admit that I had to overcome some personal mental barriers to joining the police, but all my reservations were cast aside by the warm welcome I received from all colleagues, including the Chief Constable and my highly committed team, Sara and Shenaz. My line manager, Superintendent Paul Kinzett has been very supportive too. I’m pleased to be here, despite the COVID-19 challenge. We all have to deal with that mega change to our lives; working and non-working.
How has Essex Police as an organisation supported you in your career?
I’ve just got here so I have yet to tap into buddying or the various staff support networks, but I’m glad they are there.
Tell us something interesting about your role?
Sorry for being boring, but I think everything about my role is interesting. I’m in a key ’people job’ and working in a police force that truly wants to make a positive difference in people’s lives, regardless of who they are.
People won’t know that I wasn’t originally attracted to Essex Police because of their commitment to diversity and inclusion. It was as a member of the public watching the horrific news and seeing how the force managed – and continues to manage – the investigation into the deaths of 39 Vietnamese nationals in Grays last October. I was bowled over with emotion at the dignity and respect that I saw afforded to the victims and their families by Deputy Chief Constable Pippa Mills and other colleagues. That’s what got my attention. Imagine my surprise when I entered the interview room and found that it was Ma’am Mills chairing the interview panel!
What advice would you give to anyone identifying as black, Asian and minority ethnic thinking about joining Essex Police?
As a black man, I’m in it to improve it. The black community is generally disengaged with policing, here and nationally. We must fix that and I want to play my part. We need to start conversations, as uncomfortable as some of these might be, and show black, Asian and minority ethnic communities that they too can become heroes and realise their full potential. Everyone is welcome at Essex Police, whatever your background. All we ask is for your honestly, integrity, talent, and unwavering commitment to be the best you can be for the public we have the consent and privilege to serve.