DS Tamara Campe - an inclusive journey for all of us - guest blog
Equality Diversity and Inclusion: three words that can cover so many areas in our work and home lives.
When I began my role as Strategic Development Sergeant for Equality Diversity and Inclusion (EDI), I was surprised at how far it reaches. However, at its simplest it's about understanding difference.
Wiltshire Police has been on a journey to improve our understanding of this area and ensure we deliver positive change. We've opened ourselves up to scrutiny from the public, partners and our employees, seeking views and opinions on what we should be doing as part of our long term strategy.
The National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) gave us a framework to work with, but we wanted to give others the opportunity to help us create a strategy that took their views into consideration. Deputy Chief Constable Paul Mills, who leads EDI for Wiltshire Police, and the PCC ran a series of engagement sessions last autumn with the public, partners and our staff to discuss a proposed new strategy, supported by an online survey. We wanted as transparent a process as possible and asked independent advisors to oversee it. We discussed what matters most to people and shared what we've already done to increase inclusivity. Attendees opened up and talked with us during and after the events. We heard first-hand about the challenges faced by some groups, the impact of hate crime on them, accessibility for all and the importance of communities feeling that the police both listen to them and take action. Explaining what our Independent Advisory Groups do was commonly mentioned and something we need to improve on.
With our Independent Advisory Groups and other independent oversight groups such as our Stop Search Scrutiny Panel, we had a good starting point, but felt it was vital to hold these sessions in public to enable open, face to face contact and discussion. As a result, we've now got to a position where we can draw together a strategy that enables us to better inform the public where we need to focus our attention and improve the policing approach. To do this we are focussing on three key themes:
Our Communities - Improving knowledge of our communities and how we can best engage with them to build that essential trust and confidence in the police service. This will help us focus our policing response. Crimes that are often under reported such as hate crime will only be truly understood if our communities can trust us and feel confident to report.
Our Organisation - this means attracting and developing a police service that reflects our communities; diverse workforces are the most effective and can reach out to a wider audience. To understand our own workforce makeup, we also need to have the trust and confidence of our employees to declare protective characteristics.
Our Partners - Working together with partners to seek out where there are disparities and collectively identify how to close that gap wherever possible
Achieving this will take time. It's good to know we have strong leadership in place, with our Deputy Chief Constable monitoring delivery through our Diversity Strategy Group bi-monthly.