Work to address misogyny in policing is part of culture change at Wiltshire Police
Work to address misogyny in policing is part of culture change at Wiltshire Police.
Rooting out misogyny where it exists in each department within Wiltshire Police is already underway with a significant culture change shift being implemented and listening to female officers’ lived experiences.
Earlier this month, a national survey of female police officers across the UK, carried out by The Police Federation of England and Wales, revealed misogyny was ‘rife’ throughout the country’s police forces.
Wiltshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Wilkinson said seismic change within policing nationally has been on the cards for some time and he was pleased with the county’s force had already pinpointed that culture change at the top of their agenda.
Mr Wilkinson said: “I have always been clear that for police forces to realistically, and effectively, start to beat rising violence against women and girls crimes and to increase the public’s confidence in the police service’s ability to tackle it, policing leaders would need to tackle these issues within their own workplaces first.
“Those many reports where police officers have not lived up to the high standards and behaviours we expect of our public servants, ensured the telescope lens was firmly pointed on the change needed within.
“Both the Chief Constable and I are determined that Wiltshire’s force will not provide a breeding ground for misogynistic behaviour. For too long, these behaviours have been explained away and female officers have been expected to accept it as ‘banter’.
“It isn’t acceptable and we now need to ensure everyone, both female and male, feels empowered and has the personal responsibility to challenge it where it exists and report it.
“Rooting this behaviour out starts with leadership, values and culture change within the organisation – and I am pleased we have already started that work within Wiltshire Police.”
Wiltshire Police’s Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said work to tackle misogyny isn’t new but acknowledging its existence is just the first step to addressing the problem.
He said work to ensure culture change won’t happen overnight but as long as female officers feel empowered to challenge and have the support of their male colleagues to call out misogyny and sexism, then the force is
Chief Constable Kier Pritchard said: “Sadly, issues such as sexism and misogyny are still prevalent in society and, although policing is a representation of our communities, we expect police officers and staff to demonstrate the highest standards of behaviour both in their interactions with colleagues and members of the public.
“Simply put; the existence of these issues within policing requires a change of culture.
“At Wiltshire Police, we’ve acknowledged this and we’re committed to changing this culture by robustly tackling this behaviour and taking the strongest action we can against those who are in flagrant breach of our values.
“For this to happen, everyone within our organisation must have the confidence to call out this unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour.
“To that end, we have recently begun a proactive force-wide campaign using the lived experiences of our female colleagues who have bravely spoken about being the victims of sexism or misogyny at work.
“These testimonies have been used to create a bespoke briefing product which we are using to hold two-way conversations with the workforce.
“This will, in time, lead to the change in attitudes and culture which is desperately needed.
“We are also drawing on the invaluable experience of support groups to assist with this work including our Connect Women’s Network.
“This is all forming part of our wholesale commitment to drive up standards both inside our organisation and the standards expected by the communities we serve externally.”