Blog: “Let’s focus on people rather than percentages”

05 November 2018

Peggy Lamont

PFEW Equality lead Peggy Lamont

New PFEW Equality lead Peggy Lamont explains why it’s vital people’s diversity is acknowledged, accepted and embraced.

The most recent workforce figures show that there are 122,404 police officers in England and Wales.

Have a think about that.

That’s 122,404 individual people all of whom have their own hopes, fears, dreams and anxieties.

Each one has people they love, and people who love them.

They all occasionally worry they have left the iron on or that they didn’t lock the front door.
And they all happen to be police officers.

In the past one of the defining characteristics of policing has been uniformity – literally for those on the front-line.

But although officers may look the same outside - inside they are unique human beings and that must never be forgotten.

For me this is what equality is all about.

It’s not about targets or graphs or percentages. It’s about making sure that everyone is afforded a fair chance and an equal opportunity.

When I became a Federation rep I expected to be dealing with conduct and performance but I ended up working more in health and safety and in dealing with equality issues.

That’s what opened my eyes to the huge amount of great work that the Federation does in this area. Most of it goes on quietly and unsung but is nonetheless vital in ensuring that our members and the organisation are able to keep providing the great service to the public we do.

I was hooked.

Sometimes when I say the words ‘diversity and equality’ I can see people’s eyes glaze over.
I want to change that.

I am not about ranting and raving. I am about enabling positive change which will hopefully help in combatting and eradicating inequality where it exists within our organisation.

And please don’t think I am a ‘suit’ issuing decrees from a corner office in ‘HQ Towers’. I am a police officer first and foremost. And I have experienced my fair share of inequality in my 17-year career. I know what it is like.

I appreciate deeply that every officer brings with them all their life experience – good and bad.
I have a disability – a mental health condition – which sometimes affects my ability to do my job. It doesn’t mean I’m not a good police officer. It just means that every now and then I need some extra support. And luckily I have a boss and colleagues who understand that.

I want this to be the norm for police officers, I want people’s diversity to be acknowledged, accepted and embraced.

I believe change breeds change. I try and lead by example and I hope others will follow. That is the main reason why I became Equality lead for the Police Federation. To help lead and implement positive change throughout the Fed and the service as a whole.

And to ensure that everyone remembers that, we may all be police officers, but we are individuals first and foremost.