Derbyshire Police Federation

Race Action Plan ‘needs to be backed up’ says PC

21 May 2024

The Police Race Action Plan is a chance to build trust and confidence in policing, says a Derbyshire Police Federation member.

However, PC Harpreet Singh Sidhu says the plan needs to be backed up if it is to work.

The Police Race Action Plan is the biggest coordinated effort ever across every police force in England and Wales to improve trust and confidence in policing among Black communities. Derbyshire Police is currently working on its plan.

Harpreet said: “The plan is trying to make sure that we police fairly and properly, and are seen to be as transparent as possible.

“There’s the national plan and then the localised plan. Having a plan is great as long as it’s actioned on.
“If it’s just going to be words and reads like a political manifesto, that we propose to do this and that and not follow through with anything, we may as well not bother.

“In the 18 and a half years I’ve been in the job, my issue with these is that they are great on paper, but at times, as police officers, we have to make difficult decisions, especially when you’re arresting someone.

“It’s great to have these plans in place and I’m all for having transparency, however, my concern comes when we have to deal with an incident that requires some robust action and may upset some people but it’s the right thing to do.

“We do have to respect people’s values, but we still have a job to do.

“The law and the legislation sets out certain things we have to do, and the lack of explanation and understanding of that has caused some issues.”

Derbyshire Police’s Black Heritage Independent Advisory Group recently met with members of the county’s Black communities to listen to their experiences of policing and identify where change is required as part of the Force’s work on its plan.

The event was held at the Derby West Indian Community Association Community and Cultural Centre in Derby and was attended by more than 35 members of our Black community.

The Force said that one of the key themes raised included, a lack of representation of the Black community in the constabulary, particularly police officers – and Harpreet also identified it as an issue.

“In years gone by, Derbyshire was an ethnically diverse Force throughout all ranks,” said Harpreet, who has worked for Derbyshire Police for the past 18 years.

“We had ethnic officers up to Assistant Chief Constable (ACC) rank recently. We had ethnic officers pretty much from the boots on the ground to the top corridor.

“In the past five years or so, our highest ranking officer has been ACC Mehmet, followed by a Superintendent and then the next highest ranking ethnic officer is an inspector from memory – however, there are not many BAME officers in these ranks.

“As our communities have grown so has their ethnic diversity, but the majority of officers policing it don’t have a full understanding of the nuances.
“A force needs to reflect the community it serves,” he added.


July 2024