4 June 2019
The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is supporting the first ever national conference examining issues around disability in policing.
The Disabled Police Association (DPA) and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) are hosting the event in Hertfordshire on 5 June under the banner of ‘Enabled Rather Than Disabled’. It will hear from guest speakers including Sir Philip Rutnam from the Home Office, Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd, and Police Care UK chief executive Gill Scott-Moore.
PFEW Equality Lead Peggy Lamont and fellow National Board member Belinda Goodwin will be attending on behalf of the Federation.
Mrs Lamont said: "In general, officers come into policing as fit and healthy individuals but if that changes and they develop a disability it can be incredibly difficult for them to adjust. It can have a huge impact on their wellbeing and how they see themselves or are seen by others.
"We absolutely must challenge this concept and change the culture in policing, so that being disabled is not seen as a barrier. People who develop a disability in service, or those who join with a disability, should not feel that they have any less to offer because they are just as capable of providing a valuable service to the public as anyone else."
Ms Lamont added that she is hoping for a discussion about "reasonable adjustments" that can be made in the workplace to empower disabled officers with the end goal of enabling them to continue in productive careers. She also hopes the conference will lead to an acknowledgement within policing that more needs to be done to improve the way colleagues with disabilities are treated, pointing out that more than 40 percent of civil claims handled by the Police Federation on behalf of members currently relate to disability.
Conference delegates will hear how the DPA can advise forces on the best ways to support officers and staff with limiting conditions and raise awareness of why officers can feel deterred from declaring a disability to their employer.