The Police Federation of England and Wales' (PFEW) Equality Lead, Peggy Lamont, talks about the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion in policing and what PFEW is doing to effect positive change.
The definition of equality is straightforward – it’s the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities. But the issues and concerns that sit under the equality umbrella are vast and often far from straightforward. So, what is the Federation doing to ensure members are treated fairly by colleagues and the powers that be?
First and foremost we need to be able to relate to the membership with a depth of understanding and experience. That is the very substance of the Federation. Your reps are serving police officers - they have walked in your shoes, and still do. They can empathise with what you have been through, or are still going through. They know what the job entails – the issues, challenges and demands you face daily.
Huge progress has been made over recent years to make the police service more inclusive – and we are proud of the part the Federation has played to ensure opportunities, support and protections are available to our 120,000 members. But more needs to be done and we should always be open to change – to adapt and grow as a police service, and as a Federation.
Society has become more inclusive in the last decade and progress is being made when it comes to talking about diversity, equality and tolerance. But we need to go further to make policing and the Federation truly inclusive. Differences should be celebrated and recognised as making us stronger as a team. A service with officers who look and think the same with similar experiences would not ingratiate us with the communities we police.
The Federation’s work in equality isn’t solely about mitigation – we also work to develop and celebrate good practice, making sure that members’ views and experiences are presented to stakeholders and decision makers. We bring the voice of the membership to the table.
It’s not easy being a police officer – we are human too and need support just as much as the next person. We all deserve to be treated fairly and the Federation will continue to support, educate and encourage a service which is truly representative of society.
We want officers to bring their whole self to work, not just the parts they think are ‘acceptable’ – inclusion can only make us all stronger.