Equality & diversity
The cultural landscape of Suffolk is changing and to provide a high quality police service, whilst ensuring our communities have trust and confidence in what we do, relies on our staff understanding and respecting people's differences in the communities we serve.
We recognise that equality and diversity cannot just be a ‘bolt on’ or something that would be ‘nice to do’ but an absolute necessity if we are to succeed. Through our actions, equality schemes, decision making processes and policy development we will continue to identify and tackle inequality whilst promoting good community relationships.
We will provide equal opportunities in employment, career and progression by ensuring that our policies and procedures are inclusive. We will do this by ensuring that they are Equality Impact Assessed and any adverse impact identified is tackled.
Religion and belief
At Suffolk Police we respect people’s different beliefs, which is why we take any crime that is religiously motivated very seriously.
In England we have laws that give you the right to hold your own religious beliefs or other philosophical beliefs similar to a religion. You also have the right to have no religion or belief. You are also entitled to practise your religion or belief, express your views and get on with your day-to-day life without experiencing threats or discrimination.
Religious hate crimes happen when someone is attacked or threatened because of their religion or their beliefs. Although racial and religious hatred may seem very similar, the police and the courts may treat racial crimes differently to religious ones.
Any religiously motivated hate crime has the same impact on individuals as those directed against race and will be treated more seriosuly than someone who commits the same crime without prejudice.
Suffolk is a diverse community that continues to grow year on year and at Suffolk Police we take any form of racial harassment very seriously. We work hard with local communities to address issues of race related incidents to ensure that communities work together and support each other.
The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on all public authorities including Suffolk Police to:
- eliminate unlawful racial discrimination
- promote equality of opportunity
- promote good relations between persons of different racial groups.
To achieve this we will actively promote a culture which respects and values the different communities that represent Suffolk’s population and ensure any incidents relating to racial harassment are dealt with promptly and effectively.
In Suffolk we have four dedicated Migrant Impact Liaison Officers who liaise with migrant communities, support groups and organisations to increase trust and confidence in the police and reduce fear of crime. They also help to inform the police on the needs of migrant communities.
At Suffolk Police we have a Black Police Association support network. This is a group of police officers and staff who promote equality of opportunities for black and minority ethnic staff and supports the forces ambition to employ a workforce which reflects the diversity of the population it serves.
Suffolk Black Police Association (BPA)
The Suffolk Black Police Association (BPA) was formed in 1999 as an initiative between Human Resources - Black officers and staff. The BPA provides a support network and forum to all Black and ethnic minority officers and staff within Suffolk.
At Suffolk Police we want to ensure that men and women are treated equally. Gender equality does not imply that men and women are the same but we want to make sure they are equally represented in our workforce and receive equal pay and pensions.
Our Single Equality Scheme sets out how we will promote equality between men and women. We acknowledge that when gender differences are not always recognised, both men and women can be disadvantaged
Suffolk Association of Women in Policing
The Suffolk Association of Women in Policing was launched in 2006. The Association has been set up to give women in Suffolk Police a chance to network, offer support and encouragement, providing a forum for women employed by the force to voice their views and concerns.
Suffolk Police will ensure that it treats everyone equally and fairly regardless of their gender identity.
As of October 2010 the Government Office of Equality released the new Equality Act 2010, which covers all areas of diversity to ensure fair and equal treatment.
Gender reassignment now has its own section and falls under this act, which is also known as and transgender.
The Equality Act 2010 protects people who have the characteristic of gender reassignment. This means if a person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex.
A reference to a transsexual person is a reference to a person who has the protected characteristic of gender reassignment.
In relation to the protected characteristic of gender reassignment:
- A reference to a person who has a particular protected characteristic
- A reference to a transsexual person
- A reference to persons who share a protected characteristic is a reference to transsexual persons.
Suffolk Police is committed to delivering a high quality service respecting people’s sexual orientation and remaining mindful of the individual’s right to confidentiality. Suffolk Police will ensure that these same values are demonstrated in its internal working environment ensuring that our staff enjoy a working environment free of prejudice, discrimination and harassment.
At Suffolk Police we are dedicated to tackling discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) people.
We work in partnership with members of, and groups within, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and partner agencies to provide an effective problem solving approach to help prevent any incidents relating to peoples sexual orientation and deal effectively and decisively with incidents that have occurred.
Norfolk & Suffolk Gay Police Association
The Norfolk & Suffolk Gay Police Association (N&SGPA) was formed to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) police officers, police staff, members of the force and volunteers working towards achieving workplace equality.
The N&SGPA promotes good practice in all areas of employment and service delivery.
Stonewall is the UK's leading charity on lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender issues.
Suffolk Police is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme.
Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index is the definitive national benchmarking exercise showcasing Britain’s top employers. Organisations are ranked according to criteria; ranging from the implementation of effective equality policies, practical demonstration of good practice in recruitment and mentoring, to how they engage with lesbian and gay staff, customers the public. Suffolk Police has been in the top 100 since 2009.
We want to ensure people with disabilities have the same chance to access our services and to work for us as those without disabilities.
The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 sets out general and specific duties, which we must follow concerning people with disabilities and we were required to publish a Disability Equality Scheme. Our new Single Equality Scheme pulls together all the existing legislation on disability, race and gender into one manageable piece of legislation, which gives us further opportunities to engage and involve disability groups.
That is why we are keen to involve local people and staff members with different types of disabilities, their carers, support organisations and those with relevant expertise or interest in the subject, to ensure that we get it right. We will continue to support this approach by further developing our staff and community involvement methods.
Our current initiatives:
Autism Alert Card
Suffolk Police worked in partnership with Autism Anglia on the production of the Autism Alert Card.
People who are on the Autistic Spectrum can apply for a card which they carry on them. If they come into contact with any member of the emergency services they are able to hand over the card, which will detail what needs to be done.
Autism Alert cards are available from Autism Anglia.
Reach Out Suffolk
Reach Out is a network for our staff with disabilities and staff who are supporting dependents with disabilities. It also welcomes members of staff who support the network’s aims and objectives.
The Employment Equality Age Regulations 2006 cover recruitment, selection, promotion, redundancy, retirement, training and development.
Although there is no statutory duty around age discrimination, the Employment Equality Regulations 2006 state it is against the law to discriminate against an employee because of their age.
The Equality Act 2010 strengthened age legislation and placed an Equality Duty on all public authorities.
The Suffolk Police ‘Age Action Plan’ will raise the profile of age as a diversity strand and ensure that we provide a policing service that meets the needs of people of all ages.
We will focus on young and older people. The age action plan is committed to ensure that neither, our staff or the community we serve is discriminated against because of their age.