Our inclusive culture
Avon and Somerset Police are committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. Our mission is to serve our communities. The most effective way we can do this is if the people who work for us are representative of our communities.
We are working hard to increase diversity and inclusion where communities are currently under-represented. This includes:
- those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities
- people of all ages, abilities, neurodiversity, faiths, religions, gender, LGBT+ communities
- those from other disadvantaged backgrounds or marginalised backgrounds
We want to encourage people of diverse backgrounds, experience and beliefs, who share our value of caring and want to make a difference in the community, to work for us.
Be the Difference
Our commitment to increasing diversity
We are on a journey to become the most inclusive police force in the country. Below are the steps we are taking, and will continue to take, to help us realise our ambition:
Police Race Action Plan
Avon and Somerset Police have fully committed to implementing the actions in the National Police Race Action Plan. Published in May 2022 by the National Police Chief’s Council and the College of Policing, the Plan aims to improve policing for Black people. All Chief Constables in the country have signed up to the plan which will move policing towards being anti-racist, taking a zero tolerance approach to racism and explaining or reforming the disparities in how we police Black communities.
Find out more about the Police Race Action Plan on the College of Policing website.
Our vision of hope for the future
Miles Chambers, Bristol’s first-ever City Poet, wrote a poem as part of our Race Matters work. ‘I want to be seen’ captures the different views and feelings that exist when discussing race and policing. It also portrays our vision for the future.
Miles said: “These are just a few incidents that spring to mind. After considerable consultation and deliberation with ASP’s communications team, I concluded they want to change.
“They want a better relationship with the Black community; want the Black community to see Avon and Somerset Police as their force, and to feel as included and supported as everyone else. So, I thought to myself, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
“This video, which came off the back of an original poem written for the Race Matters Conference Avon and Somerset Police held in 2022, is my attempt to discuss some of the concerns of the Black community and the reactions of officers, and to suggest an ideal which I would like to see become a reality. A reality which I believe Avon and Somerset Police would also like to realise.”
Positive Action – Supporting diverse recruitment
Avon and Somerset Police are committed to representing the diverse communities we serve and run a Positive Action Programme of work to support under-represented communities with their recruitment journey.
Our focus is to support Black, Asian, minority and ethnically diverse groups, LGBTQ+, those with a disability and females, to consider and apply for a career in policing through our Outreach Team.
The team encourage and support applicants through both Police Officer and Police Staff roles, running workshops on the application process, pre-assessments and interviews for the recruitment journey as well as signposting our internal workforce to mentoring, coaching and support.
If you are from an under-represented background and interested in finding out more about our Positive Action Programme, a career in Policing, or working with us, contact our Outreach Team.
Religious beliefs and diversity in the workplace
We are committed to workplace inclusion and creating a fair and inclusive place of work.
- We encourage colleagues to feel confident to bring all parts of themselves to work
- We encourage discussions where employees feel safe to share their faith at work and recognise the benefits of religious diversity
- We understand the need to be sensitive to religious practices
Many of our locations have multi-faith reflection areas and rooms for staff who want to pray, meditate or quietly reflect in the workplace.
Religious diversity enables our workplace to attract and retain a workforce that reflects the society we operate in. It brings a rich experience to understand and support significant religious festivals to colleagues of different faiths, along with diversity of thought.
We have employed a team of seven Outreach Workers whose role is to change and challenge our recruitment processes. Their work includes identifying and breaking down barriers that may be preventing people from under-represented communities from joining the police service.
They work to improve the perception of policing as a career within minority groups and to increase the diversity of applicants and the resulting talent pool.
Not only do they encourage people to apply for jobs within Avon and Somerset Police, but they support and mentor them through the application and training process, in order to increase the prospects of new employees staying with the service once they have joined.
Our Outreach Workers represent many of the different communities in Avon and Somerset. Eneyi Pemu, who joined the team in 2019 said: “I have always believed that if you want to change the narrative, you have to do something about it, not just complain. I want to bring a way of thinking, a way of understanding that isn’t usually represented in the police community.
“This was a courageous step for the police to take and I was all too happy to be involved with guiding this learning curve, not just to change perspectives, but to help shape the kind of environment I want my son and his children’s children to thrive in.”
National Equality Standard (NES) accreditation
In April 2020, Avon and Somerset Police became the first police force in the UK to achieve the accreditation for the National Equality Standard (NES).
Supported by the Home Office, Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the national standard sets clear equality, diversity and inclusion criteria against which companies are independently assessed.
The thorough process, which took just over a year to complete, involved the assessment of seven key areas within the organisation:
- Core components
- Review and measurement
We have now been given full accreditation for the next three years and will continue to work through the recommendations from NES to improve each year.
Working with independent critical partners
Independent Advisory Groups
Independent Advisory Groups (IAGs) are panels of ordinary citizens, representative of their area and the different communities who make up that population, who act as critical partners, advising us on a range of issues and scrutinising particular significant or high profile incidents. Each IAG has an independent chair.
Over recent years we have reinvigorated this approach, so as well as an IAG for each of our six (check) Local Policing Areas, and now have a number of specific interest IAGs, focusing on issues which directly affect certain communities.
For example in Bristol, we have the Mosque Community IAG with representation from 22 local faith groups, as well as a Woman’s IAG which explores gender based crime and exploitation. We are in the process of establishing an LGBTQ+ IAG and will be returning to our Young People’s Voice sessions once the pandemic has ended.
Scrutiny of police powers and disproportionality
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) recruits and governs a panel of people from a diverse range of backgrounds living in Avon and Somerset, who meet quarterly to scrutinise the use of police powers, particularly those which can be considered to be used disproportionately, including stop and search and Taser use.
The panel, who are all volunteers, examine officers’ Body Worn Video (BWV) and assess whether our powers have been used fairly, legally and proportionately. They produce a report which is submitted to the Police and Crime Commissioner for oversight, who then works with the police to ensure any learning is fed back to the relevant teams, training requirements are identified and complaints or commendations are raised.
The panel’s aim is to increase transparency and public knowledge about the safeguards and complexity in relation to the use of police powers.
Find out more about the Scrutiny of Police Powers Panel, or to apply to be part of the panel on the OPCC’s website.
Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and Inclusive Leadership training
We are embedding diversity and inclusion throughout Avon and Somerset Police through learning. Since July 2019, nearly 150 of our officers and staff have been trained in Cultural Intelligence (CQ) and Inclusive Leadership. Many of those who have received the training are leaders within the organisation.
Feedback from the workshops suggested that participants found the programme:
- Developed their confidence in engaging in diverse cultural contexts.
- Developed their understanding of their own cultural value preferences, biases, and how these impacted on the way they engaged with difference.
- Enhanced their inclusive leadership skills and developed their cultural intelligence (CQ).
We now have four internally certified Cultural Intelligence trainers within Avon and Somerset. Within the first half of 2021 this training will be rolled out to second line managers within the Constabulary.
Bristol Women in Business Charter
In January 2021 Avon and Somerset Police signed up as signatories to the Bristol Women in Business Charter.
The Charter recognises and supports the work of businesses in Bristol to create workplaces that are gender equal. We are committed to recognising the need for support to achieve gender equality for all women in business.
We will work towards goals such as:
- The promotion and increased availability of flexible and part-time working, especially within senior level roles.
- Encouraging and supporting female employees in lower paid roles to progress through the organisation with training and other on-going support.
- Supporting women where they are under-represented, through mentoring and women’s networks.
Staff and officer support groups
Within Avon and Somerset Police we have a community of active and supportive groups, networks and associations available for staff and officers to join. These groups enable officers and staff to seek support, guidance, mentoring and much more from colleagues who have a lived or shared experience to their own. Our groups include:
- Black Police Association (BPA)
- LGBT+ Liaison Team
- Disabled Police Association (DPA)
- National Police Autism Association
- Avon and Somerset Constabulary’s Women’s Network
- Christian Police Association (CPA)
- Police Pagan Association
- Police Federation
Thinking of joining us?
If you have thought about a career in the police, but are unsure what steps to take, contact our Outreach Team for further information.
We are proud to be…
- Part of the Disability Confident employer scheme – we have been assessed as a Disability Confident Leader, challenging, changing and leading attitudes towards Disability and Neurodiversity, to remove barriers for disabled people in our organisation, to ensure provision of opportunities to fulfil individual potential and realise aspirations.
- Fully certified by the National Equality Standard (NES) and to have achieved the NES compliant accreditation for best practice in Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion in the workplace.