The force’s Diversity Champion Programme won ‘South West mentoring scheme of the year’ at an awards ceremony sponsored by Hargreaves and Lansdown this week.
Comments from the judges included: “I haven’t seen another scheme like this elsewhere and it is a really positive intervention,” “a scheme that takes the potential benefits to be derived from mentoring and puts them firmly into practice with specific, measurable indicators,” and “our decision is based on the scheme achieving great results in increasing diversity in the police.”
“We were delighted to be nominated,” said Michele Hurst, our Police Education and Qualifications Framework Team Leader. “This is a great collaborative project with real tangible outcomes and I know the team has just agreed further dates to train more mentors in the coming months. We will continue to support them where we can to ensure we build on the success of the scheme.
“We wanted to say a massive thank you to not only the team of staff who made this happen but also to every single Diversity Champion within our organisation. Each one of you has made a considerable difference to increasing the diversity of our force.”
The Diversity Champion Programme was launched by our Inclusion and Diversity Team in September 2017. A Diversity Champion is a voluntary role within the force, of which we currently have 56. Of these, 25% are from a BaME protected characteristic and 46% are female.
It’s part of the force’s overall positive action strategy and is designed to assist potential candidates in navigating the various elements of our recruitment processes. It forms part of an ambition to attract and recruit a talented workforce that is both representative and understanding of the communities Avon and Somerset Police serves.
Between October 2016 and March 2018, 14% of all Student Officer cohorts have come from a BaME background. Nationally, 11% of all police officer joiners identified themselves as coming from a BaME background, so Avon and Somerset’s joining rate for police officers from a BME background is 3% higher than the national average.
One person who took part in the scheme applied to be Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) in July 2018. They were allocated to a Diversity Champions and subsequently passed the assessment centre in October 2018. Now at the final stage of the assessment process, they are waiting to undertake a fitness test and medical assessment at the end of the month, before hopefully starting with the force this year.
They gave this feedback: “I am in shock, I cannot believe I’ve passed the assessment centre, I don’t know how I did it, I honestly thought it would be a fail.
“Thank you both for your time and encouragement. However if they are not a success this whole experience has been amazing and has done wonders for my confidence. I definitely want a career with Avon and Somerset Constabulary and will hopefully find a role that I can excel in.”
Pictured: Inclusion and Diversity Lead Esther Wride and Leadership Trainer Amelia Griffiths from Avon and Somerset Police (in the centre).