On Thursday 16 September, several hundred colleagues from police and related organisations across England and Wales joined the online National LGBT+ Police Conference 2021, this year hosted by Avon and Somerset Police.
Bringing together police officers, police staff and partner organisations, the conference aimed to equip attendees with fresh and innovative ideas and actions, to create a brighter and more inclusive future for LGBT+ individuals and communities.
The traditionally-annual event, which was postponed from July 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is the seventh of its kind to be held, but the first to take place online. It was attended both by delegates who identify as LGBT+ and those who wish to support and act as active allies to the LGBT+ community.
Under the theme of Inclusive Policing, a range of topics – from addressing domestic abuse and violence to inclusive leadership – were considered from an LGBT+ viewpoint. Those attending heard from a diverse array of speakers from within and beyond policing – including Avon and Somerset Police’s Temporary Chief Constable Sarah Crew who spoke on leadership and allyship – and had the opportunity to share innovation, good practices, views and experiences.
The event was highly praised by those attending as “inspirational”. Delegates, many of whom had made personal pledges of positive action during the event, spoke afterwards about the joy of being able to connect with colleagues from other parts of the UK and being energised by what they had seen and heard.
Policing for everyone
Avon and Somerset Police Chief Officer for People and Organisational Development Dan Wood, who is the organisation’s Inclusion, Diversity and LGBT+ lead, said: “We believe passionately that policing is for everyone, so in every aspect of what we do we must make sure that all people are supported, valued and respected, regardless of their background – this includes people of different identities and sexual orientations.
“We are painfully aware that LGBT+ people in our communities and our workforce can experience prejudice, hate and discrimination as they go about their daily lives. There should be no place for that. We are committed to tackling crimes against the LGBT+ community and take issues of concern extremely seriously.
“We pride ourselves on our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion and making life better for our communities. Delivering a national conference which will help many in policing to be better informed and able to tackle the issues facing our LGBT+ communities and colleagues, has been a proud milestone in the history of Avon and Somerset Police.”
To find out more about our inclusive culture, head to: Our inclusive culture | Avon and Somerset Police