Northumbria Police has been recognised as one of the top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain.
The news, which was welcomed by Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird, comes as it was revealed Northumbria Police ranked 85th in the 2015 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index - the first time the force has been ranked in the top 100.
The Workplace Equality Index is an effective way to measure organisations’ efforts to tackling discrimination and creating an inclusive workplace for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. Organisations participating are actively demonstrating commitment to sexual orientation equality.
Assistant Chief Officer Bernie McCardle said: “This is a huge achievement for us, the force constantly strives to improve as an equal opportunities employer and create a workplace where people can be themselves without fear of discrimination or prejudice.”
Northumbria Police has been able to achieve an inclusive workplace through activity in our Joint Equality objectives with the Police and Crime Commissioner. Examples of activity include; development of inclusive Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGB&T) policies and procedures, support and sign posting through an internal LGB&T network group, introducing equality led procurement practices and delivering of diversity and victim led training.
The force regularly supports events within the region that celebrate LGB&T communities and officers and staff, including the force’s volunteers, regularly attend both the Newcastle and Sunderland Pride Festival and take part in the Pride Parade as well as flying the rainbow flag to recognise International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) and supporting LGB&T History Month.
Vera Baird has six advisory groups including one which is dedicated to LGBT issues. This group meets with her and her office to discuss any concerns they have and what is going well in the force region.
She said: “I am delighted that Northumbria Police has achieved a place as one of the top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain and this is a testament to the work which has been carried out by the force.”
Director of human resources Joscelin Lawson added: “This achievement highlights the efforts we have gone to in order to make the organisation an even better place for lesbian, gay and bisexual people to work. The force aims to create a workplace where diversity can be celebrated.”