Yesterday saw the launch of the third annual Gender Equality in UK Policing Report
In support of the United Nations’ gender equality initiative, HeForShe.
The UK’s police forces have all made HeForShe commitments to improve gender imbalances at senior levels within policing, and to continue to work to combat domestic abuse and sexual abuse in society.
The HeForShe movement is supported by more than two million people, including world leaders, heads of state and global CEOs and celebrities.
The third report brings together nationally reported data displaying the gender split at senior ranks
within the police service together with sharing best practice across police forces in the UK.
In the report, UK police forces reported on their progress. They include:
North Wales have introduced a successful reverse mentoring scheme which sees colleagues from under-represented areas paired up with senior managers to provide lived experiences and a different perspective, opening up conversations and highlighting barriers and issues.
Hertfordshire who setup a barbershop webinar in order to reinvigorate HeForShe and provide the time and space for male officers and staff to have a frank and open debate about how they could be HeForShe. The end of the session saw 10 participants signing up to be Ambassadors.
Leicestershire working on improving their workplace gender demographic by introducing a number of additional measures to support positive action for police officer recruitment for underrepresented groups, including based on gender. At the end of August 2021, 46.9% of their workforce were female.
The Met recruited a central dedicated HeForShe Ally to help reinforce their commitment to the campaign and align some of the work with their Network of Women.
Northamptonshire introduce an initiative called “quiet positive action” which has been particularly successful and involves the following areas of intervention;
Identification of eligible individuals
Proactive approach by senior leaders
Support through the process beyond
Norfolk appointed a tactical lead for HeForShe which has meant work and projects relating to equality have remained focused and progressive. A new, flexible working advocacy scheme was also launched to offer bespoke support both to those seeking applications and their supervisors.
Nottinghamshire undertook research to gather insight into attitudes and behaviours related to physical activity which highlighted three main inhibitors. As a result of this work several recommendations were offered which included;
Female only fitness test
Silent bleep tests
Drop in practise sessions
The programme saw 71% of the group pass the fitness test.
Surrey and Sussex introduce a “PC/DC-Sgt and Police Staff Development Programme” which focusses on the confidence piece that has been identified and uses in-force learning and development resources as well as senior female leader speakers, and has a strong focus on mentoring and network development.
Forces have focused internally on sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace. Using real life experiences to emphasise the reality and impact of the issues. Videos are being used to focus on highlighting exactly what sexual harassment and sexism in the workplace is and going forward it will help those victims feel better supported and empowered to tackle inappropriate behaviours.
North Wales Police Chief Constable Carl Foulkes is HeForShe Policing UK Lead. He said: “The last year has seen an unprecedented impact on policing due to Covid-19 and whilst we are in a much improved position, the pandemic still continues. The last year also saw the tragic murder of Sarah Everard by a serving police officer which brought conversations to the forefront around the police response to violence against women and girls (VAWG). HeForShe creates a clear link between gender inequalities and gender-based violence and the work being undertaken by forces to eliminate this will continue.”
‘The National Police Chiefs’ Council is clear that tackling VAWG is an absolute priority for policing and recognises that whilst there is lots of work ongoing, there is still a significant amount of work to be done to ensure confidence in policing and that women are safe in our communities. Not all of this is the responsibility of policing, but we do play a pivotal role in preventing harm and bringing perpetrators to justice, influencing what society is prepared to allow as being acceptable behaviour.’
“I urge all police forces in the UK to review this report, to view where they sit in the data and learn from other forces as to how improvements can be made. Great steps have been taken to increase the number of women joining as police officers, in addition to this we have seen growth in representation of women at Chief Officer level. However it is now important that we do not lose focus, we need to ensure that the increased number of women who have joined policing through the uplift feel included, supported and have the right development opportunities to address the gap of women, who are under-represented within middle and senior management posts.’
“I look forward to the year ahead, where the United Nations are moving to their second phase of HeForShe, allowing UK policing to reconfirm their commitment and set objectives for the next five years. Now, more than ever we need to continue the momentum and accelerate change towards gender equality.”
HeForShe is a movement that seeks to engage men and people of all genders to join women to work together to achieve true gender equality. It is supported by more than two million people, including world leaders, heads of state and global CEOs and celebrities.
You can find out more about HeForShe and make your own commitment, joining the thousands of officers and staff working together to drive forward change which benefits us all.