October not only gives us an opportunity to celebrate the contribution of black, Asian and minority ethnic communities across the county, it also enables me to re-state our determination to tackle racism and race hate crime.
It is also a time when we should reflect on the history of our diverse communities, their key and defining moments and the different journeys individuals will have been on. Understanding the past helps us to shape and define a more just and equitable future.
Given the backdrop of 2020 with Black Lives Matters protests and the apparent discriminating impact of COVID-19, there has never been a more important time to support and listen to our BAME communities in a drive to improve the service we deliver to keep people safe.
Across October, my teams of officers and staff will be involved with various engagement events, celebrations and operations which I hope will be received well in the community. Of course we have to comply with social distancing rules but that doesn’t mean we should stop engaging with communities, we just have to be more creative!
As a force we are focusing on four key themes this year beyond celebrating the contribution of individuals of BAME background. These are education, community engagement, recruitment and progression. Already we are providing dedicated mentors for BAME recruits but are ambitious to do more. Our network of volunteers from diverse backgrounds continue to be valued ‘critical friends’ and help us to respond more effectively to the complexities of modern day policing. In Hertfordshire we want to be the best that we can for everyone and if that requires changing how we approach things, then that is what we will do.
My thanks to all the communities who support and advise us every day of the year on a vast array of cultural and religious issues. You help us see the world in a myriad of different perspectives and better understand the needs of local residents.
I am hoping Black History Month 2020 will help us understand even more and be a fitting celebration of all that individuals from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities contribute. If you are interested in what’s happening nationally please visit the Black History Month website, but also so look out for updates on the Constabulary’s social media platforms:
Charlie Hall, QPM
Chief Constable Charlie Hall QPM explains how we will celebrate Black History Month