Listening and learning from our Black communities – Black History Month
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A new initiative set up to enable the Black communities in Hertfordshire to advise and guide their local police force on issues around race and diversity, has now been in running for six months.
The Hertfordshire Constabulary ‘Race and Inclusion Board’ is made up exclusively of volunteers from across the Black and Asian communities in Hertfordshire and is supported by the Chair of the Herts Black and Asian Police Association (HBAPA).
It meets every month with senior officers who oversee different areas of work around race and inclusion along with members of the constabulary’s Diversity and Equality team.
Subjects that have been discussed so far include stop and search procedures, how to build positive relationships with younger Black communities, anti-racist training for police officers, how to encourage more applications from ethnic minorities and what support and help these potential recruits might need to navigate the recruitment process successfully and climb the career ladder.
Black and Asian police officers from Hertfordshire have also attended the RIB to share their views and experiences with members and colleagues.
The board members have also heard about the work of the National Race Action Plan and how the constabulary is working to meet the objectives of the plan.
Recently launched by the National College of Policing, the plan aims to address race disparities affecting Black people and change a legacy of distrust. The vision is for the police service to be anti-racist and trusted by Black people and the plan complements the work already taking place in this area within Hertfordshire Constabulary.
Members of the board have also been taking the opportunity to go on ride-alongs with officers on patrol, to get a better insight into police work and identify any areas where the organisation could benefit from their insight into specific community issues.
Ahead of Black History Month which starts on Sunday (1 October), members were consulted on how they thought the board could be improved.
Superintendent Di Whiteside, who is the Race lead for Hertfordshire Constabulary, said: “We are committed to being an anti-racist organisation, working hard to promote race and inclusion both within the service and in the communities we serve, addressing racial disparities and building relationships based on trust.
“The Race and Inclusion Board is a key tool in helping us achieve this, and we are now looking to set up a young people’s board, so we can learn from the young Black communities, around where we need to improve and how we can do things better.
“We are taking this opportunity during Black History Month to communicate this work to our Black communities and invite greater involvement from the public.
“If you interested in becoming a member of either of our Race and Inclusion Boards please get in touch.”