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Bedfordshire Police hosts national conference around diversity and inclusion in policing

22 Oct 2021

More than 200 people from policing across the UK came to Bedfordshire for the flagship National Black Police Association (NBPA) conference.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, Dawn Butler MP and Abimbola Johnson, the new independent scrutiny panel chair for the police plan of action on race and inclusion, were among the guest speakers at the prestigious event we hosted at the Luton Hoo hotel.

Chief constables, police and crime commissioners, diversity leads and members from minority ethnic police associations from across the country were in attendance for the conference, which focused on women and race in policing.

In all 41 of the 43 police forces in the UK were represented at the event, which was led by our Diversity Support Group.

Our Chief Constable Garry Forsyth, the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for race, religion and belief, said: “It’s a real honour for us to host this incredibly prestigious event and showcase the work we are doing here in Bedfordshire to improve diversity and inclusion in policing.

“There has been a tremendous mix of very thought provoking and challenging speakers through to some truly inspiring speakers as well.

“It’s been a fantastic opportunity for colleagues from across the country to come together, discuss ideas and renew our efforts and energy into affecting positive change and making policing more representative of all the communities we serve.”

Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye said: "It was an honour to attend this year’s National Black Police Association conference as Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, alongside Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and Bedfordshire Police’s Diversity Support Group.

"I felt proud to be in attendance and to speak with so many people, together we were all there for the same reason.  Supporting inclusivity and diversity in our policing family are close to my heart.

"An ‘Inclusion and equality commitment’ is one of my priorities.  I am committed to working with representing bodies that support diverse groups within the force to ensure we address structural obstacles that prevent career progression and development.

"Ensuring we have the brightest and best from our communities, being represented at all ranks within policing, is good for the police service and public confidence.

"I am working closely with the Chief Constable to deliver an organisation which reflects the community we serve. Bedfordshire Police has gone from being among the least ethnically diverse force in Britain in 2016, it is now in the top three most diverse.

"However, I believe we have much more to do, especially on the retention of our diverse workforce."

The NBPA is an umbrella group representing around 50 staff associations from police and law enforcement agencies across the country.

Andy George, president of the NBPA, said: “I want to thank everyone in Bedfordshire Police and the NBPA for putting on this fantastic and agenda setting conference.

"It has been a hugely valuable and incredibly important opportunity to examine issues around race and gender in policing, at a time when the culture of policing is really under the microscope.

"While we have heard lots of struggles and honest conversations this week, the enthusiasm, energy and collective will to improve around race and inclusion is inspiring and I am sure everyone will go away and redouble our efforts.

"It is vital that we get this issue right and I know Bedfordshire Police and the NBPA will be right at the front of this progress."

T/Superintendent Mo Aziz, co-chair of our Diversity Support Group, said: “The conference has been a huge success and we have had delegates from police forces from every corner of the UK.

“It has taken a lot of hard work to get here and I want to thank everyone in Bedfordshire Police and the support group for their help in laying on such a fantastic event.

“This will really put Bedfordshire on the map in terms of diversity and inclusion and I hope we can take all this work forward and really lead the way nationally in this area for policing.”

For more information about what we are doing around race and inclusion visit the supporting diversity section of our website.

To find out more about the NBPA visit their website. 

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