Pride events began as a demonstration to demand equality rights for LGBTQ+ communities. Over the past 50yrs they have been part of a movement that successfully challenged laws that discriminated against them. Today LGBTQ+ Pride events have become community coheision events, encouraging all communities to come together and celebrate equality with the LGBTQ+ community as Allies . A lot has been achieved but there are still sections of the community, (especially the Trans and Non-binary gender community) , who have many challenges to overcome.
A great deal as changed since the first London Pride 1972, but change in society has been mixed and slow. Section 28 exacerbated the equality rights of LGBTQ+ people and caused delay in reducing stigma in society. In part this stigma and rules against promoting equality for LGBTQ+ communities gave rise to a wariness of engaging with government bodies and local authorities including the Police.
Today things have changed for the better in the UK, the repeal of section 28 in 2003, plus new anti-discrimination laws (2010 Equality Act), provided protection of equality rights for disadvantaged groups. The Public Sector Equality Duty placed a duty on public bodies to harmonise the previous race, disability and gender equality duties and to extend protection to the new protected characteristics listed in the Act.
As a result of these changes Kent Police have been determined to engage with all of Kent & Medway’s diverse communities, encouraging them to join and work with a progressive police force.
Working with community representatives, for example ‘Kent Independent Police Advisory Group’, they have been able to hear the voice of diverse groups and make changes to help break down barriers, improve policing practices and policies for the whole community.
Part of this engagement includes supporting communities thought events like LGBTQ+ Pride, and recognising staff networks like the Kent Police LGBT+ Network
The Kent Police LGBT+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender +) Network provides support for all levels of Kent Police so that all staff work in a fair and secure environment where they can be who they are. They also work with communities in Kent ensuring that LGBT+ people have appropriate access to the services offered by Kent Police and aim to dismantle barriers to LGBT+ people accessing police services.
Kent Police LGBT+ Network provide inputs to the volunteer police cadets around LGBT+ role models and how to support LGBT+ young people.
Superintendent Amanda Tillotson Advised ‘As the Chair of the Kent police LGBT+ support group I am immensely proud of not only the support we give to our staff but also the strong links we have formed with our communities. We are avid supporters of the Pride events and I’m grateful for the opportunity this gives us to engage with the public and other partner agencies. We very much look forward to the 2021 events but during these unprecedented times it is important for us all to stay safe. Meanwhile why not follow us on KentPoliceLGBT+ @GpaKent‘
LGBTQ+ Community Support
Examples of Kent Police actions to support LGBTQ+ Community
Pride and Transgender Flags – Kent Police raised the Pride flag at Kent Police Headquarters, and the Transgender flag at Kent Police College on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia and February 1st to mark the first day of LGBT History month. This was also publicised on social network to show solidarity for the LGBT community.
Pride Cars – Three Kent Police cars with LGBT Pride police markings and the No Hate logo continue to be used on general patrol in the three divisions, sending out the message of valuing difference. The Pride cars are additional used at community diversity event. Pride Events Kent Police have attended Pride events in Kent at Canterbury, Folkestone, Tunbridge Wells and Margate utilising the Pride cars and having LGBT+ staff in attendance.
LGBT History Month
During LGBT History Month, a display was place in the Kent Police College foyer about LGBT historic figures. As well as internally promoting LGBT History Month, Kent Police attended Mid Kent College campus’ at Maidstone and Medway to provide a LGBT+ stand.
Metro Youth Event The LGBT+ Network along with the Medway CLO attended and had a stand at a Metro youth event for LGBTQ young people. Members of Kent Police promoted Kent Police as a career choice to the young people, as well as providing hate crime information.
LGBT+ Awareness Training
Specific LGBT+ terminology training is being undertaken with operational officers and PCSOs to keep them up to date with LGBT terminology and to equip staff to be more recognisable of gender identity. All new members of staff within the Force Control Room receive the training.
LGBT+ Hate Crime
Business cards have been produced by Kent Police, for distribution at community events with information on LGBT+ hate crime reporting.
Hate crime unfortunately affects many communities including the LGBTQI+ community. Kent Police have been proactive in their work to increase the reporting of hate crime, through engagement at pride events, 3rd party reporting hubs and working with independant organisations to increase reporting, raise awareness of and obtain feedback on hate crimes via the hatecrime.app tool. This app has links to enable report of hate crime to Kent Police and True Vision web sites, plus a survey on reporting experiances.
Beyond the badge
It is important for Kent Police to be representative of all the communities they police. They have a program of positive action to help individuals progress from application, through progression in the force, to achieve their desired goals. They are looking for new recruits now! so this is the perfect opportunity for people from LGBTQ+ and other diverse communities to join Kent Police and be part of that community representation.
Your Police Service and communities need you, so please get in touch with us if you are at all thinking about a career in policing as we would love to hear from you.
PS Clare Boichat and DS Sunita Dale
You can get in touch with us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
What would you like to do now?
I would like to look at the Kent Police Positive Action webpages to see what support is available.
Would you like to know find out or register your interest in the Investigate First Scheme?
I would like to look online to find out more about being a Police Officer and how to apply.
I would like to book one of the online sessions to know more about becoming a Police Officer and how to apply.
I would like to look at what other roles Kent Police have to offer and how to apply.
I would like to look at how I can become a Special Constable or volunteer.
I would like to talk to the Positive Action Team about how I can help support Kent Police’s recruitment ambition to recruit a police service that better reflects our local communities.