Following the release of the Police Race Action Plan, Improving Policing for Black People, I want to outline South Yorkshire Police’s position with this work.
As Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, I will ensure the force takes the necessary steps to not only tackle racism, discrimination and bias, but to take the force to the position of being anti-racist.
While I am of the steadfast belief the overwhelming majority of our officers and staff would not consciously tolerate racism in any form, I cannot say the issues of racism, discrimination and bias do not affect our communities and colleagues.
This type of behaviour, in any form, is utterly deplorable and it saddens me there will be members of our workforce and our communities who will have experienced this from South Yorkshire Police.
For this I apologise. It is not good enough.
We are hearing of issues around inclusion and bias affecting members of our own workforce - this is completely unacceptable and needs to change. As part of our work going forward to implement the recommended actions from the Police Race Action Plan from the National Police Chiefs’ Council and College of Policing, we will be looking inwardly to listen and learn from the experiences of our officers and staff.
I am very aware as a force, especially in our higher-ranking roles, we do not properly reflect the communities in which we serve. To support and inform us in this work, we will be creating a specific Independent Advisory Group, with members of our workforce, and people from our communities.
We know this is not for our Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues and communities to solve for us, but we do need them to be our critical friends - prepared to challenge us when something is wrong and provide us with the uncomfortable truths we need to hear. We will work to create an environment in which people feel able and supported to do this.
A further priority will be to rebuild the trust in policing among our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, something which is lacking now.
To ensure this incredibly important work is managed effectively and at pace, I have appointed Deputy Chief Constable Tim Forber as the lead.
The changes we need to make will not happen overnight, but the work begins now to build the anti-racist force our Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues and communities deserve.
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