Diversity, Equality and Inclusion within South Yorkshire Police

Date published: 22 October 2019 11:38
Follow on Twitter - @TeamSYP

Follow on Twitter - @TeamSYP

Team SYP – leading the way in Diversity, Equality & Inclusion within policing

South Yorkshire Police is an organisation that welcomes, supports, encourages and values all staff and officers (including Special Constables, Volunteers and Cadets) from underrepresented communities.

Good policing is about contact with new ideas, and diversity in people creates diversity of thought. By increasing our own diversity, we are better able to protect and serve all our communities.

Our Force is working hard towards creating a socially diverse workforce, where everyone can be themselves, with confidence, and where everyone embraces each other’s unique individuality, backgrounds and heritage, strengths and skills. Diverse, inclusive teams solve problems better and develop a broader and more understanding Police Force.

Once you have joined South Yorkshire Police, you can access a number of staff networks and diverse mentors, there to support you during your career. From social interaction, peer support and personal development, our staff networks and mentors, run by our own staff and officers, bring people together from all our underrepresented communities. Currently our internal support networks include:



MAG - Menopause Action Group

SYP 4D - Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, Dyscalculia & Dyspraxia

EDHR - Equality, Diversity & Human Rights


AMP - Association for Muslim Police (staff and officers)

CPA - Christian Police Association

Womens Network

He4She - Male officers supporting female officers to progress

SYP AA - Autism Association

MEN - Mens Engagement Network

Plus our Well-being champions, Back-up Buddy - a downloadable app to support officers, staff and their families with mental health (free 24/7 support) and Gold Positive Action group, led by Deputy Chief Constable  Mark Roberts, supported by Chief Inspector Helen Lewis as Silver and Helen Maxwell as Diversity and Inclusion Lead (recruiting)

We also have our own in-house Dyslexia Assessor Group (DAG), providing evaluations for those staff or officers who feel they may have dyslexia, ensuring role appropriate reasonable adjustments are provided and on going support is available.

Regardless of your race, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, religion or belief, sex, marital/partnership status, age or disability – we want to hear from you! Please email positiveaction@southyorks.pnn.police.uk for more information on support offered, in particular if you are from the BAME, LGBT+ or Disabled community.

For vacancy updates plus hints and tips on application and interview, follow us on Twitter @TeamSYP  https://twitter.com/TeamSyp

Below are a few videos, made by some of the staff and officers who work for us and written interviews and Blogs from external role models and internal staff and officers. Scroll down to view more:

Team SYP are proud to announce we are included in the top 50 most Inclusive Companies in the UK.

This prestigious ranking is due to the hard work of Team SYP, ensuring that current and potential employees from all our under-represented communities, feel valued and supported throughout their career.

There is no hierarchy of diversity within Team SYP, but an ethos of balance, based upon merit.

From our Chief Constable down, we strive to be a truly inclusive organisation, where individuals can excel whilst being who they really are.

If you want to find out more about a career with an outstanding Force (as a police officer, volunteer or within one of our 500+ support roles), please email:


Team SYP were shortlisted for the Diverse Company Award in the National Diversity Awards.

This is an incredible achievement, bearing in mind there were over 28,000 nominees! 

Have a read below for an example of some of the work Team SYP have been working on to help South Yorkshire Police become a more diverse company. 

Helen Maxwell is the Diversity and Inclusion Lead based within the recruiting team. Her role is primarily to encourage and support those from the BAME, Disabled and LGBT+ communities to see South Yorkshire Police as the employer of choice. 

As part of her role, Helen and Team SYP have set up a number of staff support networks, including Menopause Action Group (MAG), MEN (Mens Engagement Network) Autism Network as well as supporting already established networks, BAME, Muslim, Christian, Disability, LGBT+, Women's Network and SYP 4D (support network for Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia and Dysgraphia).  By establishing and encouraging these support networks, employees and potential candidates are encouraged to consider us as THE employer of choice

Helen also took on the extra role of Strategic Coordinator for the newly formed Dyslexia Assessor Group (DAG). This initiative provides in house evaluation for anyone who feels they may have dyslexia alongside assessment for dyslexia for new employees, should they wish. This ensures all staff and officers are provided with a quick in-house assessment and role appropriate reasonable adjustments.

To read more about all the work Helen and Team SYP have been doing over the last 12 months click the link below :


T/Detective Chief Inspector chatted to one of our deaf colleagues about working in South Yorkshire police, the PLOD initiative and support she receives.

We value and support all our diverse staff and officers and if you would like to find out more about applying for a job in South Yorkshire police, please send an email to:


A day in the life of…… a member of the recruiting team, Chris Painter.

Chris recruits new Police Officers and works within a very busy HR department. He sees candidates from initial registration through to appointment as Student Officers. Chris is one of only a handful of males within our staff roles and we wanted to know his views on under representation, work-life balance and career progression.

Chris, did you always want to join the police?

Yes, when I was younger, I wanted to be an officer. I went to University, and completed a policing degree. It was my intention to use the knowledge gained to become a cop.

What changed?

I met my now wife while at University and as time passed, we made plans to be married and eventually wanted to start a family. After University, I got a job in sales and joined the Specials, to gain policing experience. It was while being a Special Constable that I realised being an officer at this stage in my life would not work for me. I wanted a job that would facilitate a strong work life balance and I saw that officers shift patterns, at that time, sometimes made hands-on parenting difficult. I was not aware of shared parental leave, job share etc. then.

Why did you join HR?

I still wanted to join the police family and the flexible working within HR, fitted in with my family. I was married and I knew we would be staring a family. The analytical nature of the role appealed and it was a perfect fit for me. I haven’t discounted being a police officer, especially with the options of shared parental leave, but for the moment I am very happy in my role on the recruiting team.

How did you find working in a mostly female environment?

It was very different from my previous role. I came from an all-male team in sales, to a department where I was only one of a handful of men. I think I fitted in well though. However, I was pleased when a male colleague joined the team. It provided a commonality in conversations, especially relating to football. I am a season ticket holder at Bramall Lane! I am aware of the internal Sport & Social club and the SYP football team, but currently don’t have time to get involved with this as my daughter is very young.

Do you feel you have the same support as your female colleagues?

I do, I have the same access to networking and my line manager, who is female, actively supports and encourages me to develop, in terms of both training and development and providing support and advice with regard to future promotion.

Do you think your generation has a different approach to work-life balance, than your parents?

Yes. My father worked full time and my mum worked part time at weekends. Most of my male friends have working wives and partners and we all take an equal share of running the home and childcare.  Family life is a priority for us and we don’t see why that should impact on a career. It just means our careers take a different path to our parents’ generation, when it was assumed men would work and women would do the majority of the childcare.

Are you aware of Shared Parental leave?

I am now. My wife and I decided early on that I would take the two weeks parental leave and she would take the full maternity leave. That worked for us. However, it is good to know that in the future, I have that choice, especially if I decide to apply to be a police constable.

Do you think there is enough promotion of support for men in underrepresented roles?

It is an under discussed concept really and not acknowledged. I think gender balance is important, as any imbalance is not reflective of society. That is also true of any underrepresentation of any of the protected characteristics.

Would you encourage men to apply for staff roles?

Yes, definitely. If you have the right skills, staff roles should not be seen as more suitable for any gender above another. There are so many staff roles within our Force, and so much variety and opportunity within those roles; it really is a great career option, with brilliant benefits such as, pension, flexible working and training and promotion. Staff roles also give you a real insight into the workings of the Force. I love my job and am glad I made the decision to join.

Lord Herman Ouseley

Lord Herman Ouseley

Team SYP visited Lord Ousley at the House of Lords and talked to him about his career and the role of young Black people in policing

Herman George Ouseley, Baron Ouseley, is a British parliamentarian, who has run public authorities, including local councils and is an adviser and reviewer of public services organisations. Lord Ouseley has expertise in equality and diversity issues and is the Chairperson of several charitable organisations as well as being a Patron for dozens of organisations. He has been at the forefront of challenging institutional racism in organisations and is an advocate on behalf of individuals from disadvantaged and deprived backgrounds.

He sits in the House of Lords as a crossbencher. He was also included in the 100 Great Black Britons.

Lord Ouseley has 13 honorary degrees, including one from Sheffield Hallam University.

He was Knighted in 1997 for his services to local government and community relations, and was made a life Peer as Baron Ouseley, of Peckham and Rye in the London Borough of Southwark on 26 June 2001

Can you tell us about your career?

I do not know where I got my work ethic from, but my mum held down three jobs, just to keep our household together.

I started in Town Planning in Lambeth. I wanted to do the best I could in that role. I wanted to take on as much work as I could and did anything that was asked, often taking on work that was not assigned to me. I took my career progression systematically.

From Town Planning, I moved on to managing retirement homes. I dealt with land acquisition, buildings, architects and furnishings. I was very proud of the work I did. I also dealt with hostels for the homeless, youth projects and because of the variety of the roles I had done, I learnt a lot about people.

I never had a ‘big plan’, I just wanted to do the best I could in the role I was doing.

Back in the 90’s, Jack Straw, the Home Secretary, told me he would like me to stay on after my initial 5-year term on the Committee for Racial Equality. I did not want to as I had already given it everything I had. However, I agreed to another 2 years. Unexpectedly, I got another Royal Warrant giving me another 5-year term. However, I resigned in 1999, set up a consultancy, called Different Realities partnership, and ran that for 5 years. During this time, a fellow peer contacted me and asked me to give a talk at Goldman Sachs. Following that talk, Goldman Sachs asked me to come in and help with increasing their diversity. I asked why, as they were one of the biggest and most profitable investment banks in the world. They could not tell me why they wanted to increase diversity so I refused. Organisations must always know why they need to increase diversity; it is not a tick box exercise.

You are Chairman of Kick it Out, can you tell us more about it?

Kick it Out is an enabling organisation. I started Kick it Out because the people who needed to recognise there was a problem with racism in football, did not do so and just hoped that, in time, racism would resolve itself.  I knew I had to get people to come out of their comfort zone and raise the issue of racism in football. It was not easy; we had to negotiate with decision makers and politicians to get things started. Fans had to be screened off from one another and discouraged from shouting out. At a grass roots level, parents and others were discouraged from shouting at the referee. Football must take the credit for its successes and failures.

Its other people making decisions all the time and I recognise that we need to keep pushing on.

For a long time there were no go areas in the dressing rooms and training grounds. The reality is we can’t change a culture if we can’t get access to these areas. Training and discipline are so important. Kick it Out have presented at league level and to the England team. Through education, eyes will be opened to inclusion.

This generation is better than the one before the next will be even better, but it’s all been based on the culture at that time.

So organisations need to change from within?

Yes. In addition, community leaders and role models need to embrace the idea of change and the idea of a diversity and respect and they can spread the word.

The top leaders in the boardroom do not own diversity; it needs to be owned by everyone.

In football, people and companies from all over the world own clubs now.

It is important for clubs whose fans have been discriminatory, to hold their hands up and deal with the issue straight away. John Terry is not a racist, he made racist comments but did not hold his hands up straight away, and instead he came up with three different excuses. Therefore, it is important to get everyone to accept responsibility. Even in policing, it is important to admit to mistakes, learn from them, and make changes.

What would you say to anyone from the Black community, who was thinking about joining the police?

The police service is a very important part of our society. The police are there to protect all our citizens. Over a long period, racism has been widely institutionalised, not just in policing but also in society. We all need to recognise that we all need protecting and that the police service is an honourable service.  We can only make it better by participation. Do not stand on the side lines and criticise, join and find a role for yourself and make a difference. We live in a very diverse culture and it needs to be inclusive. It is so important to make sure people feel they are a special somebody and to inspire them. People need to understand the value of public service and cohesion, by getting people together to break down the walls of resistance.

In the 70’s and 80’s many police officers had never mixed with diverse communities and did not understand them. People now have a better understanding, but the only way to achieve inclusion is by working alongside people from diverse communities.

Positive messages about policing need to come from communities, from families. People also need to know why they want to join the police.

It is important to promote the values of inclusion, not just for policing but for society as a whole.

Diversity, Equality & Inclusion in South Yorkshire Police

The Diversity and Inclusion Unit leads on the recruitment of all underrepresented communities and is based within the HR recruitment team. Its range of focus takes in both external and internal vacancy candidates, for all roles, including:

Police Officer

Student Officer

Special Constable



We encourage and support candidates from our underrepresented communities who wish to apply for roles within South Yorkshire police, however, all candidates are assessed on their own merit and capability. Our predominate areas of under representation are currently:

Disability, BAME, LGBT+ (all roles)

Females are also currently underrepresented in police officer roles and males are currently underrepresented in staff roles.

Please email: positiveaction@southyorks.pnn.police.uk for more information

or follow us on Twtiter - @TeamSYP

The Equality Unit leads on the strategic management of equality, diversity and human rights for South Yorkshire Police. Set within the HR Career Services department, its range of focus takes in the service provided to the public as well as the organisation’s relationship with its workforce.

Core areas of activity for the Equality Unit include:

  • Driving the SYP Equality, Diversity and Human Rights Strategy.
  • Developing and driving the South Yorkshire Police
  • Gathering, publication and monitoring of SYP Equality data.
  • Helping to fulfil the community engagement commitment of both the Force and the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner with different sections of the South Yorkshire public
  • Fostering the widest use of good practice like Positive Action where under-representation occurs and Equality Analysis in the management of change
  • The continuing professional development of a broad range of roles in equality, diversity and human rights responsibilities