Creating a fairer Britain
When the London Probation Service underwent a major organisational review an expected outcome was a reduction in staff numbers through redundancy. Equality impact assessments were carried out at the proposal stage on two large groupings of staff that were likely to be affected. One of these was senior staff and one was administrative and corporate centre staff. Both assessments identified that there might be a negative impact on women and on black and older staff. Fewer jobs would be available, particularly at senior management level.
Many older staff had been in post for a number of years and had no recent experience of job applications and interview. A programme of support was made available to all staff. This focused on briefings about the assessment centre process as well as job application and interview techniques. For those who were not successful, further support was given on developing CVs and on careers advice. A review of the recruitment process for senior staff following the restructure revealed an increase in black senior managers.There was also no negative impact on women or disabled staff. A more equal balance had been achieved between women and men among administrative staff. The assessment process has given the service a deeper understanding of the workforce which will continue to be monitored regularly.
While considering its response to growing knife crime, the Met carried out an impact assessment which identified a high probable impact on black and minority ethnic communities of any action they might take. It was also aware that members of these communities were keen to see action taken.The impact assessment led to the development of an improved strategy to manage relations between officers and the community. This included:
It was particularly important to ensure those questioned felt they were being treated with respect and also that they understood the reasons for the police action.
A review of the Metropolitan Police workforce revealed that women were under-represented in the specialist firearms operational command unit. Consultation identified several barriers: the written application process, the job-related fitness test which disadvantaged women, a lack of information and guidance, myths about the department and, in some cases, a lack of support.
Actions to overcome these barriers included the development of a scheme whereby female firearms officers were trained to mentor female applicants and support them through the process when they expressed an interest in applying. This ensured that applicants had strong role models from the outset. It was acknowledged that the difference between men's and women's physiologies required different training techniques to achieve the high fitness standards.
The Occupational Health Department therefore arranged bespoke training programmes that equipped the women to pass the job-related fitness test. The test was not changed in any way: the women who passed did so under the same conditions as the male applicants.
Coaching was provided on how to complete application forms in accordance with the national competencies. Personal development courses were arranged to show the women how to compile and follow a personal action plan. This resulted in an increase in the number of women in the firearms team from 10 to 25 over a two-year period.
Merseyside Police Introduced a system which allows deaf people and people with hearing impairments to contact them and to report incidents to the control rooms by using mobile phone texting technology. To date, (summer 2009) the service has been used over 600 times.
Acting on concerns raised by disabled people on issues relating to disability Hate Crime, West Yorkshire Police established there were higher instances amongst individuals with learning difficulties. As a result, disability Hate Crime was placed on the agenda of the Force Hate Crime Co-ordinators meetings. Disabled people and individuals who work with disabled people have given presentations to the group. Training on Hate Crime issues is also being developed for disability support workers. New Hate Incident reporting centres at community locations used by disabled people are also being developed.
West Yorkshire Police developed a service level agreement with key disability support organisations and networks across the area. The purpose of this is to enable the Police to secure the input and expertise of disabled people in the development of their Equality Scheme, their policies and their Equality Impact Assessments.
A charitable donation will be given by the Police to identified disability support organisations who will, in return provide an agreed number of hour’s involvement in one of these projects.
South Wales Police introduced a development plan for Disability Hate Crime. This was to improve awareness, understanding and operational effectiveness in relation to Disability Hate Crime. These incidents are now included as a category of hate crime, and recorded on the records system. Training was also delivered to staff at the Minorities Support Unit and to Hate Crime Officers.
Tayside Police arranged an open day about their work. This was an opportunity for them to witness mock custody cases involving domestic violence, drug possession, shoplifting theft and vulnerable witness evidence processes. The day was promoted to disabled people at the public launch of their Disability Equality Scheme. It was widely publicised through posters, radio and local newspapers. However, although it was very well attended, there was no uptake from wheelchair users or people with sensory impairments. When evaluating the event, it became clear that it would have been beneficial to carry out direct promotion to disabled people through disability related community forums and support organisations. This learning will be used in planning for similar events in the future.
Angus Council signed up to the “DisabledGo” project to enable Tayside Police to have each of their Angus police offices to be inspected with regard to their physical access. The findings were published on the “DisabledGo” website for disabled people. As a result, disabled people with internet access can now plan a trip to any police office in Angus. They can know before they leave home what kind of access and service provision they can expect when they arrive.
Young people from South Norfolk led the planning and delivery of a training package for Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) aimed at tackling misconceptions and negative attitudes held by both sides.
Members of South Norfolk Youth Action (SNYA) and other young people who have had negative interactions with Police developed and delivered the training package, which was designed to reduce barriers to effective interactions between the groups.
"I wanted to get involved because of the misrepresentation of young people in the media….If we got involved in the training then PCSOs would understand that young people are not all bad." Member of South Norfolk Youth Action
"I learnt most about the Police themselves. I found out that they are just normal people. It gave me a sense of the work that they do…it’s a really tough job…If I’m worried about something (now) I’m more likely to go up to a PCSO." Member of South Norfolk Youth Action
The need to create a training package was identified through the ongoing work of South Norfolk Council (SNC) and Norfolk County Council (NCC) to involve young people in their decision making.