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Kent's diversity promotion panels look to embed awareness

Since March 2021, the force has had the panels in place as a way of improving and enhancing diversity within the work force.

In Kent, every single officer, regardless of rank, will face a diversity and inclusion panel before their main promotion board. 

The panel will have representatives from across the organisation such as officers and staff members with a chair of a senior rank. Diversity and Inclusion SPOCs will also be on the panel. 

Questions will cover the officer’s awareness of diversity and inclusion as well as future plans and ideas they have to further embed diversity and inclusion within the force.

It’s a scored interview with feedback provided - the scoring is then amalgamated into that of the main board. 

The recently appointed Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Superindendent Amanda Tillotson told Police Oracle: “If you think back a few years everybody knows what diversity and inclusion is but nobody knows what it is. So what does it really mean?

“We've come at it from all sorts of angles and [we really want to] send the message out - we will embed this in every single part of our organisation.

“There was still a period where we had people that were scared to mention diversity and inclusion, they didn’t really know what the correct terminology was, or didn’t really know if they could highlight that someone’s from a minority background, and therefore ask how they could help with career progression?”

The force has implemented a two hour diversity inclusion training package which so far 1,500 officers have completed - the plan being for all staff members to complete it. Ch Supt Tillotson said the feedback has been positive.

As of March 2022, Kent had a total officer headcount of 4,027, 4 per cent of which were of a Black, Asian or mixed ethnic group. 

Within Uplift, the force are working to attract recruits from diverse backgrounds with positive action workshops, peer support and progression events all offered prior and during the recruitment process. 

Ch Supt Tillotson explained: “Already through our staff support associations, we’re getting fewer and fewer complaints coming through - people are having those conversations because we’re giving them the confidence to do so.”

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