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PSNI Chief praises 'inclusive' force at LGBT+ conference

Northern Ireland’s Chief has said the force is committed to being visible and inclusive, after hosting and LGBT+ conference.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland’s leader has pledged that his force will empower partnerships to improve diversity.

Chief Constable Simon Byrne made the commitment as the force hosted the UK and Ireland’s annual LGBT+ Policing Conference in Belfast.

He made clear that officers and staff would continue to engage with and show support for members of the LGBT+ community.

His public comments are the latest stage of work by the force to normalise policing after decades of violence – and move away from sectarianism.

The event was to share the work by LGBT+ officers in their communities and generate reflection on issues that need to be tackled.  

And the conference opened with a welcome address from the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Christina Black.

CC Byrne said: “We are extremely proud to host this year’s LGBT+ Conference and to showcase the city of Belfast as a welcoming, safe and inclusive city. 

“This is an important opportunity for policing colleagues and partners from across the UK and Ireland to share ideas and perspectives and to generate learning on a range of topics such as diversity in policing, community engagement and community cohesion.”

He added: “It also underscores our ongoing commitment to visible, accessible and responsive policing in Northern Ireland.”

The National LGBT+ Police Network, whose members helped organise the event, has reps in all 43 forces.

They provide a reference to stakeholders in the Police Service, the wider criminal justice sector and LGBT+ organisations on LGBT+ issues in policing.

The Co-Chairs of the Police Service of Northern Ireland LGBT+ Network Sergeant Beth Wickham-Thomas and Constable Paul Bloomer said their force had given significant backing to the event: “We are really proud of the conference we have developed in partnership with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, supported by senior leadership. 

“We have worked hard to produce a conference programme which we hope will empower new partnerships and strengthen existing ones. We’ve purposefully and carefully chosen speakers who have powerful messages for policing.”

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