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Women of Colour in Policing launch career development programme

The tri-force initiative is aimed at supporting female colleagues from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

A career development programme has been launched to help female colleagues from diverse ethnic backgrounds.

‘Becoming Career Ready’ is a tri-force initiative (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire) created by Becoming International in collaboration with positive action movement ‘Women of Colour in Policing’.

The group was first set up in 2021 by Bedfordshire Sergeant Sandra Smith – with Cultural Intelligence Lead Sam Alexander joining the same year.

WoCiP BCH has said the movement was created to give women of colour the “courage and confidence to be seen and heard” in order to succeed.

Of the 37 women who have completed the ‘Becoming Career Ready’ programme to date, six have secured promotions and a further four have reversed decisions to leave policing.

WoCiP BCH is open to women at any stage of their policing careers, but prioritises support for women whose first language is not English given the additional barriers they face regarding career progression.

Sgt Smith and Ms Alexander have additionally formed partnerships with local universities in order to attract women of colour into policing in the first place.

They also work with community elders and leaders to create change and cohesion, oversee viral social media campaigns, work with their Young WoCiP influencers on TikTok, support the work of Male Violence Against Women and Girls (MVAWG), and hold Listening Circles in the community.

Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable of Trevor Rodenhurst and Detective Chief Superintendent of the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit Julie Henderson are WoCiP BCH sponsors.

“No one is hard to reach – we just weren’t listening enough,” says Sgt Smith on WoCiP BCH’s early beginnings.

Longer-term plans include the development of a career progression programme – the pair are working with the SFJ Awards on an industry-recognised certificate that documents a participant’s learning.

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