Essex Police and Kent Police have been working collaboratively during the past few years to promote the black minority ethnic support networks within each force.
But, until now, Essex Police’s Minority Ethnic Support Association (MESA) and the Kent Minority Ethnic Police Association (KMEPA) have been working separately to grow their memberships.
However, this year the two networks are kick-starting Black History Month in both forces by holding a joint conference on October 1.
Realising Potential and Moving Forward Together will be held at Kent Police Training School in Maidstone. Guest speakers are Professor Simon Holdaway, of Nottingham Trent University; Chief Superintendent Dr Victor Olisa, of the Metropolitan Police Service; and Manisha Taylor, a sports coach and presenter who works in collaboration with Show Racism the Red Card.
An audience of 160 police officers and police staff will hear presentations on such topics as the attraction, recruitment and retention of minority ethnic communities and personal experiences, both from within the police service and in wider communities.
The conference aims to highlight and discuss the challenges faced in both forces, as well as looking at positive ways to move forward.
Sgt Jon McLeod, Chair of MESA, is excited at the prospect of learning more about his counterpart support association in Kent.
He said: “We haven’t had the opportunity to work closely together before but this conference is allowing KMEPA Chair Trevel Henry and I to share best practice and ideas and plan a really enticing, thought-provoking conference , not only for our members but for the wider workforces.
“I hope everyone comes away from the day with a deeper understanding of the work we are trying to achieve within Essex Police and Kent Police and how it will benefit police officers, police staff and the communities we serve.”
During the past 18 months, the joint Essex Police and Kent Police HR Diversity team has been working tirelessly alongside the Recruitment teams to engage with minority ethnic communities in both counties at communities, festivals and events, workshops and open information evenings.
In doing so, the Diversity team is hoping to promote the police service as an employer of choice to many people who perhaps wouldn’t have considered it before.
In doing so, Essex Police and Kent Police aim to create workforces which are more representative of the communities they serve.