Bedfordshire Police welcomed 200 people from policing across the UK recently as it hosted the flagship National Black Police Association (NBPA) conference.
Home Secretary Priti Patel, Dawn Butler MP and Abimbola Johnson, the new independent scrutiny panel chair for the police plan of action on race and inclusion, were among the guest speakers at the prestigious event, which took place from 19-21 October at the Luton Hoo Hotel.
Chief constables, police and crime commissioners, diversity leads and members from minority ethnic police associations from across the country were in attendance for the conference, which focused on women and race in policing. In all 41 of the 43 police forces in the UK were represented at the event, which was led by the Bedfordshire Police Diversity Support Group.
Bedfordshire Police Chief Constable Garry Forsyth, the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for race, religion and belief, said, “It’s a real honour for us to host this incredibly prestigious event and showcase the work we are doing here in Bedfordshire to improve diversity and inclusion in policing.
“There has been a tremendous mix of very thought provoking and challenging speakers through to some truly inspiring speakers as well.
“It’s been a fantastic opportunity for colleagues from across the country to come together, discuss ideas and renew our efforts and energy into affecting positive change and making policing more representative of all the communities we serve.”
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Festus Akinbusoye said, “It was an honour to attend this year’s National Black Police Association conference as Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, alongside Chief Constable Garry Forsyth and Bedfordshire Police’s Diversity Support Group.
“I felt proud to be in attendance and to speak with so many people, together we were all there for the same reason. Supporting inclusivity and diversity in our policing family are close to my heart.
“An ‘Inclusion and equality commitment’ is one of my priorities. I am committed to working with representing bodies that support diverse groups within the force to ensure we address structural obstacles that prevent career progression and development.
“Ensuring we have the brightest and best from our communities, being represented at all ranks within policing, is good for the police service and public confidence.
“I am working closely with the Chief Constable to deliver an organisation which reflects the community we serve. Bedfordshire Police has gone from being among the least ethnically diverse force in Britain in 2016, it is now in the top three most diverse.
“However, I believe we have much more to do, especially on the retention of our diverse workforce.”
The NBPA is an umbrella group representing around 50 staff associations from police and law enforcement agencies across the country.