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Equality and Diversity - gypsies and travellers

"As the gypsy traveller equality champion for Sussex Police I am determined that the community is treated the same as any other community that we serve, so that the service we provide is accessible, responsive and visible and treats the gypsy traveller community with fairness, respect and dignity. I will also be working hard to improve the trust and confidence that this community has with us."

Superintendent James Collis, Equality Champion for Gypsy and Traveller Equality work in Sussex Police, who works alongside Equality Advocate Chief Inspector Howard Hodges.

Priorities

  • To ensure that police activity in respect of Gypsy and Traveller communities is non-discriminatory and effective.
  • To provide support to Gypsy and Traveller individuals and communities in accessing policing services, and improve trust and confidence to increase reporting of hate crime.
  • To become an employer of choice for the BME community and ensure there is equality in support, and career development opportunities for BME staff and officers.
  • To demonstrate the force's commitment to providing visible leadership on Race Equality issues.


Our work in this area

As a public service:

Priority areas in service delivery for Gypsy and Traveller Equality include increasing awareness of hate crime reporting methods, and gaining insight on public experiences is central to developing our approach.

A key part of this work involves engaging with people in our communities and regular consultation with our external *Gypsy and Traveller Advisory Group (GTAG). The GTAG has been operating for a number of years and is a reference group to promote equality and take action on issues relating to gypsy travellers. The group are made up of representatives from gypsy traveller communities and a variety of representative groups.

The group is chaired by Chris Penfold-Brown and co-chaired by Chief Inspector Howard Hodges. Quarterly meetings are held which include guest speakers and a review of unauthorised encampment activity.

The purpose of this group is to assist Sussex Police in making sure its policies and procedures take into account the needs of gypsy travellers and that they are treated equally to any other community whilst simultaneously raising awareness of gypsy travellers issues throughout the Force and to remove any outdated myths and prejudices.

*If you would like to help Sussex police improve its service by becoming a member of the Gypsy and Traveller Advisory Group email us: diversity@sussex.pnn.police.uk


Gypsy and Traveller Liaison Officers (GTLO):

The role of the GTLO has been established throughout Sussex. Similar to other liaison officer roles, they receive specialist inputs to raise their knowledge and understanding, and create awareness in Gypsy and Traveller issues. GTLOs act as a point of contact for Gypsy and Traveller communities, building relations to increase trust, confidence and encourage reporting of crime.


As an employer:

There is a national Gypsy Roma Traveller Police Association (GRTPA), which is a support network for police staff and officers who are from a Gypsy Roma or Traveller background. The GRTPA aims to challenge myths and discrimination and work in partnership with other organisations to share good practice.

*If you work at Sussex Police and would like to become involved in our work in this area, please email: diversity@sussex.pnn.police.uk