Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Our commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality is resolute. Despite the challenges we have faced, and continue to face, we have a vision of a united approach between both forces. One which values our individuality, celebrates what makes us uniquely different yet inextricably connected, with respect and understanding for all.
Our response to diversity and inclusion is ever evolving. This revised strategy sets out our intention for creating sustainable and lasting change for our colleagues now and those yet to join us and also supports the delivery of Our Priorities.
The vision at Sussex Police is to have a workforce who understands why diversity, equality and inclusion are fundamental to improving trust, confidence and legitimacy in policing.
Focus on improving our culture of inclusion and increase awareness and understanding of diversity and equality, through the delivery of professional development awareness and training. Colleagues will have confidence to share their diversity data, particularly for non-visible differences, which will inform our processes and policies. Colleagues will be supported to challenge, overcome and reduce discriminatory behaviours or practices.
Understanding, engaging and increasing satisfaction and confidence across all communities and victims of crime. Engaging with our communities to understand their concerns, improving communication, accessibility and building trust and confidence to ensure all communities have a voice, and are more confident in reporting hate crime and incidents, and be kept informed at each stage.
Work transparently with communities to progress understanding of disproportionality in the use of police powers, and engage effectively to tackle the concern this raises in our communities.
Attract, recruit and retain a diverse workforce which is representative of the communities we serve, ensuring robust analysis of workforce data to identify areas of concern or disproportionality to inform organisational priority, delivery of positive action interventions and organisational training and development needs.
Independent advisors and reference groups
Sussex Police has a Strategic Independent Advisory Group, which meets on a regular basis to provide independent views and advice on the strategic development and delivery of our services. Across Sussex, each division has its own Independent Advisory Group, which enables understanding of the differing effects local policing can have on geographical communities. In addition to this, Sussex Police has a number External Reference Groups, specific to Equality Act protected characteristics, chaired by members of the community, to test challenge and inform Sussex police. Engaging directly with the public helps us develop and operate policies and practices that do not exclude, discriminate or have an unjustifiable adverse impact on any particular community.
Strategic Independent Advisory Group minutes
Title: Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Date: Tuesday 26 January 2021, 14:00 – 15:30
Venue: MS Teams
IC welcomed the group and led round table introductions.
- Op Titan
JP provided the group with an update on Op Titan, which is Sussex Police’s organisational response to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated legislation. They described how Sussex Police’s approach to policing had developed throughout the year in order to respond effectively to changing circumstances. For example – splitting officer groups up to ensure social distancing and changing our resourcing profile to be more visible in key areas.
JP also described how certain areas represented particular challenges for policing – for example along Brighton Seafront there were many people out and it was not always easy determining who should or should not be there. In such cases the police were working closely with local authorities, including Sussex and Brighton Universities to promote understanding and awareness about the regulations –JP acknowledged that most people had been very cooperative.
Advisors asked if police officers were on the priority list for receiving vaccinations as key workers. JP confirmed that this was not the case but that this may have changed by February. JP did state, that in certain circumstances Police Officers were being offered the Pfizer vaccine on an adhoc basis, but assured advisors this only occurred at the end of the day where there were doses remaining in NHS practices. As the Pfizer vaccine cannot be stored over night, they would go to waste otherwise. JP further assured advisors that there was a process in place around ethics to ensure we were doing this as ethically as possible, an officer would never take the place of a vulnerable person getting the vaccine and would never ask for it. In some instances we have had a 30 minute notice to an available vaccine and the most vulnerable officer will receive this, however due to timings this is not always possible.
Advisors asked what the process was if a staff member or officer refused to have the vaccine? JP stated that Sussex Police understand some people are nervous about vaccines – they are intrusive and will work with NHS to mitigate this by addressing their concerns and through education.
Advisors asked if the force are doing any work around Sexual Violence Awareness Week and Children’s Mental Health Awareness week and whether they will be displaying awareness posters in vehicles and station or on their social media sites? DT reassured the group that Sussex Police are mindful of awareness days that are held throughout the calendar year and will dedicate resources into supporting Mental Health Awareness week in May.
Action 20: DT to provide overview of the plan of awareness days over the year for the next meeting.
- Ethical Dilemmas & Complaints
LB led the presentation on Ethical Dilemmas and Complaints and asked advisors for their consideration and insight. LB described, how as an employer Sussex Police sometimes have to carry out misconduct procedures and emphasised the importance of this process in terms of legitimacy and transparency, especially with regards to public perception. LB informed the group that officers can be held publicly to account for allegations of serious wrong doings and there is a duty to publish information of hearings both before and after the hearing.
LB informed the group that according to the Police Barred List, since 2017, 21 Sussex Police Officers had been dismissed from the force without the public being informed. LB asked advisors if they felt we should have disclosed those names to the public/media, acknowledging that there were many people in the media who believed that disciplinary hearings should not be held in private.
Some advisors felt names should be disclosed to the public as if they have been dismissed from the force. LB informed the group that once an officer has left the service they become private individuals and therefore we needed to consider how to respect their privacy in a fair and balanced way, LB stated that an officer who is dismissed from the force will be entered onto the barred list which is administered by National College of Policing and therefore their record was publically available this way.
Advisors also felt there might be particular circumstances where there should be private hearings, for example where details of confidential police operations may be disclosed or if there was an investigation which related to domestic abuse, especially where the victim might be a police officer. Sensitive information around the victim should always be safeguarded and protected.
Advisors asked if the legally qualified chair ever relies on precedent set by previous hearings to inform on the current proceedings. LB confirmed that previous case law was considered but the disciplinary guidance framework was very clear with statutory guidance produced by the Home Office. LB also stated that there were clearly defined appeal mechanisms in place for officers and staff who felt they were wrongly censured. If an officer was dismissed and later reinstated there would be a full audit trail kept, relating to all aspects of the investigation, the misconduct proceedings, the outcomes and service record.
- Force Update
DCC Chapman provided the group with a Force Update highlighting the ongoing impact that COVID-19 has had on police colleagues and how this has been managed. DCC Chapman stated that Sussex Police were very conscious about the way COVID-19 could affect colleagues at Sussex Police and ensuring the force would be able to continue delivering an effective service safe was a priority. They stated a number of measures had been implemented to mitigate any disruption, these included: Provision of hand sanitiser dispensers, personal protective equipment and social distancing requirements. Where social distancing was challenging, screens where put in place to protect staff, teams were split up into different spaces. DCC Chapman confirmed that these measures worked really well as there was minimal staff absence due to COVID-19. DCC Chapman informed the group that due to the new strain of COVID-19 during the period of December – January far more staff were off absent with COVID-19 or had to self-isolate, the impact of the new strain could also be recognised in the wider community as well. Sussex Police have continued to communicate the importance of messaging regarding safety measures and have seen the amount of staff ill and/or self-isolating reduce.
DCC Chapman provided the group with data that showed on the week ending 18 January 2021 Sussex Police received 1106 calls in one week regarding COVID-19 and felt the public are not responding to current COVID lockdown in the same way as they had during the first lockdown in March 2020. Public Sector agencies of the Sussex Resilience Forum declared a major incident in December.
DCC Chapman provided the group with data on Fixed Penalty Notices. 120 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued in Sussex from Friday 15 – Sunday 17 January 2021. Since the first lockdown Sussex Police have issues over 1300 Fixed Penalty Notices, in the third lockdown up until the week of the 20 January Sussex Police had issues 224 Fixed Penalty Notices.
DCC Chapman provided an update around Domestic Abuse and the impact COVID has had on reporting it. DCC Chapman emphasised the importance that government messaging is very clear, if someone is fleeing from Domestic Abuse that is a legitimate reason for them to leave their homes. Sussex Police are encouraging people to report Domestic Abuse and seek support. The force recognise that current reporting of Domestic Abuse is suppressed and once the lockdown restrictions have lifted we are likely to see an increase. Therefore it is important for Sussex Police to be in communication with partner agencies and to be prepared for this. DCC Chapman informed the group that officers have been made aware that when on call outs, they may be the only people outside of their family home that victims of domestic abuse are seeing and therefore it is important to pick up on the signs of child and domestic abuse signs.
Advisors were concerned about child abuse and questioned how we can effectively support and respond to the issue in light of current circumstances and how children can report? DCC Chapman recognised that children will usually report abuse through people they trust such as, schools, nurseries and trusted friends/family members but due to COVID it has meant children are in less contact with these trusted people and emphasised the importance of why officers need to recognise these signs of abuse.
Advisors questioned what plans are in place if too many members of staff fall ill or have to self-isolate due to COVID. DCC Chapman reassured the group that we have not reached this point and still have full policing response which is reviewed daily. However, should this happen there are plans in place and have been since March 2020.
Advisors questioned what effect COVID had on officer morale? DCC Chapman felt COVID had affected officers and staff in many different ways. Officers were often concerned they might be putting their families at risk when they are working directly with the public on a daily basis. DCC Chapman recognised the additional hours officers have been working and felt officers deserve more recognition and respect for their work “which had been above and beyond “to deliver on the service provided, DCC also stated they felt proud of the way staff have embraced the changes with little complaint.
Advisors questioned if this will change policing methods in the future? DCC confirmed that Sussex Police have recognised how some of our processes have worked better being online and will be keeping them this way. It has also been recognised that if people do not need to travel for meetings/events they are able to attend more and stay for longer.
Advisors questioned if more officers or police staff have been infected with COVID-19? The amount of officers and police staff who have been infected is similar but has varied throughout the year.
Advisors were concerned that there are not enough officers patrolling and felt people are travelling outside of their local areas to beauty spots.
Advisors questioned how Sussex Police are keeping a record of officers who have been vaccinated so it is known when they are due to have their second vaccine? JP informed the group when officers attend their first vaccination their details are put into the National system so they are informed when they are due to have their follow up vaccine 12 weeks later.
Date of next meeting: Wednesday 28 April 2021, 13:00 – 14:30, MS Teams.
Strategic Independent Advisory Group
26 October 2020, 13.00 – 15.00
IC welcomed the group and explained housekeeping.
- Firearms Licensing: Mental Health Safeguarding
PG explained their role in Surrey and Sussex and gave an overview of the Firearms and Explosives Licensing Unit (FELU), including what roles are involved in the unit and what they do. The FELU provides assistance to the Home office in respect of Prohibited Weapon authorities, but their primary role is to ensure firearm certificate holders and applicants are responsible individuals and do not pose a likely threat to the public through wilful mishandling.
Recent legislative changes requiring new applicants/holders to obtain a report from an appropriate medical provider, certifying their qualification to use a firearm and disclose any relevant medical conditions to FELU, to add a further level of safeguarding to this process.
Advisors expressed concern that not all individuals with mental health problems will go to their GP, they may go privately or self-refer themselves to other services and therefore questioned how FELU will be able to gain access to the individuals GP certificate. PG informed the group that this is where the appropriate medical practitioner will be involved, due to the application process the applicant is required to declare any relevant medical condition/s. This includes for example health issues such as Depression, Anxiety, Parkinson’s, Motor neurone disease, Multiple Sclerosis and Diabetes.
Advisors questioned how Sussex Police deal with reports of illegal use of firearms. JC assured advisors that any reports received of firearms being discharged are fully investigated, and there would be grounds to revoke any license issued if it was found the firearm had been discharged unlawfully. They stated that public safety remained Sussex Police’s paramount concern at all times.
- Ethical Dilemmas & Complaints
RC gave an overview from the Professional Standards Department of an Ethical Dilemma; questioning whether Police Officers and Police Staff are excessively punished because of the job that they do. RC provided a detailed step by step for an example of a member of staff being investigated criminally for an assault and public order offence which was captured on CCTV and witnessed by members of the public. RC paused at each stage of the process to capture advisors views on appropriate steps to take, following with an organisational view.
Advisors generally indicated preference for a lesser gravity of sanctions and wanted to know about arrangements in place re safeguarding/supporting staff who were being investigated in these circumstances, especially if they were being investigated for serious criminal activity. RC stated that Sussex Police have recently revised their welfare policy to support staff in this respect, which now had a clear guidance structure, including risk assessments for the more serious cases. This guidance also provides signposting to external agencies for those colleagues who wished to speak to someone outside of Sussex Police to ensure appropriate support is available.
- Harmful Practices
VB provided an overview of the Force Action Plan around harmful practices; an initiative aimed at reaching hidden crimes in communities which police have traditionally found difficulty in engaging with. VB described how harmful practices negatively affected some of society’s most vulnerable people and outlined patterns of abuse and violence which primarily affected women and young girls – often masked beneath a false veil of honour or religious practice. VB stated that harmful practices represented some of the greatest forms of child and human rights abuse, explaining how Sussex Police were committed to enhancing their response in this area and the progress made to date.
Part of the strategy of engagement with those communities that VB described was to work with external agencies in order to provide a bridge between the police and communities where distrust existed. One such organisation VB mentioned in this context was ‘Crime stoppers’, who alongside the borough council had helped Sussex Police conduct a targeted campaign of awareness in Crawley – which had already been identified as an area with occurrences of harmful practice.
In this context VB gave an example of Sussex Police’s Operation Limelight which takes place annually at Gatwick Airport
(Covid permitting) focussing on intervention, education and victim identification. This operation focuses on safeguarding opportunities as it recognised nationally that especially during the school summer holidays there is enhance risk of people travelling, either as perpetrators or victims of honour/cultural based abuse. Sussex Police are keen to make this operation more community based in its approach by working more with local organisations, rather than a purely police /border force operation. It is at present and noted that authorities at Gatwick Airport were cooperative with Sussex Police around promoting Operation.
VB described how Sussex Police had identified a clear need to increase training and investment in this area. Funding has been secured for 25 officers and staff to be trained as champions which will be delivered by Karma Nirvana and the National Centre for FGM (in January 2021). These champions will be embedded in local divisions to assist with advice, support and specialist knowledge. VB noted that through the Regional and National Working Group, Sussex Police were currently taking part in a pilot scheme relating to forced marriage and female genital mutation protection orders. Previously there has been a disconnection between protection orders made elsewhere in the country and how that was being delivered as a safeguarding package for a different force area. There is now a more integrated process between courts which should result in a more efficient safe guarding response to victims of harmful practice when they are identified.
Advisors suggested that Domestic Abuse organisations, such as RISE and WORTH, would be helpful to work with as a partner - as they provide local Domestic Abuse support and may be getting cases reported to them. VB reassured the group that Sussex Police are liaising with RISE and WORTH as part of this work.
Advisors felt there is definitely under reporting of these crimes and recognised this may be because it is difficult for a victim to report on their own family as they do not want to criminalise them, and advisors felt there needs to be larger piece of work in engaging with communities to improve trust and confidence.
- Force Update
DCC Chapman gave the group a force update which included an update on Operation Trebor, relating to the drones incident at Gatwick last Christmas. The investigation is now closed but had almost 200 witness statements taken and 60 persons of interest were identified, unfortunately the offender was not identified and brought to justice. Since the time of the incident county drone measures has improved, which means that now Sussex Police have advanced track, detect and identifying equipment which enables the detection of a drone in restricted air space, track it and detect where it is being piloted from. The equipment is being funded by the Home Office and will be a secondary skill taught to officers in the Gatwick Airport area. Located at Gatwick Airport Sussex Police also have Skywall, which is a device which can be deployed to capture a drone and safety bring it back down to the ground.
DCC Chapman gave an overview on OP Titan - the response from Sussex Police of COVID and Brexit. Superintendent Julia Pope is the gold commander leading the operation over the next 3-6 month period. This operation will cover 3 core issues:
- Sussex Police’s response to COVID with the government restrictions and health issues.
- EU exit impact on communities from a policing perspective and providing officers to support Kent who are expected to see issues at the channel tunnel and the ports.
- Seasonal winter issues such as flooding, snow and winter flu.
This co-ordinated approach will see Sussex Police work closely with local resilience forum in Sussex which includes all other voluntary and key agencies.
DDC JC asked the group on possible new agenda items and their thoughts on them for the next meetings. All advisors were in favour of the suggestions:
- Sussex Polices comprehensive response to anti-social behaviour on the road
- Sussex Polices response to organised immigration crime
- DDC JC lead on inclusion with the work progressed by Sussex police for recruitment, retention and development of staff and developing insight around experiences of Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues in Sussex Police.
Advisors informed the group on the hidden disabilities sunflower lanyard that individuals may wear to alert members of the public that they have a hidden disability and questioned if officers have these. Officers and staff members do not have these, however Sussex Police will look into this to make sure officers are aware of their purpose.
Date of next meeting: 26 January 14.00 – 16.00
Strategic Independent Advisory Group
24 July 2020 at 14:00-15:30
IC welcomed everyone to the meeting, explained housekeeping and led round table introductions.
- Ethical Dilemmas & Complaints
RC gave an overview of the role carried out by the Professional Standards Department (PSD) in Sussex Police, their updated complaints system and how complaints against officers and staff are being managed. This new customer focussed process was designed to be fully accessible to the public and improve confidence in the police through greater accountability. RC stated this meant there was now an emphasis around the organisation learning from its mistakes rather than apportioning blame to individuals. RC described how this legislation was being applied and noted that now, every expression of dissatisfaction made by a member of the public was to be recorded and not just complaints as before, it was felt this more in-depth approach would allow for a greater understanding of police performance and lead to improvements in the service we provide. To illustrate how these new changes were being applied in practice JC described the complexities of an ongoing misconduct case that was being investigated by PSD against a police officer, including the criteria employed and dilemmas faced by PSD; especially the decision making process assessing the severity of alleged misconduct and what safeguarding was in place to support police officers who are subject to a misconduct investigation.
Advisor feedback: Advisors expressed concern for the welfare of officers when complaints were made against them and asked what safeguarding strategies were in place to support. RC reassured advisors that the welfare of officers was taken seriously and understood the impact these cases had on the officers themselves. Available support included suicide risk assessment and involvement of outside agencies as well as intervention via the Police Federation and Employee Assistance Programme who are there to support officers and their families during this time. The NPCC were also working on new guidelines which Sussex Police would be looking to adopt. Advisors were interested to know more about historical complaints data against the police force. RC advised that the complaints data always fluctuated and there were many external factors which influenced this variance. RC stated however that by introducing ‘dissatisfaction’ as a recordable complaint, this would lead to an increase in the number of complaints overall.
Action: RC to circulate Sussex complaint data for next meeting and how it is comparable with other forces.
- Assessing Threat Harm Risk by local Resolution: Grade 3 DA assessment Complaints
SR introduced the Local Resolution Team (LRT) which is a team of 39 officers, who respond to high volume but low risk domestic abuse (DA) incidents. SR described a victim focussed and comprehensive approach to improving the experience of DA victims, these included: improving the timeliness that police teams would engage with victims (within 12 hours of initial contact), assessing the level of risk appropriately, leaving victims feeling safer than they had been before contacting Sussex Police, increasing criminal justice opportunities and signposting victims to relevant safe guarding organisations for further support. The LRT can cater for 10,000 appointments per year consisting of a 2 hour appointment per individual, which can be extended if required. The preference for these meetings are a face to face appointment at the police station but during the Covid-19 period this method of appointment had to be adapted to video technologies, due to the predicted increase of domestic abuse reporting over the lockdown period and to ensure everyone could stay safe and abide by regulations.
Advisor feedback: Advisors thanked SR for their input and agreed that this was a very useful new initiative on the part of Sussex police to improve domestic abuse victim experience, they felt this was especially true with regards to the LRT’s comprehensive approach to risk assessment and the level of training officers in the team had received to understand and respond to the complexities of such cases. This was deemed especially true in the way risk was continually being assessed by investigators; that great efforts were made by officers to get to the heart of what was really going on in a victim’s life in order to uncover hidden /underlying risk that would previously have been un-recorded.
Some advisors provided personal insight relating to their own experiences around stalking and harassment (S&H) and described mixed results in the way Sussex Police had responded to these incidents and wondered how Sussex Police could learn from mistakes made and how to ensure best practice was followed at all times. SR responded that Sussex Police understood that there were times when we hadn’t got it right but were dedicated to learning lessons.
RC stated that, Sussex Police were currently conducting a robust appraisal process of the way Sussex Police responds to reports of stalking and harassment which was being led by a C.Supt to provide oversight. RC described a number of steps being taken to improve the experience of S&H victims including the use of stalking prevention orders and enhanced powers to prevent and prosecute those accused of S&H.
Advisors were keen to hear more about the statistical breakdown of DA cases across Sussex and how many referrals the LRT were receiving via partner agencies to help Sussex police develop insight. SR responded that this data was not available at present although they were in daily contact with partner agencies such as Rise & Portal. SR also stated that as part of the engagement plan the LRT was keen to develop its understanding across all demographics.
Advisors asked about specific training that officers have received to help them conduct this type of investigation. SR described the enhanced training programme that all LRT investigators had undertaken, which included ‘Domestic Abuse Matters’, ‘Domestic Abuse Still Matters’, ‘Stalking and Harassment’ training and safeguarding advice which was delivered by external companies.
Action - DT to contact DP re Brighton with CI Rachel Swinney details.
Action – SR invites KD to join stalking scrutiny panel
- Safeguarding Children during Summer Holidays
JH provided an overview of how child safeguarding is structured in Sussex through the use of multi-agency safeguarding hubs (MASH), who jointly work together to protect child safety and safeguarding through referrals from the Single Combined assessment of Risk form (SCARF). JH described the ‘See Something, Say something’ campaign which focuses on vulnerable children and encourages people to report any concerns they may have towards a child’s safety to the MASH.
JH provided an overview of safeguarding arrangements for children during the summer holidays, describing a partnership consisting of local authorities, the police and health providers to coordinate safeguarding, statutory responsibilities and local initiatives with inclusion of an Independent scrutineer to helps ensure the partnership delivers on its priorities.
JH described the role of the (MASH) which are situated throughout Sussex, to jointly assess & coordinate the best support response for referrals which are made, via SCARF forms. When police officers attended incidents involving children or vulnerable adults a SCARF is completed. JH noted that each partner would have specific responsibilities according to their primary role and unless the referral case had a criminal aspect, the police do not have primacy over decision making.
JH described the way schools were an important source of SCARF referrals and safeguarding and how there was an intelligence gap around identifying vulnerable children during the summer holidays. JH stated the importance of mitigating this intelligence gap to ensure that vulnerable children do not get lost in the system.
JH offered contacted details for the group if anyone wished to get in touch after the meeting.
- Force Update
JC thanked the group for attending the meeting introduced herself as Temporary Deputy Chief Constable. JC provided an overview of what new Chief Constable Jo Shiner’s 3 key priorities are for Sussex Police going forwards which were:
- Protect our communities, catch criminals and deliver outstanding services to witnesses, victims and the public
- JC described how during the lockdown period, there had been a 25% decrease in recorded crime and at present, crime rates were 14% lower than this time last year.
- New guidance on face mask wearing inside shops presented new challenges around enforcement. JS stated that the police would be likely to attend incidents where there were concerns about public order or breaches of the peace.
- JC updated that there had been several recent protests across Sussex, primarily around Black Lives Matters involving over 10,000 people. These events had been largely peaceful and acknowledged the role played by members of Sussex Police’s Race Advisory Group Liaising with the Gold Commander to ensure the police were adopted the right tone and approach to policing the events while maintaining public safety.
- Recent promotion processes , Supt and Ch.Supt has been recently completed, which resulted in a diverse mix of successful candidates, very important for Sussex Police to continue to encourage and work towards eliminating disproportionality at all levels
- Diversity Update: Age Equality Charter / Covid-19 Fixed Penalty Notices
DT provided an overview of the Age Equality Charter and described the Older Persons Older Group which was exploring current policies and breaking down barriers in regards to age progression/recruitment and retention.
DT described how the Stop and Search Scrutiny Panel have been looking into the data for the Fixed Penalty Notices issued over the lockdown period and this data would be released the following week by the NPCC for the public to view. The data looked at was broken down by gender, age and ethnicity and the disproportion of tickets issued and then discussed.
Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Tuesday 14 April 2020 at 0900-1000- Telephone Conference Call
- Welcome & Introductions
IC welcomed everyone to the meeting and led round table introductions.
- Sussex Police Update:
JS provided an overview of how Sussex Police had been responding to the demands of COVID 19 public health crisis while continuing to provide routine police services. JS stated the force was focussing on maintaining a balanced policing style and were mindful of the difficult circumstances many people were living with. Sussex Police would seek to encourage, educate, explain and engage with the public before enforcing government legislation, which was not always clear and precise. JS stated that the vast majority of interactions so far had been positive, more than 100 tickets were issued over the Easter Weekend, all of whom were for people who had travelled from outside of Sussex. JS also stated that the force were working hard to mitigate risk of frontline colleague’s exposure to the COVID 19 virus (and their families) by issuing appropriate PPE amidst changing guidelines.
Advisors General Q & A
JM asked how Sussex Police were protecting their Officers in the field from the virus and when going about their duties. JS stated that Sussex Police continued to provide all the police services and respond to incidents in the same way that it had done prior to COVID19 but noted that officers were issued with PPE and maintained social distancing where possible.
JS replied there had been some high profile incidents of people spitting at police officers but JS noted the courts had been very proactive in their support for officers assaulted in this way.
KD asked how Sussex Police were enforcing the lockdown of people’s movements on roads coming into Sussex which must be more difficult to do compared to the railways. JS responded that it is a complex area to police, there were no specific COVID related powers in place for Sussex Police to enforce roadblocks – and we wouldn’t neccesarily want to use those powers anyway. JS believed that adopting a pragmatic approach and policing by consent was the most appropriate way responding to current legislation.
GG asked about domestic violence and whether Sussex Police had noticed a discernible uptake in the number of incidents reported. JS responded that there had been a reduction in the number of crimes recorded, but an increase in the number of incidents reported, in particularly more incidents of arguing. This was partly because of a more adaptive response put in place by local resolution teams attending and logging incidents. not all incidents result In a crime) .JS was mindful of the possibility for a large spike in Domestic violence reports post lockdown and planning was in place to respond accordingly.
Action: Agenda Item future SIAG JS Assessing Threat Harm Risk by local Resolution: Grade 3 DA assessment
DP- provided some personal feedback about the way police had been engaging with people on Brighton Promenade – on the whole this had been good natured and friendly. He welcomed this non confrontational approach and the positive engagment provided welcome social contact, especially for elderly people and those who were feeling isolated. DP requested JS remind all officers to adopt this approach when interacting with members of the public. JS responded that all of our briefings emphasised how important consensual policing was and acknowledged that we don’t always get it right, but would ensure this message is further reinforced at future officer briefings. She stressed that she was very proud of how officers had adapted so quickly to the circumstances.
AB Requested JS respond to a couple of reported incidents where parents of children with autism had been stopped and turned back by police officers when travelling in their car. Their children’s requirements meant they had to access a more remote location for exercise .JS stated that everyone’s circumstances where different and officers should adopt a pragmatic and common sense approach- JS requested that AB forward details of the incident for further scrutiny.
AB raised concerns about motorists taking advantage of the quiet roads by speeding. JS acknowledged this was an issue especially with motorcyclists and there were additional road policing units deployed to counter.
KD As key workers, what contingencies does Sussex Police have in place to support mental health of staff coping with the crisis? JS responded that we have taken a very proactive response to the wellbeing of our staff and a number of measures have been put in place to support. JS was mindful that mental health effects vary in individuals and PTSD like symptoms can take months or even years to manifest. As an organisation JS stated we need to ensure long term mental health support is in place.
FJ asked how the morale of colleagues in Sussex Police was faring under the circumstances. JS stated that anecdotally and from her own engagements with colleagues, morale at all levels remained high. This is what we train for. Sussex Police had high levels of preparedness training and contingency planning in place for all eventualities.
PHJ asked whether Sussex Police had seen new crime types or variations of crime occurring since the start of COVID19 that criminals were taking advantage of. JS noted that incidents of online fraud and other online criminal activity had increased. JS was concerned about children making unsavoury online connections through gaming and social media that they otherwise would not have done – especially so as there was no school ‘safety net’ in place.
IS- thanked Sussex Police for their communication and reassurance towards the residents of Arun & Chichester regards the arrest of a man wanted on serious charges. JS thanked IS and stated it is important we take every opportunity to increase public confidence.
IC thanked JS for her time and restated a number of the advisors sentiments throughout of the excellent work Sussex Police were doing to provide reassurance and public safety in extraordinary circumstances. JS responded that the positive feedback was well received and would be passed back to officers and staff.
IC suggested the possibility of inviting police engagement teams into conference call settings with other agencies EG. ‘Amaze’ and invite advisors to contact the Diversity Team for possible link ups.
Possibility of future meetings taking place on Zoom or Skype was discussed. There are some logistical /technical/security issues still to be resolved.
Next Meeting: Friday 24 July 2020, 1400-1530 via conference call
Strategic Independent Advisory Group
Tuesday 28 January, Lewes Police HQ 15:00-1800
Amberley Conference Room, Sussex Police Headquarters, Lewes
- Closed Session
- 2. Welcome, introductions and previous minutes update
IC welcomed everyone to the meeting and led round table introductions.
- Operation Uplift: CV gave an overview of funding for an uplift of Police Officers. A 3 year Government plan (year 1 confirmed) providing opportunities to invest and improve service delivery. Year 1 of Uplift equates to 129 PC posts, this however doesn’t include broader costs, such as police staff ‘enabler’ requirements or supervisory support. A mixed investment using Op Uplift and potential precept funding will enable Sussex Police to develop resources in support of the 2020 Transformation Strategy. CV added it was an exciting and reassuring period of growth for Sussex Police, which will benefit both staff and the public. There is a challenge in that the public may be unclear as to what this increase means for local policing, and national narrative talks about officers on the street, although demand and risk is also in other key areas which are often ‘unseen’. CV asked advisors how Sussex Police can ensure the public understand hidden demand and the wider complexities of policing, to recognise investment is in the right areas.
Advisors thank CV for the presentation. JR suggested social media could be used as an effective way to publicise and explain to the public. Another suggestion was for police on patrol to wear hi-visibility vests to increase visibility in the community. KD suggested transferring relevant information into a poster or on future precept/local government reports, to reaches the majority of the public. DP recommended a slogan to leave an imprint in people’s minds. PJ suggested producing a series of short pieces of information spread over an extended period of time to inform people. UO indicated that having a physical interaction between the police and the Community may be the most memorable method, and liaising with leaders in the community would be beneficial for developing trust and confidence.
- Ethical Dilemmas and Complaints
DT provide attendees with a current ethical dilemma for advisors consideration. The dilemma focused on the tensions when there are disagreements between the Police’s assessment of how to keep someone safe, and that of medical professionals. Police officers and staff routinely are engaged with ‘medical’ demand (including mental health) – from attending incidents where a member of the public is injured or requires other medical support. SECAmb have recently produced draft guidance for Surrey and Sussex Police when they are in contact with a person that has an apparent acute medical problem or injury. They have developed a flowchart to direct officers with rapid decision making in the event of an incident requiring medical assistance – before they will deploy an ambulance, they will conduct a telephone triage assessment with officers. The tension may occur if the officer’s assessment at the scene contrasts with the medical advice provided over the phone. DT gave a scenario of Police attending an incident at 2am in the morning, an individual has a medical condition (injury). SECAMB have been called, the telephone triage assessment determines ambulance not required and patient to be advised to get themselves to get to A&E. Officers are concerned about the individuals' welfare. What should they do? In addition, if police leave the scene and the person deteriorates or something bad happens to them- are the police responsible?
Advisors thank DT for the presentation. JR suggested with visible injuries it should be easy to identify the genuine needs. Advisors asked where does liability formally sit should the individual deteriorate, or something happens to them once the Police have left. There was a recognition that Police were also under pressure of high demands and this was more about managing risk – if in doubt they should follow their intuition. Advisors indicated this would be challenging to take direction via the phone if the view at the scene suggested the person needed hospital treatment, and that many of them would not want to have to make a judgement. Another suggestion was for volunteer medical professionals to patrol with Police, this may improve decision making and reduce risk.
- Hate Crime
EDLR gave a presentation of Hate Crime reported in Sussex, including a timeline of significant national events that appeared to impact increases in hate over the last few years; including the EU referendum and the murder of Jo Cox murder. The presentation also indicated that seasonal trends could be seen within reported data; every year a large volume of hate crime occurs in June and July, possible reasons for this included hot weather and alcohol consumption, and major sporting events. EDLR explained that there had been an increase across all hate strands, the largest percentage increase being religious and anti-trans, and the largest actual volume was for Race hate. EDLR added that districts with the largest increase in hate crime volume were Brighton Central (68%), Crawley (56%), and Hastings (59%). Brighton Central had a larger than usual amount of Sexual Orientation motivated crime in July and August, Crawley and Hastings both had increasing volumes of Race hate crimes. ER outlined crime reporting process and the victim support provided, and asked for advisors views about what Sussex Police could do to encourage more reporting and to maintain public confidence and support for prosecutions. Sussex Police
Advisors thank EDLR for the presentation and shared views on why some victims don’t report hate crime; that some may not wish to relive their experience, or attend court – and that it’s a lengthy process from experiencing hate, to seeing a prosecution. UO said there were feelings within communities that the increase in reporting hasn’t led to an increase in charges, and that people need to see action or understated why none was taken, otherwise public trust will decline if people feel that the Police are not taking effective steps to tackle perpetrators. JR added that this had been discussed at the Trans ERG, attended by CPS, and members actively encouraged and supported victims to report Hate crime. EDLR confirmed that for a hate crime to be progressed to court there needs to be sufficient evidence indicating the suspect committed the crime. For instances such as verbal assault where the suspect has then fled, it would be difficult to identify them and prosecute. Advisors suggested producing a simplified guide explaining the reporting process – this would ensure people knew the steps involved as a victim and importantly the types of evidence Police and CPS require to progress a charging decision. DP added that the hate crime experienced within the LGBT community was underestimated, as there is historically a lack of trust between the community and the police. DP suggested to engage more regularly between police and local communities to improve or create trust.
6. Force Update
AR updated on the current challenge to recruit 250 officers, indicating this could mean up to over 400 officers in total over the next four years. Recognising the risks of a workforce force with a large number of inexperienced colleagues will put pressure on officers to support and train new recruits, and also the opportunity this brings to improve the diversity of the workforce. AR also explained there would be an increase in the number of detectives, with the next campaign due to open very soon. AR provided an overview of findings from the most recent Employee Opinion Survey; one of the key issues raised was around colleagues’ sleep patterns. There was work being developed to understand the issue more clearly and explore support mechanisms to address the issues.
IAG Event-November was attended by over 65 advisors. DCC Shiner has decided this should become a more frequent event, with the next scheduled for summer 2020.
Next Meeting 14 April 2020 at 16:00- 18:00 (Members only – 15:00)
Equality Champions, senior police officers and police staff, ensure the Force is well positioned to identify national good practice together with policy and legislative developments at the earliest possible stage.
The Equality Champions make a positive contribution through organisational and community reference groups, where views can be aired on how service delivery and employment policy impacts in practice. The feedback from the numerous groups now follows a clearly defined road map which, as intended from the outset, enables our key decision makers to respond to issues drawn to their attention by the Equality Champions.
Our Equality Champions cover the portfolios of Children and Young People, Older People, Disability and Mental Health, Faith and Belief, Sex and Gender, Gypsies and Travellers, Gender Identity and Expression, Pregnancy (and Maternity, Paternity), Race (and Ethnicity) and Sexual Orientation.
Identity Based Mentoring
We have recently introduced a new Identity Based Mentoring scheme which will enable Sussex Police officers and staff to request a mentor based on a shared identity.
- Gender reassignment
- Pregnancy and Maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual Orientation
The scheme is open to anyone in the Force and will be running alongside the existing Mentoring Scheme. Its aim will be to support staff with career progression and personal growth. In addition it will enable them to receive guidance and encouragement from a mentor who shares one or more of the characteristics.
Workforce Diversity data
This report provides a written description of the headline data in Sussex Police’s Diversity Dashboard, which illustrates demographics across the workforce as of December 2020.
Workforce ‘diversity data’ or ‘equality monitoring data’ refers to the information employees provide to their employer regarding aspects of their identity; typically this includes categories such as Age, Disability, Gender, Ethnicity, Faith, and Sexual Orientation.
Sussex Police recognises that a balanced and diverse workforce produces better results and believes in giving everybody the opportunity to maximise their potential. It is really important for Sussex Police to understand the demographics of our workforce, so that we can understand how representative we are of the communities we serve, and how we can support the diverse needs of colleagues. Having a police force that reflects the community it serves also helps to ensure greater integration and engagement, resulting in enhanced trust and confidence.
An individual’s diversity data is typically captured at the application stage for when people join the organisation. This information is stored on a secure system, which colleagues are encouraged to update routinely, recognising that individual circumstances can change, as well as preferences on sharing personal information.
In addition to publishing annual workforce data, capturing diversity information can facilitate effective priority setting by monitoring protected characteristics, for example in recruitment, retention, progression, pay, grievances and overall workforce representation.
Participation and disclosure rates
Diversity data is captured for Disability, Ethnicity, Faith and Belief, Sex, Gender identity and Sexual Orientation. Colleagues are invited to share their personal information for all questions, this includes an option for preferring not to say. Prefer not to say is recognised as a valid response code; indicating an individual has participated in the process of reviewing or updating their diversity data however, chosen not to disclose. Not disclosed, indicates where a colleague has not selected a valid response code for a specific question, or has not engaged in the process to update their information.
Sussex Police’s recruitment process requests applicants to complete diversity data, during the application stage. For colleagues already in the organisation, Sussex Police Chief Officers routinely publish invites and requests to share diversity data, promoting the objectives and importance of doing so.
The Diversity Force overview PDF document provides a detailed breakdown by role and distribution across departments and teams. What follows is a summary of the headline demographic data.
Headline data by demographics
As of December 2020, Sussex Police comprised 2902 Police Officers and 2701 Police Staff, totalling 5603 people.
Ethnicity: 3% or 90 Police Officers identified as either Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background. 2629 identified as White. 94 selected Prefer not to say and 89 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 2% or 57 identified as either Black, Asian or from a minority ethnic background. 2400 identified as White. 61 selected Prefer not to say and 183 did not disclose.
Sex and Gender: 35% or 1012 Police Officers identified as Female and 1890 identified as Male. For Police Staff, 60% or 1630 identified as Female and 1071 identified as Male. For gender identity, 18 Police Officers and Staff identified as Trans, 2 as Non Binary, 43 as ‘Other’ and 200 Prefer not to say. 1388 did not disclose their gender identity.
Religion: For Police Officers, 12 identified as Buddhist, 803 as Christian, 7 as Hindu, 5 as Jewish, 12 as Muslim, 47 as ‘Other’ and 1023 as none. 197 answered Prefer not to say and 796 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 8 identified as Buddhist, 883 as Christian, 6 as Hindu, 4 as Jewish, 11 as Muslim, 2 as Sikh, 86 as ‘Other’ and 1106 as not having a religion. 131 answered Prefer not to say and 464 did not disclose.
Age: For Police Officers. 154 identified as 16-24, 727 as 25-34, 1138 as 35-44, 814 as 45-54 and 69 as 55-64. For Police Staff 197 identified as 16-24, 658 as 25-34, 536 as 35-44, 707 as 45-54, 540 as 55-64 and 63 as 65 years and over.
Disability: 6% or 177 Police Officers identified as having a Disability, 108 Prefer not to say and 886 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 7% or 186 identified as having a Disability, 47 Prefer not to say and 476 did not disclose.
Sexual Orientation: For Police Officers, 61 identified as Bisexual, 142 as Gay or Lesbian, 1748 as Heterosexual, 7 as ‘Other’, 176 Prefer not to say and 768 did not disclose. For Police Staff, 35 identified as Bisexual, 115 as Gay or Lesbian, 1975 as Heterosexual, 3 as ‘Other’, 100 Prefer not to say and 473 did not disclose.
Contact the Diversity Team
Email: [email protected]
Alternatively you can contact Dermot Torney, Diversity Team Manager:
Email: [email protected]
You can also write to us at:
The Diversity Team
Sussex Police Headquarters
Citizen Focus and Diversity Branch
Corporate Development Department