Sussex Police has a strong commitment to promoting equality and diversity and being an inclusive employer, with an aim of employing a workforce that represents and reflects the diverse communities it serves.
To enable the delivery of effective frontline policing, Sussex Police seeks to recruit, develop and retain from the widest pool of talent. For these reasons the force actively encourages individuals from under-represented groups to consider applying.
What is Positive Action?
Positive Action is the name given to measures under the Equality Act 2010 that promote equality of opportunity. Structures in our society means that not everybody starts from the same position. There may be barriers which prevent people from achieving their potential. The Equality Act empowers us to remove these barriers when they are in connection to a protected characteristic, so that we can work together towards achieving true equality. Positive action is about levelling the playing field.
Section 158 of the Act allows positive action to support a protected group by minimising or overcoming a disadvantage, meeting a different need or encouraging participation in an activity where it is disproportionately low. To be lawful, the action has to be proportional.
Where section 158 applies to general uses of positive action, section 159 of the Act is limited to recruitment or promotion. Section 159 positive action allows an employer to favour someone who shares a protected characteristic over someone who does not, providing both people are as qualified as one another.
The focus of positive action is to create equality of opportunity. It should not be seen as undermining the principle of meritocracy and does not, if used lawfully, compromise fairness or objectivity in a recruitment or promotion exercise. It does however, ask us to honestly evaluate what and who defines meritocracy and prompts a review of our processes to identify obstacles which limit those with a protected characteristic.
Positive Action at Sussex Police includes:
- Reviewing our policies and practices to establish whether there might be discriminatory criteria which inhibit progression
- Placing job adverts featuring visual role models to encourage applicants
- Including statements in job adverts to encourage applications
- Encouraging mentoring to support development or progress at work
- Offering shadowing or mentoring to groups with particular needs
- Encouraging attendance to information sessions on careers in policing
Where is Sussex Police applying Positive Action?
Our workforce data indicated that compared to the communities of Sussex, we are under-representative of:
- Women (police officer roles only)
- Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people
- Disabled people
- Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual people
- Trans and Non Binary people
- People from Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Sikh faith communities
Positive Action Myths
There are often misconceptions around Positive Action and it can sometimes be viewed negatively by those who do not fully understand its purpose. It is essential to recognise that every candidate who is successful during a recruitment process has achieved this on their own merit in the selection process.
For example Positive Action does not involve:
- Ring-fencing a role to a particular characteristic without legitimate reason.
- Recruiting the candidate because they share a protected characteristic over a more highly scoring candidate who does not.
- Limiting applications to female applicants only when the role could be performed by either a male or a female.
Experience of Positive Action
“Positive action have been really empowering, inspirational and supported me through my journey! The support has continued, the team are always warm and welcoming. It’s always a pleasure to see them”. - Parmjit
Sussex Police Staff Networks
Sussex Police also has active staff network support groups covering Gender (Evolve), Sexual orientation and Trans non binary (LGBT Network), Ethnicity (Race Equality Network), Faith(Christian Police Association and Interfaith Forum) and Disability and Carers (Enable).
The aim of Enable is to promote an organisational culture that enables people with or affected by disabilities to participate fully, free from discrimination, in all aspects of Sussex Police business.
We are open to all officers and staff. Disability, impairment or caring responsibilities can affect people from all walks of life.
Participation can range from taking a full part in Enable business to receiving information on a distribution list. We will respect whatever you feel comfortable with.
Enable is a voluntary peer support group. We do not give employment or legal advice and should not be considered as an alternative to Trade Union or Police Federation representation. Members of Enable do have knowledge of disability issues and support services available and would be very willing to help in this respect.
What is Evolve?
Evolve aims to improve the workplace for women in the organisation to reduce the stress and impact that certain life events can have on a person's career. We are also acutely aware that these events do not solely impact women. For this reason we invite all our male colleagues to become members and to attend all events, from those that may directly affect you such as shared-parental leave, to those that maybe indirectly affect you like sexual harassment in the workplace to those that effect the people in your life and your colleagues such as the menopause.
Evolve has multiple work streams to support members in every aspect of work including:
- Personal success and confidence
- Work/Life balance
- Job related fitness
- He For She
- Sexual harassment in the workplace
Evolve is also interested in developing a number of Men's issues which we believe are important to truly have a balanced and equal work place, including:
- Mental Health and Wellbeing
- Shared parental leave
If true gender equality is to be achieved, not just within Sussex Police but also for the communities that we serve, for all women who live, work and visit Sussex, then it is important that we all work together to ensure that we have a diverse work force which prioritises service delivery. Sussex police was the first police force to officially affiliate with He For She, and is keen to spread the messages of equality for all ,we would encourage you all to sign up to show support for this movement .
Evolve can offer an additional point of contact for independent advice as and when this is needed to all members, and provides the opportunity to network with like-minded serving officers and staff on an informal basis. Becoming a member also provides access to bi-monthly newsletters and priority access to events.
The diversity groups in Sussex Police are linked, and if Evolve is unable to assist with something directly, such as if a member has a disability, you will be connected with the people who can.
Who are we? Essentially we are a staff association which represents the needs and interests of Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual and Trans employees and volunteers within the organisation, offering support, advice and guidance to both its members and the wider organisation.
We recognise that whilst a number of our staff who identify as LGBT+ can be themselves within the workplace, able to express themselves and feel comfortable to be open about their sexuality and/or gender, there are still colleagues in the workplace who are not able to be themselves, and also those who experience derogative language as a part of their everyday environment. For us the Network has an important role in promoting diversity in all its forms, and to support our wider workforce to professionalising language and culture. We are committed to enhancing the work of the network, not only working with the organisation as a critical friend, but where appropriate to challenge and ensure the viewpoint of the membership is heard.
Membership is open to all staff within Sussex Police and it is not exclusive to those who identify as LGBT+. The network is made up of staff and volunteers across Sussex and the membership currently stands at just over 150. We have a small but dedicated team on the executive committee who have stepped up in addition to their day job to promote the network and are committed to enhancing the work we do.
If you have any questions relating to the LGBT network please look at the executive committee part of the site and make contact with one of us, we would be delighted to hear from you!
Who can join REN?
REN is open to all staff, officers and volunteers who have an interest in equality in the workplace for all people who identify with a particular race, colour and nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origin. Our goal is to achieve something positive by progressing equality in Sussex Police and your thoughts and contributions will play the most significant role in this process.
Why join REN?
At Race Equality Network we believe it is our moral, legal and business responsibility to make Sussex Police a fairer place with ethnically diverse people. Diversity can help to build trust and confidence in the police: the more a police force reflects the composition of the local population, the higher the force's reputation among residents, which can provide a foundation to build further trust.
REN holds meetings 4 times per year, once every 3 months.
The benefits of joining REN
The personal involvement will very much depend on how passionate you are about race equality issues at your work place and in general. It may vary from being a member to being a Secretary, an Executive Committee Member or joining us via various other roles that we have available. We would very much encourage your membership and involvement.
- REN will support, monitor and provide feedback on the organisation activities to advance recruitment, retention and progression for Black and Minority Ethnic officers and staff. If there are posts/job advertised at Sussex Police that require BME staff or officers, you will hear about them first through REN. We are run members recruitment sessions providing advice about job interviews. We are also involved in the prestigious PALS programme which aims to equip BME participants with skills necessary for a career progression.
- REN will work jointly with Sussex and Surrey Diversity Department to maintain and develop working relationships with other staff associations such as Evolve, LGBT and trade unions
- REN will assist in empowering employees to challenge, understand and improve issues associated with race and ethnicity
- It will provide an opportunity to build new networks and meet other colleagues with similar interests from across the organisation. Our meetings are sometimes attended by Racial Equality Group RAG. We issue members of the month articles in which we tell you a little bit about each one of us.
Our mission statement
The Race Equality Network is an opportunity for police officers and police staff to be a part of their own (unique) network.
We aim, to actively seek cultural change, be honoured to be different and to inspire others to be proud of their differences.
The REN aims to ensure a better representation of ethnic minority staff members across the force and in all ranks.
Be part of the REN, invest in yourself with a network that can offer you mentoring, here to support your aspirations with a view to promotion and specialisation within the service. Join the REN and be a part of a network that invests in difference.
Race Liaison Officers
Apart from the positive action recruitment and retention, REN is also involved in Race Liaison Officers (RLO) sessions at Sussex Police. RLOs receive specialist inputs to raise their knowledge and understanding, and create awareness in Race issues. RLOs act as a point of contact for BME communities, building relations to increase trust, confidence and encourage reporting of crime.