Wednesday, 18 April 2012


At The Centre, Alfred Place, this evening for a public meeting organised by The Race Equality Centre (TREC): "Setting Religion or Belief Equality Objectives for Leicestershire Constabulary". The meeting is led by Darren Goddard, one of Leicestershire Constabulary's Diversity Officers (on the right in the photo above).

Is Leicestershire Constabulary able to deliver equality for people of different religions or beliefs? Are all the people of Leicestershire:
  • Equally safe from violence?
  • Equally safe from burglary?
  • Equally stopped by the police?
  • Equally recruited by the police?
  • Equally treated by the police?

The Equality Act 2010 places a duty on Leicestershire Constabulary to plan to be able to:
  • eliminate unlawful discrimination between people from different religions or beliefs,
  • advance equality of opportunity for all religions or beliefs,
  • and foster good relations between people from different religions or beliefs

The plans that the Police publish should be based on consultation with those communities that could be unfairly treated. This public meeting has been organised to provide an opportunity to meet police representatives and propose equality priorities that the police should implement to meet their Equality Duty. The meeting is open to representatives and practitioners from all communities or organisations of religion or belief and to everyone with an interest in addressing inequality on the grounds of religion or belief.

At the start of the meeting, we're shown a YouTube clip, Leicestershire Police: Taking a Look Back at 2011 (which I saw previously at the Chief and Chair meeting on Thursday 12 January 2012). Darren builds on themes in this presentation, concentrating on relations between Leicestershire Constabulary and faith communities, places of worship, community centres - as well as considering how individuals who identify with particular communities of religion or belief are treated if they're detained in police custody.

We discuss the possible impacts of new arrangements for an elected Police and Crime Commissioner, coming later this year. There's genuine concern and anxiety (verging on alarm) at this development among many in the room. Some of those here are learning of this for the first time and express anxiety about how much candidates for the post might know about their communities. It sounds like a good idea for faith communities to organise a hustings!

There's also concern that Leicestershire Constabulary's Equality Objectives for Religion or Belief should be determined by such a small group as is gathered here this evening. There are a dozen attendees, among us Bahá'ís, Christians, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and a couple with no particular religious identity (broadly speaking). Well, that illustrates the importance of engagement and participation! At least one other meeting of a similar nature is to take place in Loughborough and recommendations can be made electronically for a while yet. But the invitation to participate has been extended, even if it's been at fairly short notice. You can lead a horse to water ...

 We're each given a booklet showing Leicestershire Constabulary's employment statistics 2008-2011, which breaks down figures in terms of Protected Characteristics, including Religion or Belief. Here's that part of the booklet:
Within the Constabulary's HR system there are 37 different religions and faiths that staff have self identified. For the purpose of this publication we have collapsed the different denominations in the 20 main headings.
There is an active association of Muslim Police, Christian Police Association and Sikh Police Association within the organisation which receives organisational funding and support. The faith based support networks are involved in a number of key organisational meetings and provide support to all staff on a range of faith based issues. In addition the networks actively make links with different faith groups in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.
There is also a multi-faith and contemplation room which is supported by the Leicester Council of Faiths within the Headquarters complex. The room which is open to all officers, staff and visitors has washing facilities and separate storage facilities for each faith to store religious texts and other items.
The figures show that for those police officers who have chosen to record their religion or belief 92% have identified as following a Christian based faith, followed by 1.7% identifying as Atheist or Sikh and 1.6% as Hindu or Muslim.
For those police staff who have recorded their religion or belief 85% identified as following a Christian based faith, whilst 5.6% are Hindu, 2.3% Sikh and 2.1% Muslim.
76% of those Special Constables who chose to record the religion or belief identified as following a Christian based faith, 14% Hindu, 3.5% Muslim and 2.1% Sikh.
Police officers
  • Agnostic 16
  • Atheist 28
  • Buddhist 2
  • Christian 1,479
  • Hindu 25
  • Jehovah's Witness 0
  • Judaism 1
  • Muslim 25
  • Sikh 28
  • Other 1
  • Non-recorded 642
Police staff
  • Agnostic 16
  • Atheist 14
  • Buddhist 0
  • Christian 760
  • Hindu 50
  • Jehovah's Witness 3
  • Judaism 1
  • Muslim 19
  • Sikh 20
  • Other 4
  • Non-recorded 613
Special Constables
  • Agnostic 2
  • Atheist 2
  • Buddhist 0
  • Christian 108
  • Hindu 20
  • Jehovah's Witness 0
  • Judaism 0
  • Muslim 5
  • Sikh 3
  • Other 1
  • Non-recorded 103

1 comment:

  1. This blog post was picked up and published by the Cultural Architect News, Saturday 28 April edition: