Equality, diversity and human rights is a critical area for the police service as we aim to secure the trust and confidence of all communities and build a service which reflects the communities we serve.
The Police Service has a strategy for equality, diversity and human rights. This strategy sets out themes which provide the framework for improving performance and delivering specific equality results at every level of the police service.
Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act 2010 sets out the characteristics that are protected by law and behaviour that is unlawful. The nine protected characteristics covered under the Act are:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Religion and belief
- Sexual orientation.
A further explanation of these characteristics can be found in the document protected characteristics.
Public Sector Equality Duty
The new Public Sector Equality Duty established through Act came into force on the 5th April 2011.
This duty consists of a general duty, with three main aims (set out in Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010); and specific duties which are set out in secondary legislation (and Section 153 of the Act) which came into force on the 10th of September 2011.
In summary, the general duty means the Police must, in the exercise of all our functions, have due regard to:
- Eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and other conduct prohibited by the Act
- Advance equality of opportunity between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not
- Foster good relations between people who share a protected characteristic and those who do not.
The specific duties mean that all relevant public bodies must:
- Publish information to demonstrate compliance with Section 149 starting not later than 31 January 2012
- Publish such information subsequently at intervals not greater than one year from date of last publication
- Prepare and publish one or more Equality Objectives – not later than 6 April 2012
- Revise the objectives at intervals of not greater than four years from the date of last publication
- Set equality objectives that are specific and measurable.