Cheshire Constabulary has been named as the top police force in the country for equality amongst lesbian, gay, bi and transgender staff.
The Stonewall Top 100 Employers highlights the best performing employers on Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index (WEI) 2018.
The national index, which was published on Wednesday, 31 January, is an annual audit of workplace culture for lesbian, gay, bi and transgender staff.
Cheshire Constabulary was ranked 26th out of 434 employers in the public and private sector – the highest rank of any police force in the country.
Feedback from Stonewall praised the Constabulary for its strong stance on anti-bullying and harassment of LGBT staff and excellent community engagement work through collaboration and support of local LGBT community groups and events.
Senior staff at the force were also praised for engaging with and actively supporting LGBT inclusion. The Constabulary scored particularly highly in the LGBT Employee Network Group section of this year’s WEI, and as such was also given the award of Highly Commended Network Group 2018.
Back in 2016 Cheshire was ranked 135th by Stonewall, before rising up to 16th in the rankings last year.
Acting Chief Constable Janette McCormick said: “To be ranked as the top police force in the country in Stonewall’s WEI 2018 is testament to all the fantastic work that has been done at the Constabulary during the past 12-months.
“Despite dropping a few places from 2017 we are delighted to have maintained a high ranking and the feedback demonstrates that we are a place of work where lesbian, gay, bi and transgender staff are included, supported and able to flourish.
“We will continue to work with our staff, community groups and partners within Cheshire to continually strive to be one of the best performing organisations in the country.”
Nicola Bailey, head of Human Resources at Cheshire Constabulary, said: “This year’s results emphasise how committed Cheshire Constabulary are to supporting LGBT staff and community members, and all the hard work that has been undertaken across the force.
“The Positive Action team have again played a pivotal role, embedding a number of initiatives that we look forward to developing further over the next year. This work has been embraced by our highly supportive senior leadership team and dynamic staff network.
“The staff survey that Stonewall provide as part of the WEI assessment will be invaluable to us to identify the areas of work we can improve upon, so we can continue to be the highest performing police service in the index.”
One of the highlights for the force during the past year was the increased participation of officers and staff at Chester Pride, including numerous senior officers.
It was also the first time the Diversity Allies joined in the parade, showcasing the force’s commitment to supporting LGBT staff and community members
There have also been two award wins for the Constabulary in recent months. Senior LGBT Champion David Bryan was named as the Corporate Straight Ally of the Year at the British LGBT Awards 2017, and Positive Action HR advisor Kat Stock won Stonewall’s North West Role Model of the Year award 2017.
These wins link in to the work the force has been doing both internally and collaboratively with Cheshire Fire and Rescue and Chester West and Chester Council to highlight positive LGBT role models and promote equality.
LGBT Champion David Bryan said: “To achieve such a good ranking is not easy, requiring commitment and effort all year round by many colleagues across the Constabulary.
“We should be very proud of being the top performing police force for LGBT staff. Special thanks to those who worked very long days to gather the evidence and complete the application.”
Darren Towers, Executive Director at Stonewall, added: “Cheshire Constabulary and all those who have made this year’s Top 100 Employers list have done a fantastic job.
“Taking part in our Index shows real commitment to understanding and advancing LGBT equality.”