Suffolk Police has once again been ranked in Britain’s top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual staff.
The Workplace Equality Index, developed together by Stonewall, the gay equality charity, has this year ranked Suffolk Constabulary in 55th place in its index of the Top 100 Employers.
Although this is a fall of six places on the 2012 placing it is still a rise of 107 places since its first submission to the index in 2008.
Suffolk Police is also the fourth highest Constabulary in the country in the Workplace Equality Index.
Now in its ninth year, the Workplace Equality Index was developed by Stonewall to challenge Britain’s leading employers to create an inclusive working environment for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.
Suffolk Police joined Stonewall in 2007 and has been in the top 100 for the past five years.
The index is free to enter and is the definitive national benchmark for employers to measure their own performance in relation to other agencies in addressing the needs of lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in the wider community and to track workplace culture for gay, lesbian and bisexual employees.
Organisations complete a benchmarking survey. Submissions are assessed against 25 questions across eight criteria; ranging from the implementation of effective equality policies and practical demonstration of other good practice, including: training, monitoring and procurement, to how they engage with lesbian and gay staff, customers and service users.
Colleen Humphrey, Stonewall director of workplace said: “Congratulations to Suffolk Constabulary for securing a position on this year’s highly competitive Top 100 list and for being recognised as a Star Performer Network Group.
“These results are significant as it’s just ten years since we won vital legal protections for lesbian, gay and bisexual people in the workplace.
“Britain’s 1.7 million gay staff and 150,000 gay university students can now confidently use the Index to select a welcoming employer, or look further, safe in the knowledge that they are protected from discrimination.”
Chief Constable Simon Ash said: “I am delighted with the Constabulary listing in the top 100 in Stonewall’s Equality Index.
“The principles of diversity, inclusion and equality must sit at the heart of any truly modern and forward thinking organisation.
“Remaining in the top 100 and being in 55th place is a fantastic achievement and a reflection of our commitment to being a supportive employer that values its lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.
“We aim to create an inclusive working environment for all our officers and staff, and to provide an inclusive service for all people of Suffolk, regardless of their sexual orientation.
“Suffolk Constabulary is committed to ensuring that its performance in all strands of workplace diversity continues to improve.
“Our diversity champions work to put action plans in place to improve our performance as an employer, and to ensure our officers and staff respect and value the wealth of diversity in our communities.”
David Williams, chairman of Ipswich based charity the Suffolk LGB&T Network, supports the work of Suffolk Constabulary, saying: “We are really pleased to see that one of Suffolk’s biggest employers has been placed in the Stonewall Top 100.
“Not only does it show their commitment to their lesbian, gay and bisexual staff, but it also reflects how they work with people.
“We now get involved in training all new Police Officers and Police Community Support Officers so they understand the issues affecting our communities and can provide services to us more appropriately.
“Suffolk Police will be flying the rainbow flag again this year in February as part of LGB&T History Month.
“Let’s hope other employers in Suffolk take their lead and show how proud they are of all of their employees and customers.
“It would be great to see Suffolk turn rainbow coloured next month.”
More information on the work of Stonewall can be found on their website: www.stonewall.org.uk
For all the latest news see tomorrow’s (Thursday, February 21) Echo.