Analysis of a survey of more than 34,000 police officers and staff found a need to address concerns about career progression and derogatory comments around disability and other protected characteristics, as well as evidence of inclusive teams and endorsement of efforts to tackle bias.
The National Inclusion Survey was conducted in November 2019, providing the first national employee-led assessment of workplace culture in policing in England and Wales. The survey, covering 43 police forces, was analysed by the Policing Research Unit at Durham University.
The survey indicated that when individuals feel able to be their ‘true’ selves without suffering adverse consequences, and when they feel that they are genuinely involved in decision-making in their work teams, they have higher job satisfaction, professional commitment, and improved wellbeing.
Key findings indicating the need for further work included:
- 41% of disabled people experienced derogatory comments in the workplace about their identity
- 38% of police officers who identified as having a disability felt that this had a negative effect on their career opportunities
- 29% police officers and 25% of police staff said they have been regularly treated in a condescending manner, interrupted, put down or not listened to at work. Respondents from minority groups reported this behaviour at higher rate than the average.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Lead for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, Chief Constable Carl Foulkes welcomed participation in the survey, and committed to supporting under-represented groups in career development. On the findings of widespread incivility, he commented: “Our aim is zero-tolerance for derogatory and demeaning behaviour that staff told us causes them distress, anxiety or humiliation.”