Since 1992, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been annually observed on 3rd December around the world. The theme for 2019 is ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’. The theme focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’.
The challenge for the UK Police Service is to increase disability inclusion and disability networks are key to achieving that goal.
What Can You Do?
The Disabled Police Association is encouraging all local networks to mark this celebration to raise awareness of disability. We are once again supporting Purple’s Space #PurpleLightUp initiative that encourages organisations to illuminate their buildings in purple light, use a purple background on websites or even just flying a purple flag. This day is a fabulous way of drawing attention to disability history month, and just as importantly highlighting the value that disabled people bring to policing.
Whatever you do – shout about it, showcase it and advertise what you are doing. In particular promote the role of disabled people in policing by showcasing individuals and highlighting leadership initiatives that your force has initiated to support disabled people.
Disabled people are disproportionately found in lower grades within policing but there are also some examples of disabled colleagues whose careers have thrived. We need to do all we can to nurture and bring on talented employees, with mentoring and coaching initiatives. If you are already doing this, share the value of this with others nationally.
Leaders at all levels in policing must recognise their role is key to achieving disability inclusion. This means setting acceptable standards and behaviours; having powerful champions across organisations (not just at the top); listening and acting on feedback from people with disabilities and celebrating the value of strong employee networks; and, most importantly, creating a culture that includes and develops people with difference.
Police Forces and their Disability Support Networks across the UK are again looking forward to shining a purple light on disabled people in Policing and their leadership on the 3rd December. A variety of awareness raising activities are planned with a focus on joining our private sector partners in celebrating the value of staff networks for disabled people.
Dr Robert Gurney
President | Disabled Police Association