2019 International Day of Persons with Disabilities

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

Leading with difference

Simon Nelson is the DPA’s Vice-Chair for Officers, and Head of Criminal Justice & Custody with Sussex Police. In this inspirational presentation delivered to the Police Superintendents’ Association 2019 Annual Conference, Simon talks about the challenges of embedding an awareness of disability within the police service, and the importance of valuing disabled colleagues.

Simon has previously written about his experiences as a survivor of cancer, which as a serious illness is classed as a disability under the Equality Act – read his blog here.

PRESS RELEASE: Disabled Police Association hosts ‘world-wide first’ annual conference

The Disabled Police Association (DPA) held its inaugural annual conference on 5th June 2019, an international first in policing.

Formed in July 2012, the Association welcomed members of the police family from across the country who live with or care for loved ones with disabilities.

The event, with the theme ‘Enable rather than Disable’, was held at The Fielder Centre in Hatfield and sponsored by Police Mutual and Police Care UK.

It was also supported by the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC), Hertfordshire Constabulary Chief Constable Charlie Hall, and Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.

DPA president Dr Robert Gurney said: “The aim of the event was to bring together those who work within policing and live with disabilities to provide support and advice, share good practice in relation to supporting officers and staff with disabilities, and explore some of the barriers that they face at work”.

DPA President Dr Robert Gurney

The DPA is a national body that represents disability support networks within police forces across the UK. Its main aim is to promote equality of opportunity for people with disabilities or carers who work or volunteer within the wider policing family.

The event’s guest speakers were Permanent Secretary at the Home Office Sir Philip Rutnam, who spoke about his role as the Civil Service Disability Champion, and CEO of Police Care UK Gill Scott-Moore, who spoke to guests about the work of the charity in supporting ill and injured people.

Permanent Secretary at the Home Office and Civil Service Disability Champion Sir Phillip Rutman

There were also contributions from the NPCC Lead for Disability, Deputy Chief Constable Janette McCormick QPM; Hertfordshire Constabulary Assistant Chief Constable Nathan Briant; DPA Vice-President Simon Nelson from Sussex Police; and Vice-President of the Police Superintendents’ Association Ian Wylie.

Dr Gurney said: “The conference provided some really positive learning outcomes and showed the valuable contribution that those with disabilities make to policing across the nation. We are delighted that so many people with disabilities were able to attend and could highlight their concerns and the challenges that they face. The conference has provided an incredibly valuable insight into disability in today’s police service”. ∎

A short film on disability in policing, commissioned by the DPA and shown at the conference

Police Care UK is a charity that provides practical, emotional and financial support, and confidential and impartial advice for serving and former police officers, staff and volunteers who suffer harm as a result of their policing role

Police Mutual offers financial services to serving or retired police officers, staff and their families

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