Force focusing on education this Black History Month
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Black history training is now being delivered to officers, staff and new starters alike at Nottinghamshire Police.
The force has targeted education as its key theme for Black History Month, which runs throughout October and will focus on the immense contribution made by Black people to the community.
Mandatory training was recently introduced for all officers and staff around the stories of the Windrush generation and other important elements of Black history that still shape people’s lives today.
These sessions have now also been added to the induction courses for all new starters at Nottinghamshire Police, which is believed to be one of the only forces in the country offering this education to officers and staff.
The topic of Black History Month and Black history in general is a deeply personal one for the man delivering the sessions – careers advisor Nigel Best – who was born in Barbados before coming to the UK aged eight in 1966.
“Black History Month is more about education than just being a celebration for me. I know it’s been around since 1988 in the UK but for me it means a lot more than that,” said Nigel.
“When I was growing up, Black history just wasn’t spoken about enough, so now I think and I feel that it’s something we should be doing even more.
“For me, education is the key thing during Black History Month because at the end of the day, a lot of schools celebrate it from infants through to secondary, and we are as well at Nottinghamshire Police.”
Careers advisor Nigel Best
He added: “I run Black history input training for our officers and police staff and these sessions are mandatory for people to attend and have now been added to the induction programme for new starters too, which I think is amazing.
“During the sessions, we touch a little bit on the Transatlantic slave trade and we look at the impact of the Windrush generation, which is important for me because I came to the UK at that time.
“I know for a fact we’re one of only a few police forces in the country actually delivering Black history training to officers and staff. I’m really proud of that and I’m hoping in the future it can be rolled out to other police forces.
“I think that generation had so many problems or interactions with the police that might have been negative and have passed these things on, so we’re at the stage now where we want to educate everybody about those times and hopefully get a bit more empathy towards Black people.”
Nottinghamshire Police reaffirmed its commitment to being an anti-racist service last year by joining other forces in agreeing the Police Race Action Plan, which looks at the different ways policing can be improved for Black communities.
Throughout Black History Month, the force will also be shining a light on the impact Black people have made and continue to make to policing by sharing colleagues’ lived experiences and why they chose to get into policing.
As part of the celebrations, the force and its partners will be holding its annual Black History Month community event at the Brendon Lawrence Sports Centre, in Hungerhill Road, St Ann’s, on Saturday 7 October.
Running from 2pm-5pm, a series of activities are planned for the fun-filled free event, including a live DJ, a series of performances, entertainment and activities – not to mention a selection of free Caribbean food and a raffle.
Chief Constable Kate Meynell, of Nottinghamshire Police, said: “Black History Month provides us all with an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the immense contribution Black people have made and continue to make, both here in Nottinghamshire and across the rest of the country.
“It also allows us to properly reflect on the history and lived experiences of the diverse communities that we serve, in order to try to better understand some of the challenges they face and to explore how we can work with them to introduce positive change.
“Education is crucial in helping do this, which is why we’ve introduced mandatory Black history training for all our officers and police staff, with these important sessions also being added to the induction process for everyone joining the force.
“We are fully committed to developing an inclusive and representative workforce, so were proud to last year join other police forces from around the country in signing up to the Police Race Action Plan, which sets out a pledge to improve policing, both internally and externally, for Black communities.
“While some steps have been taken to build trust in the police within the community and break down barriers, we fully appreciate that more work still needs to be done through further education and positive engagement, which is precisely why Black History Month is so important.”