Federation aims to recruit more LGBT+ reps

The Police Federation of England and Wales (PFEW) is encouraging more LGBT+ officers to stand for election as Federation representatives.

Feb 18, 2020
By Tony Thompson

A new Police Federation LGBT+ group, the brainchild of PFEW National Board member Ian Saunders, has been launched to ensure LGBT+ voices are better heard and understood within the organisation.

At an inaugural two-day seminar at PFEW headquarters last week, Ian Ashton, of Lancashire Constabulary, and Martin Whitehouse, of Devon and Cornwall Police, were elected chair and secretary respectively of the Police Federation LGBT+ group.

PFEW national vice-chair Ché Donald said: “This is definitely the way forward, and a really exciting time for the Federation. We are reshaping the organisation to be truly representative of our members no matter what they look like, what their sex is, or their sexual orientation.”

He praised Federation representatives who have joined the group already as “altruistic”, having signed up to “look after the public, their police colleagues and now as activists for the cause of recruiting and retaining LGBT+ reps”.

Mr Donald added: “They are also raising the platform for LGBT+ issues within the Federation. We will ensure they are given all the necessary help and support to make it a success. I’m certainly looking forward to what they bring in making us better fit for purpose.”

The seminar discussed how to develop the Federation representative role and received learning on the Equality Act. It also heard from Ayla Holdom, who gave a talk on her experiences as a transsexual officer serving in the National Police Air Services.

Mr Ashton said: “It’s not good if an LGBT+ officer needs support but their Federation board doesn’t have the knowledge of what they are going through. It can be a great advantage to have someone there who ‘gets it’ and understands their perspective.”

Mr Whitehouse pointed to the officer uplift as a challenge to be met.

“When we talk about recruiting Fed Reps,” he said. “If they don’t see themselves represented in the Federation, why will they be part of it? Our role will be to make sure the next generation sees a Federation that gets their values and represents them.”

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