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A more inclusive Met: Pride on the policing frontline

A more inclusive Met: Pride on the policing frontline

Thursday 13th June 2024

“To me, Pride is a celebration of our strength and our bravery, it’s a symbol of unity. It’s also about reminding people that we won’t back down, no matter how much is thrown at us.”

Police Constable Casey Pownall talks to us during Pride month about his experience as an LGBT+ officer on the frontline, how he is working to build a more inclusive Metropolitan Police Service, and the support he is providing to local LGBT+ communities in Lambeth and Southwark.  

Casey joined the Met in 2023 via Police Now’s two-year neighbourhood policing programme, the National Graduate Leadership Programme. Police Now works with forces across England and Wales to recruit, train and support thousands of officers from diverse backgrounds, and equip them with the skills and knowledge to thrive as frontline officers and inclusive policing leaders.  

Police Constable Casey Pownall

“I joined the Metropolitan Police Service last year via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme – wanting a career that would provide job satisfaction, opportunities to develop, and the chance to try and make a difference in society. I am now based out of Brixton, working as a Dedicated Ward Officer for Streatham Hill West & Thornton.  

“Alongside my frontline policing duties, I am a volunteer LGBT+ advisor on my Basic Command Unit (Central South, which covers Lambeth and Southwark). This means I am on hand to speak to LGBT+ members of the community who may have been a victim to crimes such as hate crime, domestic abuse, sexual abuse or malicious communications. This can often help LGBT+ people feel more supported or understood and helps bridge the gaps between LGBT+ communities and their local policing teams. I am also able to work on LGBT+ projects to promote change internally within the organisation and to strengthen the relationship between the police and the LGBT+ communities. I am a member of the Met’s LGBT+ staff network, one of many networks designed to support a workforce made up of officers from all walks of life.

“As a neighbourhood officer it’s my job to reduce crime and build stronger relationships between the public and the police, so to be able to tie my LGBT+ advisor role into this and use my personal experiences to connect with the public is something I am proud to do. I aim to build their trust and confidence, and tackle underreporting amongst the community. My next two projects will focus on drag queens and LGBT+ youth, and I will also be working at London Pride this year in one of the engagement teams. Policing has come a very long way in the last 20 years and is more inclusive than ever, but as with the rest of society, there is still work to be done. Building trust and making change takes time but myself and many colleagues are passionate about identifying ways we can support one another and create a more inclusive police service, and working with the communities we serve to create a safer London for all. 

“I have had opportunities to share my experiences with colleagues and I have been invited to speak about my work at various times – including at a national Police Now event this week, to share knowledge with and inspire other Police Now officers on the programme nationally. I am also working with the founder of ‘Positive Plus’ – a small staff association which supports HIV positive officers – to design a session for colleagues at our upcoming Safer Neighbourhoods Team training days. HIV can affect anyone regardless of sexual orientation or gender and in a first world country, there’s little to no risk. HIV positive people who have access to medication can become undetectable which means they cannot transmit the virus and they can live a healthy, normal life, just like a person who’s HIV negative. The aim of the training sessions is to provide educational materials, challenge any stigmas, and ensure my colleagues feel confident in their knowledge when interacting with HIV positive members of the public.  

“As a gay man, I have experienced discrimination whilst growing up and at various times in my adult life. It’s not always been easy, but I am proud to be myself and to use my experiences to support others. I recently had a conversation with the superintendent for neighbourhoods in Lambeth, Superintendent Cameron, who encouraged me to be my authentic self. He said ‘thank you for the work that you’ve done in such a short amount of time and with Police Now…and thank you for being you, we need people like you.’ As a result of this, I feel like I can be myself at work and I feel supported by my senior leadership team. To me, Pride is a celebration of our strength and our bravery, it’s a symbol of unity. It’s also about reminding people that we won’t back down, no matter how much is thrown at us.” 

Casey Pownall faces the camera, wearing sunglasses on a sunny day, the backdrop is a field of rows of colourful flowers in red and yellow
Police Constable Casey Pownall

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