October represents Black History Month in the UK. This year’s theme is ‘Proud To Be’ and invites individuals to share their personal and unique experiences, focusing on how people are making history in their own way as well as celebrating the contributions and achievements of Black people throughout history.
There have been a number of key events in UK history that have highlighted and protested racism within the police, such as the Brixton Riots (1981), the murder of Stephen Lawrence (1993) and subsequent McPhearson Report (1999), and the Black Lives Matter movement – which saw a huge resurgence last year following the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in the United States.
This year also saw the death of the first Black female police officer in the United Kingdom, Sislin Fay Allen, who joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1968 and passed away at her home in Jamaica in July, aged 83.
Although policing has made significant strides towards improving Black representation within police forces since 1968, we also recognise that there is still a long way to go.
Over the past month we have spoken to a number of Police Now officers and members of Police Now HQ staff, to ask them what representation and diversity in the police service means to them and their experiences of joining the police.