The Disabled Police Association (DPA) has held the first ever Annual Conference in the UK - organised by a Hertfordshire officer.
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 yesterday, with the theme ‘Enable not 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 Chief Constable Charlie Hall and Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.
DPA president Dr Rob Gurney, who is also an officer with Hertfordshire Constabulary working within Organisational Learning, said: “The aim of the event was to bring together those who work within policing and live with disabilities to provide support and advice as well as share good practice in relation to supporting officers and staff with disabilities.”
Commissioner Mr Lloyd wth Dr Rob 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 disabled people who work for police forces.
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 The Police Dependents’ Trust Gill Scott-Moore, who spoke to guests about the work of the charity in supporting ill or injured people.
There were also contributions from NPCC lead for Disability Janette McCormick QPM, Hertfordshire Assistant Chief Constable Nathan Briant, Vice-President of the DPA Simon Nelson from Sussex and Vice-President of the Police Superintendents Association Ian Wylie.
Rob said: “Today’s event provided some really positive learning outcomes and showed the valuable contribution that those with disabilities make to policing up and down the country.
“We are thrilled 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.”
Hertfordshire Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “I was delighted to be able to support today’s event. I have made it clear to all of my officers and staff that it is essential that we, as individuals and a police force, work hard to ensure that everyone feels properly valued by the organisation and as a result are able to give their best. We all have individual needs to be able to achieve this and it is essential that our officers, staff and communities understand that we will recognise and respect different needs to avoid prejudice and ensure our service is the best it can be.”
Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd said: “I am pleased to be here today to recognise and support every member of the policing family with a disability. Hertfordshire Constabulary is proudly a force that promotes equality of opportunity for all employees and provides support for any that need it.
“It is great to see Rob Gurney, a Hertfordshire police officer, leading the way for this national association and promoting the message that a career in the police is open to everyone in our community.”