Black History Month: Met Police's first ever black officer was guest speaker at Hertfordshire Police's 'Proud to Be' event
The 'Proud to Be' event took place on Tuesday, October 12
The first black police officer to work for the Metropolitan Police Service was just one of the guest speakers at Hertfordshire Police’s Black History Month Celebration Event this year.
The theme of this year’s event, which took place at police headquarters in Welwyn Garden City on Tuesday 12 October, was ‘Proud to Be’.
Norwell Roberts QPM, who retired from the Met after 30 years’ service in 1997, shared his experiences with more than 70 officers and staff at the special event, which was organised by the Herts Black and Asian Police Association.
Other guest speakers included Dr Bishop Wayne Malcolm and Dr Mark Prince OBE, who spoke passionately about how Hertfordshire Police was working hard to be more representative and build good relationships with the black community.
Music was provided by Marvin and his steel pan, classical violinist Cai Jones and vocalist Patricia Burrowes.
Attendees were also given an insight into an ongoing constabulary project focusing on Black women in policing and a video presentation by students at West Herts College about the importance of BHM.
Event organiser PC Sandra Smith said: “Last year we focused heavily on world events, so this year it was a chance to return the celebration element.
“The national theme for 2021 was ‘Proud to Be’ and I wanted to reflect this in our main event, which was attended by officers and staff of colour from across the force, as well as being available to download for those who could not attend in person.
"I am hugely grateful to all of our speakers and performers who gave up their time to come and share their experiences and knowledge with us this year.”
Chief Constable Charlie Hall said: “This annual force event is one of my personal favourites, as we look to not only celebrate our own officers of colour, but our rich and diverse communities too.
“We are extremely fortunate to have a very talented and culturally diverse workforce in Hertfordshire and it was an honour to be able to celebrate with them.
“I would also like to thank all those who took part, our guest speakers were inspiring and their presentations both moving and motivating.
“World events in 2020 gave us much to think about and reflect on, and here in Hertfordshire we have been working hard to grow and support diversity in our workforce.
"Whilst we celebrate BHM in October, we know our work must continue all year round to increase representation and give confidence to all our communities.
“Much has been done to increase the numbers of Black, Asian and minority ethnic officers and staff within the force.
"We recognise that the recruitment process can be challenging for applicants from some cultural backgrounds and we now offer additional support throughout the process, as well as ongoing support throughout their careers to help them progress through the ranks.
“I am delighted to report that as of 30 September 2021 we have 128 Black, Asian and minority ethnic officers serving in the constabulary compared to 99 two years ago.
“As well as celebrating, Black History Month is a chance for me to re-enforce our determination to tackle racism and the hate crime that is often associated with prejudice.
“Across October, my teams of officers and staff will be involved with various engagement and educational events, and celebrations. We are focusing on four key themes again this year -
education, community engagement, recruitment and progression.
“My thanks to all the communities who support and advise us every day of the year on a vast array of cultural and religious issues. You help us see the world in a different way and better understand the needs of local residents.”
If you feel inspired to become a Hertfordshire police officer, visit hertspoliceofficer.co.uk to find out how to apply. Through the force's ‘Positive Action’ scheme, Hertfordshire Constabulary is committed to building relationships with under-represented groups and encouraging them to join our policing family.