THE chief constable of Hampshire Constabulary has been named as a champion for supporting the lesbian, gay and bisexual community.
Alex Marshall has today been named as the UK’s Individual Champion of the Year for lesbian, gay and bisexual people (LGB).
He has been given the honour in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, which showcases the country’s top gay-friendly employers.
Mr Marshall was recognised for his commitment to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) staff and communities.
The organisation said that in particular, Mr Marshall has demonstrated ongoing support for the force’s LGB&T Resource Group and Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers.
He has ensured the constabulary is represented by a senior officer at Brighton and Hove Pride each year and is the force’s Fairness and Equality Champion and has been previously recognised as a ‘Straight Ally’ by Stonewall.
Mr Marshall said: ‘When I started 33 years ago there was a small but significantly vocal minority of people in policing, who were dismissive or even derogatory about members of the public or colleagues who were lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
‘I don’t believe we gave the service people deserved or did as much to understand individual needs as should have done.
‘I have no doubt that coming out as lesbian, gay or bisexual in the workplace was extremely difficult and problematic and brought with it risks in terms of personal reputation and career progression.
‘I remember a very courageous colleague when I started who was the only openly gay officer I knew. I’ve always felt I owe it to her and the people we serve who are picked on because of their sexual orientation to improve our service and bring policing to where it needs to be for everyone.’
This is eighth year the county’s police force submitted an entry to the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.
Mr Marshall added: ‘I believe we have a workplace in Hampshire Constabulary where people are employed on merit, where neither sexual orientation nor any other personal characteristic is a bar to promotion and where lesbian, gay and bisexual people are represented at all levels including senior management.
‘I’m proud of the work we do with our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The force has around 100 Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers and recently has done some great work with football clubs to eradicate homophobia both on and off the pitch.’