Hampshire police spend £860,000 on equality training project after 'toxic' police unit guilty of misconduct
POLICE are spending £860,000 on discrimination training for up to 6,000 current and future staff and officers.
It comes after Hampshire Constabulary covertly bugged one of its own departments uncovering a ‘catalogue of sexist, racist, homophobic and ableist language’.
Chief constable Olivia Pinkney said this month she ‘deeply wish (it) hadn’t happened’ but would ‘never shy away’ from tackling the problem.
Police and crime commissioner Michael Lane approved the spending on the programme in December two days before a misconduct panel found officers involved in a ‘toxic’ culture guilty.
The ‘ambitious’ in-house programme set to be rolled out in March would have cost £1.5m if it was outsourced, a report said.
A ‘cultural audit’ is set to be carried out first before the project is run, and it will be supported and evaluated by researchers from Durham and Reading universities.
Mrs Pinkney said the project was ‘comprehensive’ and would be rolled out to all staff.
She said: ‘We have not sat on our laurels, there are lots of things that we have got in place to ensure that we learn from this, that we reach for even higher standards and that we do everything we can.
‘We’ve got a very comprehensive training programme.’
She added: ‘It’s the first accredited equalities and inclusion training in the country for policing and we’re very excited about that.’
Discussing the Basingstoke police station investigation, Mrs Pinkney said: ‘It is something I deeply wish hadn’t happened but it having happened we dealt with it robustly, and I will never shy away from anything that needs to be tackled on my watch.’
She added: ‘We dealt with it seriously, we dealt with it swiftly, we dealt with it thoroughly.
‘The real message to communities is: we don’t accept this behaviour around here, and when it is raised we take action, we deal with it.
‘But also we go looking - we don’t just sit and hope. We have lots and lots of mechanisms, data we’re looking at, all those kinds of things to check that the way we are behaving is what the public should and can expect from us.’
The cash will fund a £38,763 a year neurodiversity adviser role as between five and 10 per cent of staff have a neurological condition needing extra support or equipment.
This includes dyslexia, Asperger’s syndrome and autism.
Every department has an equality and inclusion plan that is ‘scrutinised very regularly’ Mrs Pinkney said.
New starters are told of the standards they should have in their public and private lives, she added.
As previously reported, a ‘no-holds barred’ look was carried out by a senior officer.