The Police Service of Northern Ireland hosted for the first time, this year’s annual UK and Ireland LGBT+ Policing Conference.
The conference took place on, Friday, 29th July, in the Europa Hotel, Belfast.
The event, which was centred on the theme of ‘Empowering Partnerships’, sought to inspire, generate reflection and promote best practice in policing.
Guest speakers included Gamal Turawa ‘G’, Cherron Inko-Tariah MBE, Dr Sophie Cook, Dr Paul Taylor-Pitt and DS Tracy O’Hara, with a welcome address from the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Christina Black.
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Simon Byrne said:
We are extremely proud to host this year’s LGBT+ Conference and to showcase the city of Belfast as a welcoming, safe and inclusive city.
This is an important opportunity for policing colleagues and partners from across the UK and Ireland to share ideas and perspectives and to generate learning on a range of topics such as diversity in policing, community engagement and community cohesion.
It also underscores our ongoing commitment to visible, accessible and responsive policing in Northern Ireland.
The collaborative effort of all those who have worked hard to make this conference possible aptly reflects the Conference theme of ‘Empowering Partnerships’. I would like to particularly acknowledge the work of our own LGBT+ Network for their efforts in Pride week and throughout the year.
Co-Chairs of the National LGBT+ Police Network, Constable Amy Tapping and Chief Inspector Lee Broadstock said they were also both “delighted” to welcome everyone to the 2022 National Conference.
The Co-Chairs of the Police Service of Northern Ireland LGBT+ Network, Sergeant Beth Wickham-Thomas and Constable Paul Bloomer said:
We are really proud of the conference we have developed in partnership with our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion team, supported by senior leadership. We have worked hard to produce a conference programme which we hope will empower new partnerships and strengthen existing ones. We’ve purposefully and carefully chosen speakers who have powerful messages for policing.
On the opening night of the Conference Chief Constable Simon Byrne presented Constable Paul Bloomer with a Chief Constable’s recognition certificate for his dedication to the Police Service of Northern Ireland LGBT+ Network, for promoting gender equality and good community relations.
The Julie Barnes Frank award is a prestigious award the National LGBT+ Police Network have been presenting to LGBT+ officers who have embodied positive values since 2015. Julie Barnes-Frank was a trailblazing LGBT+ Police officer in Greater Manchester Police who laid the foundations of our Network and inspired other LGBT+ people to take up careers in Policing and inspired those in Policing to be their true selves at work. During the conference the Julie Barnes Frank Award for excellence in LGBT+ Policing was presented to this year’s winner Sergeant Rhian Carter of South Wales Police for her contributions to LGBT+ visibility in Policing & her hard work advancing trans inclusion in UK Policing.
Delegates from the conference then participated in the Belfast Pride Parade. This years Belfast Pride was larger then ever with the biggest Police contingent ever to participate. Constable Amy Tapping, Co-Chair of the National Network said,
I’m so delighted to be in Belfast this year for pride. The city was incredibly welcoming and the positive response from the public on the parade route was genuinely moving and inspiring. I’d like to thank Beth, Paul and the rest of the conference planning team for delivering a fantastic, informative and worthwhile conference for us.
Next year’s National conference will be hosted by Derbyshire Police.