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Hertfordshire Constabulary celebrates Black History Month

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The first black Metropolitan Police officer was a guest speaker at Hertfordshire Constabulary's Black History Month (BHM) celebration.

The theme of this year's event organised by the Herts Black and Asian Police Association was Proud to Be.

Norwell Roberts, who holds the Queen's Police Medal and retired from the force after 30 years' service in 1997, shared his experiences with more than 70 officers and staff at headquarters in Welwyn Garden City on Tuesday (October 12).

Norwell Roberts (52223932)
Norwell Roberts (52223932)

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.

A headcount as of September 30 this year shows that Herts Constabulary has 128 Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers – 5.6% – compared to 7.6% nationally. In 2019 there were 99 officers or 4.8%.

The force has 805 female officers (35.2%) compared to a national average of 32.3%. In 2019, there were 703 (33.9%). Herts has 2,288 officers in total up from 2,071 in 2019.

Herts Chief Constable Charlie Hall. (52224057)
Herts Chief Constable Charlie Hall. (52224057)

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: "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."

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