Black History Month: Stevenage police teams celebrate own BAME officers and launch new initiative
- Credit: Archant
Police teams in Stevenage have been celebrating Black History Month (BHM) this week by recognising the contributions of their own black, Asian and minority ethnic officers and police staff, and launching a new initiative to greater improve knowledge and understanding of the communities they serve.
Chief inspector Simon Tabert explained: “My Safer Neighbourhood teams work hard to build relationships with all of our diverse communities, but we can always do more. I am forming a new steering group with key members of the local black and ethnic minority communities, to aid our understanding and improve our knowledge, so we can better serve their needs.”
To mark BHM and kick-start this new initiative, Clinton Moulton, who runs Ritty’s Place – a Jamaican Café in the Old Town – and has worked extensively with troubled teenagers, met with officers last week to chat about his life and experiences.
Clinton’s parents came to England from Jamaica in the 1950s and were part of the Windrush generation. He opened the café in 2019 and named it after his mother, who died this year.
Simon said: “All too often our interactions with communities are only when they need our help, so it was great to be able to meet Clinton in a relaxed and unpressurised environment.
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“My Safer Neighbourhood officers will be setting up similar meetings and we will be inviting people to join the steering group, which will meet to advise and inform us going forward.”
He added: “Continuing the theme of sharing, we are very fortunate in Stevenage to have officers and staff from many different cultural backgrounds, whose knowledge and understanding of our diverse communities is invaluable in the work we do. What we are less familiar with are their own journeys into policing, so as part of our BHM celebrations they have been sharing their stories.”
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PC Chloe Scott joined Herts police after completing a degree in criminology. She explained: “Whilst studying the many theories and ideologies about the police, and being very aware of the history of policing, I found myself wanting to become part of that environment and to satisfy myself that things have changed for the better.
“Significant events had moulded my perceptions of the police and being present when black friends had been detained and searched by officers, either because they ‘happen to match the description’ or because it was ‘just a routine stop’, didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to engage with people and be a part of building and maintaining the rapport between the police and the black and minority ethnic community.
“I want to be a positive role model to other young women like myself who have great aspirations within the police force.”
Inspector Manjit Khela wanted to see more Asian women in policing and, starting as a PC in 2003 aged 21, has worked her way up to the rank of inspector.
In 2017 Manjit led the force’s Positive Action Recruitment Campaign for police constables. The mum-of-three said: “This was a challenging role, but one that saw me making a difference by reaching out to our BAME communities and showing them what a career in the police could be like for them.
“By offering bespoke mentoring, advice and support we saw a wealth of talented individuals secure their dream to be a police officer within the constabulary. This support is still available for anyone wishing to join us.”
Manjit currently leads two 999 response teams at Stevenage and North Herts. She is also on the committee for Hertfordshire Police Black and Asian Police Association. She said: “I’m very passionate that the association is a place of support for anyone who needs it. If you have any anxieties or concerns about BAME/equality issues, we are the support network for you and I’d encourage you to be confident in speaking with us.”
Detective constable Rondell Quinlan, born in Trinidad and Tobago, currently works in Stevenage’s local crime unit and also joined the police to make a difference. He said: “I wanted to help make Herts a force that better reflects its multicultural and diverse communities, which I am proud to be a part of.
“I think Black History Month is a great opportunity for people of colour to showcase their diverse range of skills and experiences they bring. No culture lives in isolation and to me BHM is a fantastic opportunity for collective unity and to bring people of all cultures together at a time we are seeing increases in divisions on the global stage.”