Brighton and Hove’s former police commander Nev Kemp has been recognised for his work as an “LGBT equality champion”.
Chief Superintendent Kemp has been named as Stonewall’s Senior Champion of the Year in its 2017 Workplace Equality Index.
He said that he was overwhelmed and added: “This award means a huge amount to me and I know from having spoken to colleagues it means a huge amount to Sussex Police too.”
The force again featured in the annual list of the Top 100 LGBT-friendly employers and the Sussex Police LGBT Network was highly commended in the network group category.
Chief Superintendent Kemp said: “I became the senior champion for Sussex Police because I believe strongly that people perform at their best if they can be themselves.
“In policing we value courage and it is courage that many lesbian, gay, bi and trans people have had to show just to be themselves.
“Making a stand as champion brought me into conflict on a personal level with a person close to me, as well as members of the public, and so I am sadly aware of the prejudice and discrimination that LGBT people have experienced.
“My own experience only made me more resolute. I have been proud to be an LGBT champion, to be part of an organisation that values difference and I am overwhelmed to have received this award.”
Stonewall said: “A proud ally, Nev became the LGBT equality champion for Sussex Police in 2013, where his first achievement was to lead the Proud Allies initiative within the organisation.
“Nev has driven real change across the force, his passion being felt by both staff and the wider Brighton and Hove community alike.
“Nev has been on a journey to learn more about the history of discrimination against LGBT individuals and communities.
“He has built his knowledge by creating a strong relationship with the Sussex Police LGBT Network, who have guided his understanding of the issues for LGBT employees in the culture of policing.
“Nev’s passion and tenacity were demonstrated when he responded to a criticism over a Sussex Police rainbow police car for Brighton Pride 2015 by covering the largest vehicle he could find (a van) in rainbows for Pride 2016.
“This showed his support for the LGBT community in the boldest way possible and earned him overwhelmingly positive national media coverage.
“He introduced LGBT liaison officers across Sussex, offering both additional support to members of the public and also awareness training for officers and staff.
“He’s built a strong relationship with local LGBT communities, networks and individuals through chairing the Sussex Police External Reference Group and speaking at LGBT events such as the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Pre-Pride Conference and the Brighton and Hove City Council Trans Inclusion Conference.
“Nev has been central in implementing gender-neutral facilities in the main police stations across Sussex and challenging the organisation to remove gender-specific ID lettering systems on staff ID, so from 2017 employee personal numbers no longer reference gender.
“He was also crucial in the change to uniform policy so that flat cap headwear is now gender neutral.”
Jane Carter, who chairs the Sussex Police LGBT Network, said: “The inclusion of Sussex Police in the Stonewall Top 100, as well as the network being recognised as a highly commended network group, is a significant achievement for the organisation.
“Both the inclusion and our placement in the index speak volumes about the efforts and initiatives that have taken place to promote and cement inclusion in the workforce.
“The Sussex Police LGBT Network is proud to continue to support this work and assist in any way possible to further encourage and reinforce the values promoted by Sussex Police.”
More than 430 employers entered the 2017 Stonewall Workplace Equality Index, the highest number of applicants since it started the index in 2005.
As part of the index there is a feedback questionnaire that participating employers can ask their staff to complete.
This year Stonewall received more than 90,000 responses to the staff survey making it one of the largest national employment surveys in Britain, with 16,186 LGBT respondents.
Sussex Police were 79th in this year’s list compared with 22nd last year. It is the sixth time in eight years that the force has made it into the Stonewall Top 100.
Brighton and Hove City Council – once a regular on the Stonewall list – does not appear to have entered for a second year running. Last year it signed up with the Local Government Equality Index.