Minority Ethnic Police Association

Dorset MEPA is first and foremost a support Network consisting of minority ethnic  Police Officers and Police Staff, Special Constables and Volunteers of all ranks and grades from across the force. We also have a number of associate members who have an interest and commitment to furthering the aims of the Dorset MEPA. MEPA supports the Force's commitment to having a workforce representative of the community we serve.

Dorset Minority Ethnic Police Association (MEPA) has been in formation since July 2007.

 

We work in conjunction with

  • Dorset Police Diversity Development Manager
  • Dorset Police Diversity Officer
  • Dorset Police Human Resources Manager
  • Race Equality Council.

 

MEPA has a seat on

  • Employee Relations and Diversity Board.
  • Strategic Management Board and the Positive Action Group.

MEPA is also building relationships with the Black Police Associations of other Forces in the south west region.

The term "minority ethnic" or "black" is one that emphasises the common experience and determination of people of African, African-Caribbean, Middle-Eastern, Asian or Asian sub-continent origin to oppose the effects of racism.

 

Dorset MEPA objectives are

  • To ensure a visible presence and a voice for ethic minority people in the work place
  • To deliver a people focused work environment ensuring that people are motivated, supported, respected and valued
  • To provide information, education and practical assistance to Dorset Police staff in delivering services to the ethnic minority community
  • To maintain links with the National Black Police Association ensuring  that good practice is applied within Dorset Police
  • To ensure the force stays focused on issues affecting ethnic minority staff
  • To boost confidence within the ethnic minority community that Dorset Police is an open, inspiring, trusting and fair organisation and one that actively encourages people from the community to be part of one team one vision
  • To review and audit Dorset Police business processes to ensure that opportunities to reflect the issues affecting ethnic minority groups are included
  • To boost public confidence within our communities by listening, understanding, informing, protecting and keeping our communities safe 
  • Support the aims and objectives of the National Black Police Association

MEPA Executive Committee

Lorna GallimoreLorna Gallimore - Uniformed Sergeant

I have lived in Hampshire and worked in Dorset since coming to the south from the West Midlands in 2001.

Moving south was not something that I had planned or foreseen for my future and to be honest, my only reason for moving was to be with my partner.  Id never even considered living any where other than Birmingham.  Why would I?  Birmingham is busy and vibrant, but above all is cosmopolitan, multi-cultural and diverse.

Moving south was scary for me – for all its natural beauty and open spaces, I knew I was coming to live and work in an area that was predominantly white.  Only those who have experienced growing up somewhere multicultural and diverse will know what pause for thought this gives, and as a person of colour, being amongst people who are ‘the same’ as you, goes a long way to promoting that feeling of safety and security.

After transferring to Dorset Police in 2001, good and bad things happened to me at that time.  Apart from feeling overwhelmingly homesick, I was subject to many ignorant, derogatory and offensive situations.  Like many people from visible minority ethnic backgrounds, I dealt with some of these situations by acquiescing to the insults and even laughing at the offensive attempts at humour.

I’m glad to say though, that Dorset Police have been superb in how they have ‘dealt’ with a lot of the horrors that happened to me and its through their positive, no nonsense approach, that I have remained a happy and positive employee of Dorset Police.  However, one thing that I wished I had had access to at that time, was a support mechanism that would have helped me in the initial stages of being at Dorset.  It is through my personal experience that I believe Dorset Minority Ethnic Police Association (DMEPA) needs to exist.

Within Dorset Police, I have met many individuals who are working very hard to improve awareness, acceptance and understanding of the different minority groups and have seen firsthand how these groups can act as very valuable support networks.

The feeling of safety and security though not only works within the organisation, but outside of the organisation.  I have worked for the Police service for 13 years and during that time have seen a massive change in terms of Police services recognising that in order to gain the trust and confidence of their communities, they need to radically alter their detrimental and negative image.  By showing their dedication in actively striving to embrace those policies and acts that work against racist, sexist and discriminatory behaviour, Police services are showing that they are willing to work hard to change attitudes towards and within the Police.  I have seen for myself that Dorset Police is very strong and progressive in its strive for equality amongst minority groups.

As a member of DMEPA, I will offer my services in helping to support visible/non visible minority ethnics so they never have to feel the way that I did when I arrived at Dorset Police.  Not only that, but DMEPA will work towards trying to improve the numbers of ethnic minorities who join, remain and progress within Dorset Police.  As I expressed earlier, coming to work for a predominantly white work force, in a predominantly white area gives pause for though, and I would have felt less alone, and more supported and confident if Id been able to look around and see more of those who look like me.

It really is time to redress the balance, and if DMEPA can go someway to achieving this, I would very happy indeed.

Shyrose AllibhaiShyrose Allibhai – Service Support Manager

I have lived in Dorset for just a little over 8 years having moved here from London where I was a European Sales Administrator for Hitachi. I can honestly say I have never regretted that decision to move, as I love Dorset for its beautiful countryside, Weymouth for its beach and the warm and friendly people I have met and yet to meet.

Having lived in London all my life prior to this move I did find it difficult to adjust to the change. I was used to a very multicultural environment and found myself very much a minority in Dorset. This of course doesn’t mean to say that I found myself isolated or singled out very much the reverse just that I personally noticed the difference.

I was very lucky to get a job straight away with Dorset police. I started in Human Resources more specifically the Recruitment Section before moving to Professional Standards then as a Special Constabulary Personal Development Officer before finally returning to Human Resources as the Service Support Manager. This for me is a temporary promotion which I find challenging and rewarding every day. I have the overview of a team of dedicated people who carry out all the transactional work for the force e.g. maternity, recruitment, annual leave, sickness etc  

Having worked for the organisation for several years within that time I have been given the opportunity to attend numerous courses for example Dorset Police have funded me to complete a Higher National certificate in Business Management and then the Higher National Diploma in Business Management. The organisation paid for the course and gave me day release to attend. I had to apply for this opportunity along with others and there is a selection process, however I was fortunate enough to be successful. The only things the organisation asked for in return is that I give it 100%.

 I have also attended in house courses such as coaching skills, Microsoft Excel Advanced, Supervisors skills in addition to Steps and Springboards (personal goal setting). All of these courses are open to all individuals that work for the organisation you just need to formally express an interest in undertaking them. I can say these courses have enhanced me personally and professionally and I have gained skills that I can apply to my working and personal life.

I am not trying say that Dorset Police are the best employer ever as I don’t think there is such a thing! But I can say in all honesty that I feel valued, motivated and listened to by Dorset Police.

This leads me on to why I have then chosen to be part of the Dorset Minority Ethnic Police Association (MEPA) well I can honestly say I was resistant at first I remember saying that ‘I don’t want or need special treatment’ or ‘I don’t want to be singled out as different’ but it was only until I agreed to go to a meeting to hear what it was all about that I realised the main purpose for the MEPA is to provide help and support to others. It seems such a simple thing but it changed my whole outlook. I sat through the meeting and listened to other people’s experiences in and out of the force and realised that I wanted to be a part of this group. I wanted to be able to help and support others but also to offer help and advice to the force for its strategic aims and objectives.

In August 2007 I voted in as the Vice Chair of the MEPA a position which I find challenging and scary at the same time as people have put their hope and trust in me and I do not want to let them down. MEPA have since this time grown in confidence and we recently had a stand at the Force open day where we made members of the community aware of our existence and our strategic aims.

Hopefully this has given you an insight into me, Dorset Police as an employer and why I am a member of the Dorset MEPA.

Kitty SmithMy ethnic background is Chinese, I speak Cantonese as my first language, also Mandarin, English and basic German.  I was born and grew up in the cosmopolitan city of Hong Kong (“Fragrant Harbour”) famous for its skyscrapers and double-decker trams.  97 per cent of Chinese people of Hong Kong work hard and live fast, making the most of this hotbed of capitalism and commerce.  East and West teach each other about how to live and prosper in this ex British Colony, together this makes Hong Kong one of the most stimulating and engaging city in the world.

I married my husband in England and he was in the Military Service, hence, I followed my husband’s career all over the world for many years.  I lived in various different parts of West Germany for over eight years.  During this time, I worked for the BAOR (British Army of the Rhine) Youth Service for over five years as a part-time youth worker.  I was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the British Forces Germany Youth Service.  I made many friends with local people and different army personnel.  I enjoy cooking and gave many Chinese Cooking demonstrations to them.  I continue to correspond with some of them to-date.

In mid 1980s, my husband was posted to Kingdom of Lesotho, Southern Africa.  Once again, we packed our belongings, with our young son Timothy who was five years old and moved to Maseru, Kingdom of Lesotho.  My husband worked for the Royal Parliamentary Force as an adviser for his Majesty King Moswaswa II and came under the British High Commission.  We travelled to many different countries in Africa; whist in Lesotho and it was like an educational tour for us.

Kingdom of Lesotho is about the size of Belgium landlocked, this small country situated in southern part of Africa which totally surrounded by Republic of South Africa.  Whilst in Lesotho, I joined the Overseas Voluntary Service with the Save The Children Fund (SCF) / Oxfam as a volunteer.  My main responsibility was overseeing and running the Needy Family Sponsorship Programme which was funded by Oxfam, UK.  This job enabled me to travel all over this natural and peaceful country with my caseworkers and driver; to delivery sponsorship grants, clothing and food to my sponsored families.  I worked in conjunction with the Save The Children Fund and the Education Sponsorship Programme Directors, often we (the caseworkers, driver and I) travelled up to the mountain in our 4 x 4 vehicle to reach many destinations, on many occasions we had to travel the last part on foot and walked for miles as there were no roads, due to the mountainous terrain.   Sometimes we travelled on the “Flying Doctor” old biplane to reach some of my families who lived in very remote areas.  I thoroughly enjoyed my work with the Save The Children Fund and Oxfam and found it very challenging and rewarding work.

We returned to the UK in late 1980s and settled down in the small village called Wool for nearly nineteen years.  During this time, I worked for various international companies, BP, NHS, Probation Service, central government and local government in Dorset, from secretarial to managerial positions.  I have travelled to many different countries over three different continents.  During this time, I have been very fortunate to have met some inspiring professional people in business, the academic sector, in religion, politics and diplomatic circles, and a few of royals on the way, especially when we lived in Southern Africa.  I have great respect for all the people whom I have met and worked with in the past, we shared the mutual understanding in our traditions, beliefs and values without prejudice.

I joined Dorset Police as a part-time Secretarial & Administrative Support Officer with HQ CID four years ago.  The reason I became a member of the Dorset Black Police Association is because I would like to share my past experiences with as many different people from different background and cultures as possible in my present workplace in Dorset.  To promote Dorset Police’s vision and values, diversity and to attract the ethnic groups to join Dorset Police, Police Staff, Special Constabulary and other volunteers, in the multi-culture society we are now lived in.  To promote the Dorset Police as a non-racial and non prejudice workplace but a Race Equality Professional Constabulary with integrity, professionalism, fairness and respect to the Dorset communities, striving to be a better and safer Dorset which we are living in.

Anita TaylorMy parentage is Hong Kong Chinese and white British.  I grew up in armed service communities in Northern Ireland and West Germany.  My family settled in Dorset when I was 12 years old – I have remained here ever since.

I joined the Dorset Police on leaving school at the age of 16.  I have performed many roles working primarily at Headquarters.  I reduced to part time work following family commitments. 

I joined the Dorset MEPA following an invite from the DCC to meet the Chair of the BPA.  Several Dorset Police ethnic minority staff attended and I was moved to hear of their experiences and of their commitment to introducing a support organisation in this Force.  I decided to be part of this group in celebration of my ethnic heritage and to do what I could to assist the establishment of a support network for ethnic minority colleagues new and existing. 

Lex SpoonerI am Lex Spooner 5117. I was born in India and been in UK since 1994. I can speak Fluent Hindi and Gujarat. Since in UK I have done various jobs ranging from working in Burger King to Travel Consultant. I have done my common foundation degree for nursing through Middlesex University at Whittington University.

I was working at Heathrow as manager for Foreign Exchange Company when I met my husband. He was working for the same company. Together we decided to move to Bournemouth as his parents lived here. We used to visit them on holiday and loved the area. We sold the property at Heathrow and moved to Bournemouth.

I was always interested in police by didn’t like the violent side of the police. When I heard about police community support officer I thought that was ideal for me. I inquired about the position at Heathrow but when we had decided to move so I thought I should wait till we get to Bournemouth.

I joined Dorset police on 29 March 2006 as a Police Community Support Officer. I started at Bournemouth covering the town centre. In September 2006 I was moved to Boscombe police station and was part of Springbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team. In November 2006 I also started to work 2 days with CCIT (Community Crime Investigating team) and was part of Domestic Violence team. I was working with the victims of domestic violence in Springbourne area.

I wanted to move to the unit fulltime but being a Police Staff it was very difficult to get in the unit. In March 2007 I became pregnant and was put on desk duty. As there was not much of paper work with reference to Safer Neighbourhood team I asked to work for DV Unit doing victim contact on the phone. After lots of meetings between supervisors I was move to DV Unit.

I went on maternity leave in September and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl on 21 October 2007 and we called her Sky. During my maternity leave I kept in touch with the DV Unit. My DV sergeant and DI kept the pressure up for me to come back to the DV Unit on a more permanent base. I came back to work on 24 March and to the DV Unit as an attachment and hopefully this would be permanent.

I am enjoying the job and get lots of job satisfaction. At present I work Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 08.00 to 18.00. My husband started with me as well and he is a Police Community Support Officer working for Poole Station.

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