Huge success for first-ever Women of Colour in Policing Summer Festival
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Inspiring young musicians and speakers came together this weekend for Bedfordshire’s first ever festival celebrating the contribution women of colour make to policing.
Over 100 people attended the summer festival organised by the flagship Women of Colour in Policing (WoCiP) movement.
Artists such as Ellisse A, Tilley Lockey, Pierre Makenzi and Artaca performed for the crowd at the Rufus Centre in Flitwick.
They will continue to be involved in the work through the #YoungWoCiPInfluencers movement, which aims to open up a career in policing, especially exploring specialist roles, to a whole generation of young women from diverse backgrounds.
Saturday’s event also heard from speakers such as Bedfordshire Police Assistant Chief Constable Sharn Basra, director of the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit Kimberley Campbell-Lamb, RAF Flt. Lt Luke Nettleford, Diane Lightfoot, CEO of the Business Disability Forum, and a range of other eminent figures.
PC Sandra Smith, Bedfordshire Police’s positive action strategic lead and the founder of WoCiP, said: “I would like to thank everyone for all of their hard work in making Saturday’s festival such a resounding success.
“The young people we work with have been clear that we need to do things differently in order build their trust and confidence in policing.
“The summer festival was us seeing the need for innovation in how we engage young people and giving them a platform to make their voices heard. I am sure it will have a long-term impact on their perception of policing.
“This is just the start of our WoCiP journey though, and we will continue our efforts and action to give young people a voice and ensure the next generation of police officers and staff is our most diverse and talented yet.”
Sam Alexander, the positive action lead for Bedfordshire Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Joint Protective Services, added: “Saturday was an amazing experience for us, and I want to thank the Young WoCiP Influencers in particular for making it such a success and special day by the determination and commitment displayed.
“These young people are the future. It is in their hands to make sure policing is more diverse, inclusive and representative.
“The summer festival was a superb start to this journey and WoCiP will continue with this vital work in supporting women of colour on their journey and to open policing up to all. This is the direct call for authentic action and how we reach and engage our youth.”