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New police deputy in 'something old, something new' celebration at the double

Cheshire DCC collects national award for LGBT equality work at former force
Published - 04/04/2019 By - Nick Hudson - Police Oracle

A senior service ‘grandee’ credited with breaking down barriers across policing, workplaces and within diverse communities UK-wide has a double reason to celebrate.

Within weeks of leaving behind a 27-year career at Merseyside Police, Julie Cooke has been appointed deputy chief constable of neighbouring Cheshire and collected a national award for “making a difference” in displaying a strong commitment to LGBT equality.

Charity Stonewall handed out the accolade as part of the Workplace Equality Index regional awards in recognition of DCC Cooke’s work in supporting the Merseyside Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Network.

The new deputy chief found herself winning plaudits from her former chief constable Andy Cooke for “promoting inclusivity and driving discussion to make positive changes” while Cheshire force lead, Chief Constable Darren Martland, said he was looking forward to her “positive impact, and drawing on her expertise and wealth of experience”.

DCC Cooke, the NPCC Lead for LGBT+, said she was “absolutely delighted” to receive the award for North West Senior Champion of the Year, reflecting her time at the Merseyside force.

She added: “I really enjoy working with the LGBT network. It is a group of people who want to improve the working environment for everyone. They constantly come up with new ideas and make it very easy for me to support them.

“Their contacts with partners and groups locally is second to none and their reach within the organisation is extensive.

“It is so important that people are able to come to work and be themselves.

“As an organisation we need to ensure we have an environment which supports and encourages diversity and gives all our staff confidence.”

  • Stonewall award . . . DCC Julie Cook (centre)

On her award achievement, Merseyside CC Cooke added: “Julie has always been passionate about valuing difference, promoting inclusivity and encouraging everyone to think differently.

“I am pleased to see that her dedication to making a difference has now been formally recognised by the Stonewall charity.”

Merseyside Police LGBT+ Network vice chairman Sergeant Sean Harrison commented: “This award is so well deserved and is in recognition of DCC Cooke’s commitment and tenacity in breaking down barriers not only across policing but within our diverse communities.”

DCC Cooke moved to Cheshire in February after spending more than 27 years at her only other force – Merseyside. There, she worked as a uniformed officer at all ranks and reached assistant chief constable for local policing and criminal justice.

Of her Cheshire promotion, she commented: “I have got a really good feel for the organisation and am delighted to have been appointed deputy chief constable.

“Cheshire is a very positive, professional and forward thinking force, something that has been reflected in recent HMICFRS reports.

“What I bring is a different experience in coming from a metropolitan force. I think having new people with different experiences encourages questions to be asked to help see how things fit together and how we can build on the already very positive work in order to improve.”

Speaking about her priorities for the coming months DCC Cooke added: “My background is in local policing, so the chief constable’s focus on neighbourhood policing is something I am keen to help deliver.

“We are also seeing a rise in the challenges linked to cyber crime and need to keep investing to deal with this now as well as preparing for the future.”

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