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Inspector wins award for encouraging BAME applicants

Inspector Zoe Hingston has received an award for "significantly increasing" the number of Black Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) appointed to Northumbria Police over the past year.
Published - 17/12/2019 By - Chloe Livadeas

A Northumbria Inspector has been given the Emergency Services Champion Award in recognition for her efforts in recruiting more people from BAME backgrounds in the past year.

Northumbria said Insp Zoe Hingston’s “passion and dedication” has helped to considerably increase the number of BAME officers, with more due to start next year after completing their training. She has also increased the number of BAME police support staff and volunteers.

Under her guidance, the force has appointed their first hijab wearing officer and a BAME mother and son duo.

Insp Hingston's contribution was recognised at last week's 2019 Chronicle Champion Awards red carpet event. It was held at the Grand Hotel Gosforth Park in Newcastle and celebrates local heroes of the North East. 

Insp Hingston joined Northumbria Constabulary in 2006 after previously working as a solicitor. She started her police career in Newcastle. She has served as a neighbourhood beat officer and in custody, and was temporarily promoted to Inspector before becoming the force’s Positive Action Team lead. The team “helps employers identify and remove the barriers and issues to the employment, retention and progression of people from ‘underrepresented’ groups, whilst still employing people on merit”.

Insp Hingston said: “A lot of officers and staff growing up had links to the force, maybe their mum, their uncle, grandad, friend or a neighbour was an officer. They knew someone that they could talk to about joining, about what it’s like, someone to encourage them.

“For me, I didn’t have anyone like that and a lot of the people I’m supporting don’t either so it’s difficult for some to know exactly what we do and the plethora of roles we can offer within Northumbria. I’m being that person for them as are the Positive Action Team and I’m hoping this will create a new legacy.”

She went on to say: “This isn’t about creating posts for people from BAME backgrounds or picking them over other candidates, it’s about encouraging good people to apply, and making it known that there is a place for BAME applicants at Northumbria Police. This is a fair opportunity.”

Director of People and Development, Joscelin Lawson, said: “We are committed to ensuring Northumbria Police is fully representative of the wonderfully diverse communities we serve.

“Zoë is an amazing driving force in helping us to increase the number of candidates we have welcomed into the policing family from BAME communities.

“While we have made great strides in attracting people from underrepresented communities to the Force, we know there is still more we can do. However, I have no doubt whatsoever that while we have people like Zoë and the fantastic team she works with pushing us forward we will continue to reach out to even more people and highlight the rewarding career which awaits by joining us.”

According to the Home Office, at the end of March 2019, 93.1 per cent of officers were from the white ethnic group and 6.9 per cent were from other ethnic groups, 4.0% of senior officers were from BAME compared with 2.8% in 2007.

Between 2007 and 2019, the total percentage of BAME officers went up from 3.9 per cent to 6.9 per cent.

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