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National Inclusion Week - Blog by Vice President Harvi Khatkar

PSA Vice President Harvi Khatkar discusses the small actions that can be taken in workplaces to create inclusive, welcoming cultures:

Tackling inclusion in policing is a massive subject. Huge in fact.
We spend significant time and resource on working to create the inclusive workplaces that we want, and that we know our people deserve. Regrettably, in policing and in most other organisations, change of this scale is inevitably slow.
The theme of this year’s ‘National Inclusion Week’ is ‘The Time is Now’, so I want to reflect on the simple things we can each do to make our workplaces the welcoming, inclusive places they should be, right now.
Because we’re a service and employer that has quite rightly been under the spotlight for this issue for far too long, we can often be guilty of overthinking and forgetting the simple things.
When someone is new to the workplace, and they enter a room full of groups of colleagues, friends, people who have been in the job for years, how do we make them feel welcome?
How do we show them the ropes, help them settle in, explain what support is available to them? Do we make an effort to make this the most positive ‘first impression’ they could have? Probably not every time.
Being a welcoming colleague doesn’t need to mean that you overthink the ‘characteristics’ of the person you’re working with. It’s simply about respect.
We should all be curious about other people to increase our own knowledge and cultural competence, and to understand why people act or think differently to us. We should embrace this curiosity. If you’re curious to know more about someone, as long as your approach is grounded in respect and professionalism, ask them.
As a staff association, we’re constantly eager to learn more about people, to understand our members and to use this learning to inform what we do.  That’s why we have our reserved rep places on our National Executive Committee.  Five of our colleagues are elected into these roles to support the best interests of under-represented members. This helps improve our understanding and helps us better use lived experience in everything we do.
There has been recent debate and speculation over suggestions from the new home secretary that police have spent too much time on symbolic gestures, and that initiatives on diversity and inclusion should not take precedence over common sense policing. No one would argue that the protection of our communities is the purpose of policing, but it only happens with consent. Failing to be a diverse and inclusive workforce is undermining public trust, and for that reason, we must not neglect this important work, nor the simple steps we must take, rooted in politeness and respect.