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21:12 | 25th April 2017

Careers & Education: Careers

Wed 8 Feb, 2012
By Darren Waite


I have never had a problem or bad experience and find Hertfordshire Constabulary a great place to be gay and out.

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Interview: LGBT in the Forces - Pinkwire talks to Police officer PC Ross Leopold

INTERVIEW: Have you ever considered a career as a police officer? We caught up with PC Ross Leopold to find out what it is like working within the Hertfordshire Constabulary


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Interview: LGBT in the Forces - Pinkwire talks to Police officer PC Ross Leopold

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INTERVIEW: Have you ever considered a career as a police officer? We caught up with PC Ross Leopold to find out what it is like working within the Hertfordshire Constabulary
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What would you say you enjoy about working for the police?
I spent the early part of my career working with the Safer Neighbourhood Team where I was responsible for a designated area of a town. It was my job to know everything there was to know about that area – the people, the community, the services and facilities.

I dealt with quality of life issues, working to reduce crime whilst bettering the residents quality of life. I was able to meet with community leaders and local people of all ages. I also worked with partner agencies, such as the council, housing associations, highways helping to solve key issues in that area. I love being able to talk to people young and old and this role enabled me to do this on a daily basis. Every day is different and at times it can feel like there is a lot of pressure and that you are working long hours but there is a great team spirit throughout the Force.

What does your company do to promote equality?
From day one of joining the ‘family’ you are introduced to the diverse nature of it. There is formal and informal training in a range of diversity areas. The Force is quite forward and modern in its approach, such as bringing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in to meet new officers allowing them to speak openly and ask questions. There is great support across the Force; we have an LGBT network of representatives called Keystone, of which I am one. I am available to speak to anyone in confidence about any issue they may have such as coming out, bullying or personal issues.

Are you given the opportunity for your views to be heard?
Yes. I have the opportunity to share my views not only with my own line managers but also with the Executive Team.

Are you completely ‘out’ at work?
I joined the Force several years ago as a Special Constable and was good friends with the team I worked with both inside and outside the police and it was quite easy and comfortable to come out to them. I continued to be out as I joined up full time and moved departments. I have never had a problem or bad experience and find Hertfordshire Constabulary a great place to be gay and out. I comfortably banter and chat to my straight and even male colleagues about the guys I find attractive and other aspects of being gay.

Are there other gay employees where you work?
There are other gay people on my team and I am friends with others across the Force, some of whom are not out. I personally don’t see a problem with being out but respect those who are not as does everyone with whom I work.

What makes your company so gay-friendly?
There is always a standard corporate answer but from my heart I believe it is because Hertfordshire Constabulary is like a big extended family. It is not too big and not small and everyone is approachable and friendly. Keystone is well supported both by staff and management and in turn it supports the organisation’s communication with LGBT staff and the LGBT community of Hertfordshire. We are also one of the first forces with LAGLOs (Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers) who are specially trained to support victims of crime in the LGBT community, especially homophobic or transphobic crime.

What advice would you give to other people wanting to get into your line of work?
Be eager to develop your current skills and keen to learn new ones. Be flexible – there is great variety in the job. I think you have to be committed but there are also lots of rewards including the opportunity to develop into some interesting specialist areas. We are currently recruiting for Special Constables – volunteer police officers.

Why would you encourage people to apply to be a Special Constable?
You will not get a more rewarding opportunity as a volunteer to improve the quality of life within your own community, deal with a variety of challenges and develop a range of skills. Special Constables have the same powers and play a valuable role in solving quality of life issues, reassuring members of the public, saving lives and responding to emergencies. Special Constables deal with local people and local issues, working alongside regular officers as part of the extended police family.

Hertfordshire Constabulary is not currently recruiting for regular police officers however anyone interested in becoming a Special Constable can find out more information on the Constabulary’s website www.herts.police.uk/specials


 

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