Both Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have made it in to the top 100 list of gay-friendly employers in the UK.
The police force and fire service were ranked joint 93rd out of 376 organisations entered.
The Workplace Equality Index is Britain’s leading tool for employers to measure their efforts to tackle discrimination and create inclusive workplaces for lesbian, gay and bisexual employees. Since 2005 more than 750 major employers have taken part in the Index, using Stonewall’s criteria as a model for good practice.
Sussex Police has been in the top 100 four years out of five and the force has risen 45 places against its position in 2012.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was placed 111th in the 2012 index, 93rd in 2011 and 67th in the 2010 index.
PC Peter Boiling, the chair of Sussex Police Gay Police Association, said, “Moving back into the top 100 is a step in the right direction and testament to the commitment of Sussex Police and the hard work of the Gay Police Association in supporting our lesbian, gay and bisexual colleagues.”
Deputy Chief Constable Giles York, the force lead for equality and diversity, said, “I am delighted with this significant improvement. For the fourth time in the last five years, Sussex Police features in the Stonewall Index of the Top 100 gay-friendly employers. However, what is paramount is that we keep listening, learning and looking for ways to improve our workplace culture and, ultimately, the services we provide to the public.”
Superintendent Laurence Taylor, the force equality champion, said, “This achievement is evidence of the determination within the force to build a positive, inclusive working environment. I hope this message encourages members of lesbian, gay and bisexual communities across Sussex to know that we will take them seriously and support them in the event that they need our help.”
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said, “I am delighted that Sussex Police has made it into the Stonewall Top 100 Employers list this year. This really demonstrates Sussex Police’s commitment to equality and diversity within its workforce and long may this continue.”
Over at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, chief fire officer and chief executive Des Prichard said, “We are delighted and proud to be named in Stonewall’s Top 100 Employer Index 2013. We believe a strong commitment to diversity and inclusiveness is not only important for our employees, but it is vital that we are seen to be a leader in equality and diversity within the communities we serve.”
Chairman of East Sussex Fire Authority John Livings said “The Stonewall Index is nationally recognised and I am thrilled East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has been ranked within the top 100 employers in the UK. We have always known that this organisation has an excellent track record in respect to how it treats its employees and serves its communities, and now it has again been recognised as one of the top places in the country, for people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.”
Councillor Phil Scott, equality lead member, said, “This is an immense achievement and serves as a testament to our commitment to equality. We have earned this by the efforts of our front-line staff, our professional leaders and our in-house equality team.”
Gary Ferrand, assistant chief fire officer and LGBT Champion, said, “Securing 93rd position in the top 100 index when we know that hundreds of employers from a variety of different sectors have competed for a place shows an extraordinary level of commitment that East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service give equality on a daily basis.”
Further information about Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity is at www.stonewall.org.uk/at_work/workplace_equality_index_2013/default.asp