Election of police chief 'excludes the minority', Plymouth conference hears
THIS year's election of an American-style Police Commissioner excludes people from the black and ethnic minority community, it was claimed at a city conference.
Ossie Glover, chief executive of Fata He in Plymouth, criticised November's election of a Police and Crime Commissioner for "excluding the diverse community".
The Home Office has set a £5,000 deposit for candidates in the election. It was "an issue of exclusion" because people could not afford to lose that much money, Mr Glover told an Equality conference at the Council House in Plymouth.
The conference, organised by the black and ethnic minority organisation Fata He, was attended by about 100 people. Alison Seabeck, MP for Plymouth Moor View, said Plymouth needed to pick up the baton handed down from the Olympics.
"We have a fantastically diverse athletics team and everybody is being cheered. We are one country and these people are here and they are British.
"Groups on the far Right must be hating what they are seeing at the Olympics because it pulls the rug out from under their argument."
She said more than 300 languages were spoken in London and that attracted international companies.
"Plymouth too can do that. Business here needs to look at how it can draw on the diversity we have. It's a positive to have people from other parts of the world living in your city."
Vikki Matthews, head of human resources at Plymouth University, said the city did not celebrate diversity enough. The university was increasing the number of international students, and was keen to see that reflected among the staff. "It makes business sense to have a diverse student and staff population. Diverse teams are more creative."
Superintendent Chris Eastwood, local policing commander in Plymouth, said it was important to have equality in the workforce and in the way policing is carried out. Part of that included having officers who were dedicated to dealing with "hate crime".
"The force is all about building safe communities. Without confidence in the police we are on a losing wicket. We need the public's support."
Mr Glover said Fata He's "Operation Black Vote" had resulted in the election as a councillor of Chaz Singh, the deputy Lord Mayor of Plymouth and conference organiser. He said: "Chaz has set the benchmark and I am sure there are others in the community who will follow that example."
He said that when he came to Plymouth as a young Royal Marine in 1972 there were "only five of us" from the black and ethnic minorities.
Awards were presented during the conference.
Patriciah Petrie of Glamour Icons, who has worked with The Herald's Face of Plymouth contestants, won best Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority (BAME) Business, an award nominated by Outset Plymouth.
Three awards sponsored by Fata He went to:
Astrid Nsana, an A-level student at Stoke Damerel Community College, and top performing female student in 20910/11. She was named Student Academic Achiever.
An Inspiration Award went to Plymouth Combined Projects, which is based at Lipson Community College.
BAME Volunteer of the Year was Sunder Braganza, a volunteer with Fata He.