Twenty years on: lesbian, gay and bisexual police officers' experiences of workplace discrimination in England and Wales

Jones, Matthew and Williams, Matthew (2015). Twenty years on: lesbian, gay and bisexual police officers' experiences of workplace discrimination in England and Wales. Policing and Society, 25(2) pp. 188–211.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10439463.2013.817998

Abstract

Twenty years ago Mark Burke's pioneering research into homosexuality and policing evidenced widespread prejudice and hostility toward lesbian, gay and bisexual police officers in nine forces across England and Wales. These serving officers were felt to represent the most serious kind of contamination and threat to the integrity of the British Police Service by their heterosexual colleagues. Twenty years on this research, which represents one of the largest ever surveys of LGB police officers in England and Wales (N=836), evidences that just under one-fifth reported experiencing discrimination, with those in small and large forces, those in senior ranks and non-uniformed positions, and those who identify as gay male and Black, Minority Ethnic experiencing the highest levels of victimisation in training, deployment and promotion. Like Brown and Woolfenden, the authors conclude that a central aim of the diversity reform agenda must be a renegotiation of the psychological contract between staff and the organisation. A relational setup must be sought where mutual expectations of exchange are established and efforts are made to create a rich working environment that draws upon and invests in the subjective and intersubjective identity characteristics of LGB police officers.

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