Head of Diversity & Inclusion at British Transport Police
BARRY BOFFY IS THE HEAD OF DIVERSITY & INCLUSION AT BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE
How important is Diversity & Inclusion for the successful running of both a company (not just British Transport Police) and the well-being of individuals in its work force?
I would stress that Diversity and Inclusion are two different but very much connected areas. Having a diverse workforce is necessary to be able to police with the consent of the public that we serve. To police effectively in the UK, we need to be representative of the public and be able to recognise and understand the incredible diversity of the UK’s population and their very distinct needs.
However, creating a diverse workforce is not achievable or sustainable in and of itself and that’s where inclusion plays a vital part. We can only attract and retain that diverse workforce if we have inclusive workplace practices and a culture that actively values those differences. It makes good business sense, of course, (we want to employ the very best!); but not only that, it increases confidence in our understanding of diverse and sometimes vulnerable communities. By providing an inclusive and welcoming environment, we know that our people are happier as, ultimately, they feel valued for their difference and don’t need to hide a part of their identity to “fit in”.
How do you go about creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for your staff?
I’m incredibly proud to work for a police force that doesn’t just accept me for who I am, but actively supports me and provides an inclusive work environment where everyone is welcomed and accepted for who they are too.Not having to make the enormous effort of hiding my sexuality has really helped me in my career and it’s exactly that environment that I want to create for everyone else, no matter their background or identity.
However, I know that’s not always so easy for everyone. That’s where I have a responsibility to seek out those individuals who may struggle to feel “welcome” or accepted for who they are and look at what I need to practically do to help or remove any barriers. The ultimate goal is to create an inclusive workplace where everyone is valued and welcome. It’s important to encourage honest and open conversations about topics as diverse and “uncomfortable” as pronoun usage, microaggressions and the menopause – to name just a few!
What advice would you give a member of the LGBTQ+ community considering a career in British Transport Police?
My advice would be to always be your genuine self, all the time and unapologetically; as you’d be surprised how little it really matters. Being authentic is really liberating and will let you concentrate on the things that are truly important and give you the space to get on with what you need to do: performing to your very best and enjoying your career.