GMP one of only five forces to receive a gold award
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GMP has been recognised with a gold award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS)
The ERS encourages employers to demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community. Employers can be recognised with either a bronze, silver or gold award, with each having increasing criteria that have to be met.
The force signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2015, thereby pledging to ensure members of the armed forces, both past and present, and their families were not disadvantaged because of their military service.
In 2016 a small network of armed forces champions were brought together on the Bury district, which was led by Inspector Jim Jones. They began working to support not only vulnerable veterans who had been arrested, but any vulnerable veteran in crisis or needing additional support. The group also became involved with the local authority led Armed Forces Covenant group.
ACC Chris Sykes saw how much this was benefitting those within this important section of our community and established a Supporting Our Armed Forces steering group. The group is a partnership of different leads from recruitment, HR, neighbourhood confidence and equality, organisational learning and GMCA. The steering group has an overall aim of becoming the most armed forces friendly police force in the country. The gold award from the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme is an important milestone on the way to achieving this goal.
To achieve a gold award, an employer must meet a list of certain criteria, including the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant, they must employ at least one individual from the armed forces community and they must actively ensure their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards defence people issues.
Through the steering group, GMP has achieved the below:
- Changes to application forms to include the questions whether the applicant has ever served in Her Majesty's Armed Forces
- Recording that data to improve our understanding of our own workforce
- Certain dispensation for military service leavers who wish to join GMP who due to military commitments cannot meet the recruitment process timetable
- Advice and guidance to service leavers and veterans on the recruitment process for both officer and staff posts
- Contact with all new starters from military backgrounds to offer ongoing career advice
- A network of 35 Armed Forces Leads who are the point of contact for their district/branch
- A network of over 120 Armed Forces Champions across all districts and branches who are managed by their relevant lead and who are the eyes and ears of the force to identify, offenders, victims and staff who are from the armed forces community and need additional support
- A maintained list of all serving Reservists we employ so we can communicate with them when they are required to mobilise or we may need their skills
- A published policy for our serving Reservists so they are clear on their entitlements and relevant processes
- An Armed Forces Community intranet site with important links to information and support for members of the Armed Forces Community
- A working relationship with our local Military Reservist Units who (Pre COVID and will continue post COVID) attend student officer information days to highlight the benefits of joining the Reserves and how it can complement their policing roles
- Advertising our vacancies within the Armed Forces Community
- Attending military recruitment events held by the Armed Forces Career Transitions Partnership
ACC Chris Sykes said: "The Gold Award is a magnificent achievement but what is more important is that it demonstrates how members of the armed forces community within Greater Manchester whether employed by us or in the community we serve receive the best possible service we can offer.
"GMP is one of only five forces nationally to have achieved Gold Award status and of those five forces we are the only one in addition to meeting the requirements of the employer recognition scheme award, have a comprehensive programme of support for the Armed Forces Community we serve in Greater Manchester.
"In addition to the above our work in this area has attracted interest from other forces wishing to improve their own relationships with the armed forces and we have been instrumental locally in supporting, Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria Constabularies to not only sign the covenant but also put their own internal structures in place. We have also assisted forces as far afield as The States of Jersey Police and have been referred to by the North West Reserve Forces and Cadet Association who are responsible on behalf of the Ministry of Defence for overseeing the covenant in our region as 'An exemplar forces friendly employer'"
Chris Ashworth, MoD North West Regional Employer Engagement Director, said: "Employing one of the largest number of reservists in the North West, GMP provide an additional 10-15 days leave to help meet their annual training commitments; and an additional 5 days leave to Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, allowing them to take their cadets on annual camp.
"GMP also has a fantastic armed forces network, employ more than 450 veterans and actively recruit service leavers; supporting them through their resettlement into policing. Driven by their hugely enthusiastic and supportive Armed Forces Champion, Inspector Jim Jones, GMP is an exemplar forces friendly employer - thank you for your support!"