An Inclusive Force – Police Scoop Top Employment Award

Two young adults with Down’s syndrome have helped Wiltshire Police scoop a top employment award. The force was awarded the ‘Best Employer Practice’ accolade by the British Association of Supported Employment (BASE) on Tuesday night. It recognises their commitment to supporting people with disabilities to secure and retain employment.

Chief Constable, Kier Pritchard said: “It is a privilege to have Luke and Jeremy as part of our team. We are keen to focus on ‘ability’ and found the philosophy of the WorkFit programme complemented our approach and also provided the tools and training to help us offer the best possible support to these exceptional young men.”

Luke works in the Crime and Communication Centre at Devizes Police Headquarters. He started volunteering in administration there back in 2016 and has since been given a Certificate of Appreciation for his significant contribution and a permanent, paid role.

Jeremy started volunteering in the Driver Support team back in 2017 and has now gone on to help with the video team based at Devizes HQ. In addition, the force has provided three other work experience placements to WorkFit candidates across the county.

WorkFit is the Down’s Syndrome Association’s employment programme. Providing a tailored service to employers, WorkFit endeavours to find the right employment opportunities for jobseekers with Down’s syndrome, ensuring that they have the support they need to be successful in the workplace.

“A fundamental part of the success of the programme is the support provided to the employers we work with. Workfit candidates have benefitted hugely from the opportunities they have been offered by Wiltshire Police, and we hope to continue working with them to strengthen our partnership during the coming months and years.”   Paul Harrison, WorkFit Employment Development Officer.

More than twenty staff and officers at Wiltshire Police have undergone the Employer WorkFit training to give guidance and best practice information about how to support colleagues with Down’s syndrome in the work place.

Employment Development Manager, Alison Thwaite said: “The success of the placements at Wiltshire Police has inspired other police forces to work with us to develop potentially life changing opportunities for other WorkFit candidates.”

John Flynn, Head of Contact Management at Wiltshire Police commented: “We were honoured to have been nominated by WorkFit in the Best Employer Practice category. We’re passionate about supporting people with disabilities into our workplace – reflecting our communities within the workplace is the right thing to do.”

“The award focussed on the work we’ve done helping people with Down’s syndrome gain employment or become a volunteer, enabling them to fulfil their personal goals, while adding value to our organisation. Equality and inclusion are core values we believe in and we are proud to have welcomed many disabled people into our workplace.”

WorkFit supports people with Down’s syndrome to access meaningful work opportunities that can benefit the rest of their lives. For more information please contact the team on 0333 12 12 300 or email dsworkfit@downs-syndrome.org.uk

Jeremy (centre) and Luke with members of the team