Northumbria Police recognises the social model of disability - the disadvantage or restriction of activity by taking little or no account of people with physical, mental, learning and sensory impairments which excludes them from mainstream society. The force seeks to tackle this disadvantage by providing a service which eliminates harassment and removes barriers
Despite the lack of conclusive data about impairments experienced by our workforce, we know from social deprivation statistics and the North East’s legacy of disablement from its heavy industry history, that there are a high number of long term limiting illnesses -24%-30% of the population - in some neighbourhoods.
Disability equality is an important issue for Northumbria Police, as the North East has the highest number of disabled people in England - a quarter of the working age population. There is also an indication that the North East has the highest rate of mental illness compared to other English regions.
Within Northumbria Police’s area there is a relatively high population of disabled people with a low level of employment. The force does employ disabled people but the processes used to collect this information have not been reliable to date. We will address this in our Single Scheme Action Plan.
As we continue to eliminate discriminatory practices and barriers in employment, information and services, the number of staff willing to voluntarily disclose that they have a disability should increase.