A scheme aimed at asking policemen and women to reveal their sexual orientation may be rolled out across the UK after a successful trial period.
As revealed by Personnel Today last year, officers in several test constabularies, including Lancashire, Bedfordshire and Leicestershire, were asked if they were gay, bisexual or straight, as part of an anonymous equal opportunities form.
The Gay Police Association (GPA), which helped develop the initiative, is now calling for all forces to carry out similar surveys in a bid to create openness and address the needs of gay policemen and women.
It said the results of the trials were promising because some staff felt able to say they were not heterosexual and only a small number of people declined to answer the question.
Lancashire Constabulary had the highest return rate of the three forces – with 47% of staff handing in their questionnaires within a two-week period.
Helen Dodd, head of HR at Lancashire Constabulary, said it was not about “targets and quotas”, but “to try to understand and get a better appreciation of the needs of our staff”.
She told the Prestontoday.net website: “We incorporated the question into a diversity questionnaire at the end of last year when the Home Office also revised the national application form for police officers.
“It was to get a better appreciation of the needs of our staff and whether there were any issues we needed to address immediately, which there wasn’t.
“I think it is early days yet but certainly for us, it is what work we now need to take it forward.”