A ceremony at police headquarters in Kidlington, Oxon, on yesterday officially marked the arrival of the British Sikh Police Association (BSPA).

Sergeant Kasmira Singh Mann, who works in Slough, said: "This is an important step towards improving the profile of Sikh officers within the police and gives them an officially-recognised voice while improving the police's understanding of the communities it serves."

He said the establishment of the BSPA represented an important move towards social cohesion and integration 'just like other support networks within the police.'

It is estimated that there are more than 500 Sikh cops in the UK and more than 1,500 Sikh police staff.

A national body for Sikh Police Officers and Police Staff is to be launched to meet the needs of Sikhs in the police service in Britain.

There have been a number of enquiries in the last decade about community policing and racism in the police service. There have been many other issues related to Sikhs and the police service.

After the attacks in New York in 2001, Sikh communities around the world became the target of race hate campaigns by the ignorant and the bigots.

There are many local and national issues which require tackling by the Sikh community. The Sikh community can do, and is doing, as much as possible, but they require a partner from within.

Since March 2008, a series of meetings have been held around the country.

Police Officers and Police staff from Thames Valley Police, Metropolitan Police service, Leicestershire Constabulary, West Midlands Police and Kent Constabulary have participated in a series of discussions on the way to progress.

It was apparent to all that a national body of Sikh Police Officers and Police Staff was needed. The level of support and enthusiasm for such a venture encouraged the participants. Discussions progressed well and support increased. Other Sikh officers from forces with very small numbers of Sikh personnel have also come into the fold.

Further work and discussions led to a constitution being adopted and the decision to launch the association nationally was taken.

Thames Valley Police management was approached and with their support and encouragement, a date and venue were set.

The launch of the BRITISH SIKH POLICE ASSOCIATION (BSPA) was held yesterday, 29 April, at Thames Valley Police HQ in Kidlington, Oxford.

The aims and objectives of the BSPA are:

* To establish a national forum for Sikh members of the British police services;

* To assist the British police services in developing strategies to recruit, retain and progress Sikh members of the service, hence increasing Sikh representation in the police service at all levels;

* To provide a religious, cultural and social forum for members of the BSPA, through celebration of dates and festivals on the Sikh calendar;

* To promote an understanding of the Sikh Faith and the Sikh values of democracy, equality and justice within the police services;

* To provide support and advice to Sikh members of the police service;

* To promote social cohesion and integration.


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