Thursday 22 April 2021 marked the third annual Stephen Lawrence Day. With our extensive expertise in policing education and connections across the policing sector, we wanted to host an event that would encourage audiences to challenge what they think they know.
The event was led by Staffordshire University alumnus, Genelle Aldred and featured an inspirational opener from Andrew Proctor, Pro Vice-Chancellor Digital.
We were joined by the Independent Office for Police Conduct’s Regional Director, Dr Derrick Campbell, and West Midlands Police’s Chief Constable, Sir Dave Thompson QPM DL, for powerful keynote speeches.
Dr Campbell recounted some of his personal experiences which included the shocking racially motivated harassment endured by his mother, and abuse he received at the hands of police when growing up. Sir Dave Thompson explored the change he has seen in policing throughout his career and why he is so passionate about West Midlands Police fulfilling his vision of being the most diverse force in the country.
As the evening progressed, the panel came together to answer questions, discuss key reflections on policing, and explore what their hopes are for the future of the profession. Our panel consisted of our two keynote speakers, Associate Professor in Policing Practice, Jane Sawyers QPM DL, Vice President of the National Black Police Association and Staffordshire Police’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Dionne Johnson, and the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Police Hate Crime Policy Lead, Paul Giannasi OBE.
Andrew Proctor said: “While Stephen’s tragic death forced change in British law, there is still much more we must do to combat racism. We owe it to Stephen and his family to strive for equality and inclusion in everything we do.
“Here at Staffordshire University, we are passionate about transforming the lives and prospects of people from all parts of our communities.
“We have a responsibility to provide a safe space for difficult discussions that shine a spotlight on the issues that matter most, to challenge ourselves, to listen to and empathise with the lived experiences of others so that we may develop our understanding and ultimately become a better, fairer, more equitable society.”
This event demonstrated the importance of such open discussions, with more than 600 views on YouTube to date.
If you couldn’t make it but want to hear what our speakers had to say, you can catch up on YouTube.
We’re collecting reflections on the impact that Stephen’s story has had on our lives. If you’d like to get involved, please head over to our campaign page and leave a 60-second recording of your thoughts.