New police chief is aiming to be force’s diversity champion
THERE is no doubt Mabs Hussain is a marque ‘signing’ for Greater Manchester Police.
He has crossed the Pennines after an impressive 22-year career in West Yorkshire to become this region’s highest-ranking Asian officer as its new assistant chief constable.
He was sworn in this week, just five months after Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said he intended to step up recruitment of ethnic minority officers in the wake of the Arena bomb.
His Twitter posts and blog indicate that he ticks every box in terms of a shining example of what can be achieved – the son of hard-working Pakistani migrants who against the odds climbed to the higher echelons of Britain’s police.
He was awarded an MBE this year for services to policing and charity.
The 45-year-old fatherof-two said he joined the police ‘to make a difference’ and believes there is more to do in terms of the number of Asian and ethnic minority officers.
He said: “A lot is being done, but there is definitely much more to do.
“In terms of policing nationally to represent the communities we serve and to fulfil the principal of policing by consent.
“Why wouldn’t you want people that look different, think differently, have different experiences, cultures, who can then contribute to what we are trying to do, which is give a better service?
“At GMP, I am really encouraged with the work that has been done to increase the diversity of the workforce and that was one of the reasons that I was attracted to GMP.
“Ian Hopkins, as chief constable, has taken a personal leadership on this agenda. We can’t be complacent but GMP are on the right path.”
There are currently 241 Asian officers serving in GMP – 3.8 per cent of the force.
This is up from 3.2pc in August 2017.
The number of black and ethnic minority officers is 454 – 7.1pc – up from 6.3pc.
ACC Hussain, one of five children raised in Bradford, believes there is a respect from the Asian community for GMP.
He said: “I come from an Asian community and when I first joined there was a lot of apprehension around me being an Asian officer in the police and I got called certain names by members of the Asian community asking ‘why would you want to join the service that doesn’t respect us, and won’t respect you... you must be a fool’.
“But what I have shown is that despite the challenges I have had – which can be unique if you come from my background – I have always had a strong work ethic, but I have never set out to be anything other than the rank I have been.
“When I was a Pc I never set out to be anything more than a 30-year Pc.”
ACC Hussain says he will seize the opportunity to do more to help diversify GMP’s workforce.
He said: “It is incumbent in all of us in positions of trust and leadership to play our part to improve workforce representation.
“To make sure we get the best out of our people, irrespective of background.”
Despite his high-profile policing role, ACC Hussain says he and his family get stopped on trips to the US.
He said: “I do get stopped regularly, in particular flying to the States – my brother lives in America and I do visit him regularly.
“I have been taken off a flight, because they forgot to check me getting onto a flight, which was rather embarrassing.
“It does frustrate me. I can understand the reason for checking people who fit a certain age group, ethnicity and profile. But it does annoy me that it is happening so often.
“As a result I did write to Homeland Security.
“The director general replied saying they couldn’t confirm or deny if I was on any international list.
“I have what they call a redress number, which I can use when I fly, which they say should hopefully limit the level of inconvenience caused.
“You have to go with the flow.
“It is frustrating. But people have a job to do.
“Flying out of America I still get stopped. I usually get told my name has been flagged up, and to expect some delay.
“I don’t mind security checks, it shows we are taking terrorism seriously.”
ACC Hussain admits the state of race relations in the UK are currently ‘challenging’.
He said: “I think it is challenging at the moment, because of international and national events, as a result of Brexit, that has increased tensions between communities.
“We know as a police force in Greater Manchester the increase in hate crime as a result and Islamaphobia after the Arena attack.
“Everyone has a responsibility to understand the difference in where people come from, their views.
“We should respect people’s views and backgrounds and their contribution to society.
“What we can’t do is isolate one community and say they should make more effort to integrate.
“I do think there are challenges and we have got to do more as a public service to ensure we do our best to increase confidence in communities.”
●●Mabs Hussain is GMP’s new assistant chief constable