Published: Friday 30 July 2021

Cheshire Constabulary has become the first force ever to achieve the British Dyslexia Association’s SMART Award.

The SMART Award recognises and promotes good practice for supporting the needs of those with dyslexia and neuro-diversity.

In order to receive the award, the Constabulary completed six steps to help people with dyslexia feel better supported while raising awareness and understanding.

The award comes ahead of the opening of the Constabulary’s Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship recruitment window, with applications welcome from Monday 2 August.

With the Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship, candidates will receive a paid for policing degree with no need to take out any loans, and they can also earn a salary of £24,000 from day one.

The force is encouraging everyone – including women, people of all ages, people from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, the LGBT+ community and those living with a disability to think about becoming part of the policing family.

Chair of the Enable staff support network, David McMahon said:

“The force has moved forward so much in terms of the development, support and understanding of dyslexia and other conditions in recent years.

“I am proud, for the whole of the Enable network that I lead, to have been part of that journey and to receive the SMART award accolade is further recognition of the Constabulary’s commitment to its colleagues with neuro-diverse colleagues.

“With the introduction of further trained assessors in the future we will be looking to offer more support to those joining the organisation who may not be aware of their conditions.

“Dyslexia and other conditions shouldn’t be seen as a blocker to entry, promotion and further opportunities within the force."

Commenting on the award, Assistant Chief Constable Matt Welsted added:

“At Cheshire Constabulary we pride ourselves on championing our people and empower individuality.

“We are encouraging everyone to consider becoming a part of our policing family and we’re keen to recruit officers with a wide range of personal experience and understanding of the multitude of cultures and communities we have here in Cheshire.

“Being honoured with the British Dyslexia Association SMART Award is another fantastic recognition of how we value diversity in our staff and help to ensure that we can provide a workplace where you can be you.”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer, added:

“I’m extremely proud of Cheshire Constabulary for winning this award, it demonstrates how the Constabulary empowers those who wish to join.

"This award goes to show that here in Cheshire we’re breaking down barriers that people may think prevent them from having a policing career.

"I hope this news encourages and empowers those in our communities who want to join the police to take the leap of faith and join the Cheshire Constabulary family.”

The Constabulary is committed to recruiting people from a wider range of backgrounds and experiences and helping them to progress in their careers within the policing family.

The organisation will give help to those that need it and positive action allows the force to lawfully level the playing field for everyone to apply for a career within policing

Members of the public can leave an expression of interest for positive action support via the careers pages on the force website and a member of the Talent Acquisition Team will be in touch.

The force is expecting a high number of applications for the Police Degree Apprenticeship Scheme.

The application window will remain open for a minimum of 48 hours, after which the Force will continually monitor the number of applications that are received to ensure that we are able to manage the recruitment process.

Once the force has received the number of applications required the recruitment window will be closed and no further application form submission will be accepted.

Please note that the application form is no longer a full competency-based questionnaire and basic information only is required for your application form submission to be complete.

We therefore recommend that you no not hesitate in your application form submission and complete this stage of the process as soon as you can to avoid any disappointment.

For more information on what positive action support is available visit: https://www.cheshire.police.uk/police-forces/cheshire-constabulary/areas/cheshire/careers/careers/positiveaction/