BTP becomes the first UK police force to have an openly gay male reach the rank of Chief Constable
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British Transport Police has achieved an historic milestone by becoming the first police force in the UK to have an openly gay male in the role of Chief Constable.
Adrian Hanstock, who has been BTP’s Deputy Chief Constable since 2014, will be the force’s Temporary Chief Constable until Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi joins BTP as its permanent Chief Constable next month.
Mr Hanstock’s appointment during LGBT+ History Month is a pivotal point in policing and its diversity ambitions. Whilst more and more police officers starting their careers are more able to be open about their sexual orientation from the outset, Mr Hanstock has spoken openly about not being able to do so at the start of this own career in the 1980s.
Reflecting on his achievement, Temporary Chief Constable Hanstock, QPM said: “As LGBT+ History Month draws to a close, I feel it is relevant to take a look at the past if we are to understand how far we’ve come. In doing so we can take stock and realise that artificial barriers, as impenetrable as they might have seemed at the time, can (eventually) be pushed aside and police officers can plan their career in policing without fear of judgement or discrimination.
“I would certainly hope that in 2021 no one ever feels that they have to make a choice between their ambition, or whether to remain authentic to their personal values. It is vital that people in whatever profession are acknowledged and regarded for their capability and acumen, rather than judged on subjective opinions. And as I approach my final year of what has been a rewarding and fascinating career, I can only hope that with effort and example I have earned a reputation as a much more inspiring and enlightened role model than I experienced at the point I joined the service.”
Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke, National Police Chiefs Council LGBT+ Portfolio Lead, said: “I am delighted that Adrian has been appointed as the first openly gay male Chief Constable in UK Policing. I am sure BTP will also feel similar as there are two significant moments in close succession with Adrian and then he will be followed by Lucy as the first female Chief of BTP.
“Adrian has always been a support for me in my role as NPCC LGBT+ lead and as the most senior male gay police officer, I see him as a role model and someone who has stood out and been able to be himself. My work is very much focused on trying to enable policing to be a place where all people from all diverse backgrounds can be themselves – but this can sometimes be very difficult. Adrian will have no doubt given confidence to many LGBT+ police officers and staff over the years to come out and be honest about who they are and by seeing him in the role of Chief Constable, he will give further support to many people in policing. We need to see much greater diversity within our senior positions in policing, but Adrian has paved the way to enable others to follow.”
Paul Griffiths, President of the Police Superintendents’ Association, said: “On behalf of the Police Superintendents’ Association, I send our warmest congratulations to DCC Hanstock on his temporary appointment to this important post. As the first openly gay man to serve at chief constable level, this is indeed a milestone for our Service, and a reminder of the crucial work still required to create a workforce that reflects the diversity of our communities at every rank.
“Workforce inclusion is rooted in widespread understanding and representation at every level. As leaders, we see the importance of diversity, to enable officers and staff to feel confident in being their true and best selves. That’s why the PSA has been championing and valuing difference for a long time, promoting the importance of diversity, equality and inclusion as senior operational leaders of our Service.”
Nigel Goodband, Chairman of the British Transport Police Federation, said: “Visible role models help show the way for other people; it’s difficult to be what you can’t see. In Mr Hanstock we have someone who has always sought to champion diversity and has done so very visibly.
So much has changed for the better in the police service. It wasn’t that many years ago that officers worried about the impact of their sexuality on their chances of carrying out certain roles or achieving promotion. There is more work to be done by us all, of course, but Mr Hanstock’s appointment is a milestone and one which we hope will send a clear and reassuring message to our colleagues.”
Notes to Editors
Biography – Temporary Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock
Born in Nottinghamshire, Adrian Hanstock began his career as a Criminal Records clerk with Nottinghamshire Constabulary where he was fascinated by details of crimes and investigations set out in archive crime reports he was asked to research.
He became a police constable in 1985 just as the national miner’s strike ended and patrolled the beat in Sutton-in-Ashfield, a small mining town in north Nottinghamshire where he was first introduced to the challenges and rewards of community-based policing.
Working his way up through the ranks, earning a reputation both as a committed detective and forward-thinking leader, he transferred to the Metropolitan Police Service in the late 1990s where he led highly sensitive operations to combat gun crime and organised drug trafficking, as well as enquiries into serious sexual offences.
Following a period leading policing in the Borough of Enfield in North London, he attended the Strategic Command Course at Bramshill Police College, becoming a Commander in 2011.
Mr Hanstock held a significant role during the 2012 London Olympic Games taking operational control each day ensuring international competitors, dignitaries and spectators could travel safety between Olympic venues and around London throughout the Games.
Mr Hanstock was awarded the Queen’s Police Medal in Her Majesty The Queen’s 2021 New Year Honours for his substantial contribution to UK policing over a 37-year career.