Thames Valley Police becomes 1st force in the UK to be recognised as Menopause Employer Friendly

Thames Valley Police becomes 1st force in the UK to be recognised as Menopause Employer Friendly

Photo caption: Chief Constable John Campbell QPM and Detective Inspector Natalie Beresford receiving TVP’ Menopause Employer Friendly accreditation certificate.

Thames Valley Police (TVP) is delighted to be UK’s first Menopause Friendly Police Force, independently accredited by Menopause Friendly.

Evelyn Dickey, Menopause Friendly Accreditation Independent Panel member said: “Congratulations to the team at Thames Valley Police who demonstrated brilliant work across a wide-range of areas and have achieved a lot in a relatively short time. Really innovative work and also clearly working beyond their workplace to encourage other parts of the community to better understand the menopause. Well done to the team.”

TVP has a workforce currently made up of 47.9% women (including staff and police officers), and with policing as a career becoming more attractive for women, in the past twelve months alone women have accounted for almost 50% of our new officer recruits. Within a growing female workforce and a heightened national conversation around Menopause, we recognised a need to improve our support where this important issue was concerned and that we needed to do so dynamically.

As a result, TVP’s internal Menopause Action Group (MAG) was launched on World Menopause Day in 2021, with the aim of:

  • Raising awareness, not only for those directly affected by menopause/perimenopause but also for line managers/supervisors and colleagues to improve knowledge, understanding, and empathy.
  • Improving support in the form of shared experience and advice, including access to trained Menopause Buddies.
  • Providing training to all our staff, line managers and Senior Management Teams around the impact of menopause and how it can adversely impact both those directly and indirectly affected in a wide variety of ways.

Photo caption: Sparking conversations – DI Natalie Beresford attending an Open Day at West Berkshire Local Policing Area, where first visitors to the stand were men.

Since the launch of the group, led by Menopause Project Lead, Detective Inspector Natalie Beresford, and Detective Superintendent Kelly Gardner, Strategic Lead, our force has driven changes in areas such as:

  • Policies and practices: such as reasonable adjustments, sickness recording, and occupational health referrals, allowing supportive adjustments in relation to managing menopause symptoms in the workplace, and transparency around menopause-related conversations.
  • Uniform: allowing some permitted changes that improve the comfort of people impacted by menopause.
  • Buddy scheme: a support network of 50 individuals who have all been trained to provide help and support to individuals affected by menopause.
  • Training: bringing workshops and creating dedicated colleague and manager information packs aimed at supporting people in the workplace through menopause.

Currently, TVP has 18 MAG members actively driving forward policies, with Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) and South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) being highly involved and supporting these improvements since the launch of the group.

Chief Constable John Campbell QPM said: “In Thames Valley Police, as an organisation striving to be a workplace where everyone can flourish, we are committed to raising awareness, increasing support and investing in training for the workforce about the impact of the menopause. We are extremely proud of becoming the first UK police force to be granted this accreditation. It is testament to the hard work and focus that has gone into enhancing our practices and procedures.”

In addition to the accreditation, Thames Valley Police has also been named as a finalist in two categories of the industry-recognised Menopause Friendly Employer Awards – powered by HSBC UK, first direct and M&S Bank.

Organised by Menopause Friendly and supported by the CIPD, the inaugural Menopause Friendly Employer Awards attracted over 85 entries across 10 categories.

Thames Valley Police has been shortlisted in the following two categories:

  • Most Open Workplace – for the organisation that has created a series of initiatives to allow for open conversations around menopause, including support from senior leadership through awareness and education. Other finalists alongside TVP include WW and Santander UK.
  • Best Engagement Campaign – for the organisation that has created a campaign that has ignited changing perceptions of menopause in the workplace through creativity, making it a normal conversation. Other finalists alongside TVP include Boots UK and QVC UK.

“The standard of work and level of activity demonstrated by entrants to the first-ever Menopause Friendly Employer Awards has been really high. I’m delighted to see recognition for the hard work being done at Thames Valley Police to open conversations and raise awareness of menopause in the workplace,” said Deborah Garlick, CEO of Henpicked: Menopause in The Workplace.

When speaking about this achievement, DI Natalie Beresford, Menopause Action Group lead, said: “I am so proud of what we have achieved for our force. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our organisation, our Chief Constable, our Chief Constable’s Management Team, and our MAG members, who have done this in addition to their daily jobs.
“The accreditation is recognition of the hard work we’ve put into it in such a short period of time, all of us coming together to push this important project forward.
“The aim of MAG isn’t just to reach out only to the women in our organisation, we’re focused on everyone, educating men, partners, supervisors, managers about the menopause and raising awareness about it.
“We want to make sure that the menopause is no longer a taboo, but something that is talked about openly, and we will continue to do so to best of our abilities.
“We couldn’t imagine not having the maternity and paternity policies we have today. Now it is time for menopause policies to catch up.”