Derby business news

‘There’s still a lot of work to be done,’ says the former police chief inspiring BAME leaders

A FORMER police chief who was a founder member of the UK’s Black Police Association is now working with universities, organisations, NHS Trusts and police services to develop courses aimed at inspiring leaders from the black and minority ethnic community.

Kul Mahay was once one of the most senior Asian police officers in the UK. The 54-year-old, who left the police service five years ago after more than 30 years with Derbyshire Constabulary, was one of the very first Vice Presidents of the National Black Police Association and helped support the development of support networks in police forces around the country. 

Now specialising in leadership, emotional and social intelligence, Kul has previously worked with high level Government ministers – including Home Secretaries, Jack Straw and David Blunkett – as well as police chiefs across the UK to bring about change. 

More recently, though, Kul has been helping universities, including Sheffield Hallam and University of Lincoln, Nottinghamshire Police and various NHS Trusts to create bespoke courses for BAME leaders.

Kul wants leading organisations to create healthy environments where uncomfortable conversations about race become the norm.

He said: “Diversity and inclusion is about creating an open environment where these uncomfortable conversations about race become the norm and we learn the collective power of having diverse views in our organisations rather than everyone coming from the same background and thus creating homogenous cultures. 

“Demographic diversity, such as race, sex and gender orientation has proved time and again to improve cognitive diversity, that is about an organisation having the ability to see things with a variety of perceptions.

“I have been asked why I am creating these courses specifically for the black and minority ethnic community and the short answer is that, unfortunately, this eutopia where everyone is equal, doesn’t yet exist. There is still a gap that needs to be plugged and we cannot underestimate that the impact of repeated, low level or subtle discrimination can have on the mindset and self-confidence of BAME staff.

“There is a yawning gap of disparity amongst BAME leaders at the most senior levels in most organisations. A huge part of this is because BAME staff have learned to believe less in themselves over time which is not only sad but a huge disbenefit to organisations.

“The courses which I have been working on celebrate race and how to develop the skills of BAME staff in organisations so that they have the confidence to achieve their potential.

“It was a huge honour recently, to host an open and honest debate on race and diversity with senior leaders at Sheffield Hallam University and there was lots of passion and commitment demonstrated. I’m looking forward to seeing this in their existing strategic plan.”

Kul, who advised the police service following publication of the Macpherson Report; the investigation which followed the tragic death of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993, has also produced inclusive leadership workshops for universities and organisations in the UK and worked on the development of senior teams when it comes to diversity.  

Later this year, Kul will lead a panel of experts as they discuss diversity at the Association of Commonwealth Universities conference in September.