In 1990 a joint initiative between black staff within the Metropolitan Police in London and a specialist support unit specialising in community and race relations training based in Turvey Bedfordshire raised concerns about staff wastage. This led to a meeting of Black staff from the Metropolitan Police. This meeting known as the Bristol Seminars led to the formation of a black support network. Other BME officers had met in other environments and discovered a commonality of issues.
The Metropolitan Black Police association then formed following discussions between black staff and the MPS. The association, which formed in September 1994, was launched by the then MPS Commissioner.
At the launch the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police said,
“I have made it clear where I stand. I see the formation of this Association as the only way forward”.
From its inception the NBPA has sought to highlight issues facing BME staff in the Police Service, helping those in need of support by lending a listening ear and giving support.
In October 1996 with interest having grown across the country in the work of the BPA, a National Communication Network was formed. This network consisted of BME staff members spanning the length and breadth of the country. It was quickly realised that the only way forward was to form a national association, speaking with “ONE VOICE, STRENGTH IN UNITY”.
In early 1998 officers and staff met with RT HON Jack Straw then Home Secretary to discuss the role of BPA’s. The meeting resulted in tangible support with regular meetings between Home Office staff and the National Communication Network.
In November 1998 the National Black Police Association became a reality when an interim executive was elected to take the association to launch. The executive committee was comprised of 14 executive members from 12 Constabularies.
The post holders included a Chair, Deputy Chair, General Secretary and Treasurer.
The then Home Secretary, the Rt. Hon Jack Straw, gave full support to the NBPA voicing this in many public forum.
The BPA’s continue to grow nationally as do similar organisations within other public sector organisations.