Appointment of new Police Race Action Plan Programme Director
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing today welcome T/Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dr Alison Heydari, as the appointed Programme Director for the Police Race Action Plan.
Previously serving as a Commander for the Metropolitan Police, Alison’s successful policing career began in 2000 as a student officer in Hampshire. Since then, Alison has progressed through the ranks to the most senior Black female police officer in the UK.
As the Programme Director, Alison will lead the direction of the Police Race Action Plan, working with communities, the NPCC, national portfolio leads (including Stop and Search), College of Policing, Chief Constables and police officers and staff.
Her priority will be focusing on what will build trust, confidence and legitimacy, including:
A comprehensive community strategy and delivery plan
Ensuring meaningful engagement with stakeholders
Prioritising activity which will make the biggest positive difference to Black communities
Ensuring those carrying out this vital work have the necessary resources to do it well
The Plan was launched in 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and the resulting Black Lives Matter movement. The Plan sets out actions needed to build an anti-racist police service and address race disparities affecting Black people working within or interacting with policing.
T/Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dr Alison Heydari said:
“Policing has come a long way over my 23 year policing career, we are now more inclusive and diverse than we have ever been. However, there is still much to be done to remove all discrimination and gain the trust and confidence of our Black staff and members of the public.
“I am honoured to take on the role of Programme Director. It is vital, for the fundamental legitimacy of UK policing, that we achieve the commitments of the Police Race Action Plan.
“At the core of the Plan, is the recognition that we need to involve Black people and to listen to their views at every stage of activity undertaken.
“The Plan is rightly ambitious and challenging. Inviting Black people, stakeholders, and ISOB to directly scrutinise pilots, evaluations, policies, practices and procedures is a new way of working for policing, and one I am proud to be part of delivering. It is only when we involve those who are most effected by our activity, to work with us on trialling new ways of working, that we can authentically achieve progress.
“Racism still exists in policing and that is unacceptable. Recent reports such as the Casey Review and media reports of racist incidents, highlight how important it is that we now work at pace to achieve change for Black people.”
Alison’s career began in 2000, policing with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary as a student officer. She was enrolled onto the Home Office Accelerated Promotion Scheme for Graduates, seeing her promoted to Sergeant with just over two years of service.
Alison is also a trained Negotiator, and a Public Order and Public Safety Gold Commander.
Most recently, Alison joined the Met in June 2020, serving as a Frontline Policing Commander, with additional responsibility for a number of portfolios including, as lead for neighbourhood policing. Her passion for the implementation of Procedural Justice is reflected in her commentaries, published papers and research.
“There have been inspiring levels of determination and innovation on the Plan.
The creation of a new reporting system for vehicle stops
Utilising technology including augmented reality to support officer learning
Improving accessibility for members of the public to join Advisory and Scrutiny panels
Creating national guidance for a range of areas including pre record on body worn videos
“There is a wealth of activity currently being undertaken to achieve the commitments of the Plan, both nationally and at local policing levels.
“The next few months will be imperative, I will be working at pace with the NPCC, College of Policing, Black Stakeholders and Chief Constables to set the Plan’s next stage of delivery.
National Police Chiefs’ Council Chair, Gavin Stephens, said:
"I am delighted to welcome Alison as the Programme Director of the Police Race Action Plan. The wide ranging and vast experience she brings to her role, is a real asset for the Plan.
"Removing discrimination in our service remains a key priority for myself and all Chief Constables.
“Whilst building an anti-racist policing service is a momentous undertaking, I am confident that with Alison taking a lead, the Plan will achieve our ambitions, and provide a policing service that can be trusted by everyone we serve."
Independent Scrutiny and Oversight Chair, Abimbola Johnson, said:
“We welcome the appointment of Dr Alison Heydari as the new Programme Director for the Race Action Plan. This fills an important vacancy in the Programme structure where key leadership is required. We hope that Dr Heydari will provide a fresh perspective on the Plan that will incorporate the innovative thinking required to deliver its anti-racist goal.”
“As highlighted in our first annual report, there are key opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for the Race Action Plan. We have outlined our key recommendations for the next stages of the Race Action Programme, including:
Restructuring the Race Action Programme to better reflect an anti-racism programme
Provision of adequate resourcing to the Plan
An increase in engagement with external stakeholders
The development and delivery of a clear communications strategy
Tangible and measurable performance metrics
Identification of clear areas of focus
Improvements to the flow of information to the Independent Scrutiny & Oversight Board.
“We hope that our feedback serves as a blueprint for how the Race Action Plan can become an actionable, robust, and genuinely anti-racist programme of work that the public deserves.”
“We look forward to working with Dr Heydari to ensure that the Race Action Plan achieves the aims it set out to accomplish three years ago.”