The GRTPA condemns all forms of racism or discrimination towards any individual or group of people. Our ethos is based upon fairness, respect, solidarity and the determination to improve the working conditions of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller Police Officers and staff, along with vitally improving service provision to our communities.
The month of June is a significant one for the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, as it celebrates the diverse ways in which the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities add to the vibrancy of life in the UK and recognises the varied contributions that we continue to make.
June 2020 has been an extremely difficult month for all of us. We are all outraged and disturbed by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Department officers. We continue to express our deepest sympathies and love for the friends and family of George Flloyd, but also to our black friends, colleagues and the wider communities. We stand with you in the fight against racism and we concur the Black Lives Matter campaign. We stand shoulder to shoulder and see eye to eye.
The GRTPA is also aware of other recent events occurring in Europe, whereby Police brutality against the Roma communities is still present. An example would be from Slovakia. A police officer is said to have beaten five young children with a baton and according to the children’s testimony, he even threatened to shoot them. The entire incident is said to have been observed and unchallenged by a soldier from the Slovak army. We understand an investigation has been launched however this demonstrates what our communities across the world are still subject to.
Racism and discrimination towards Gypsy, Roma and Travellers is also very much prevalent within the UK and unfortunately the Police service isn’t an exception. Our members often report incidents to us, some of which we find truly appalling and ensure are immediately acted upon.
Finally, we would like to thank the Deputy Chief Constable of Kent Police, Tony Blaker who on Wednesday 24th June 2020 raised the Romani flag outside their headquarters, along with our director, Kate West. This is a significant step forwards and a sign of support, solidarity and appreciation for Police Officers and staff who are of Gypsy, Roma and Traveller heritage, but also for our communities, for which we, the GRTPA are extremely grateful. Sadly, this has been met by a lot of negativity online and even racist comments. We are confident some of the comments were made by serving and retired officers, which is very disappointing. Those individuals are the main reason the GRTPA has been formed - to fight against discrimination towards Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Police Officers, staff and the communities.