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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 January 2006, 10:26 GMT
Force is a gay-friendly employer
Rainbow flag
Stonewall ranked gay-friendly employers across the UK
A police force has won the title of Britain's most gay-friendly employer.

One in 10 of the 2,309 police officers at Staffordshire Police is lesbian or gay.

The force has actively encouraged the recruitment of gay and lesbian cadets and set up a scheme to give an accurate picture of homophobic attacks.

IBM came second in the list of the 100 most gay-friendly employers. The Department for Work and Pensions and Manchester City Council tied for third.

Stonewall, the gay activist charity that runs the Workplace Equality Index, said a factor in Staffordshire's success was its record of promoting lesbian and gay officers to a high level.

Staffordshire runs a True Vision scheme, intended to give an accurate picture of levels of homophobic, as well as racist and religious, attacks by inviting people to report crimes anonymously.

'Waking up'

Staffordshire Chief Constable John Gifford said: "I'm absolutely delighted.

"This recognises the work Staffordshire Police has undertaken to promote equality and diversity in our employment practice."

Stonewall chief executive Ben Summerskill said: "Like everyone else, the police are waking up to the fact that unless they promote policies to recruit and retain gay people, they risk losing a valuable source of labour and talent."

The force was ridiculed in 1997 for sending officers into public toilets in a Stoke-on-Trent park to spy through peep holes on gay men engaging in sex acts. They made 21 arrests.

The 2006 list included eight FTSE-100 companies and 11 government departments. Others at the top of the league include Credit Suisse First Boston and BT.

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