PinkNews.co.uk staff writer

Lothian and Borders police has been named the most gay-friendly employer in Scotland.

The force came 11th in the UK list, up from 80th in 2007.

Stonewall published its 2008 Workplace Equality Index (WEI) today.

It showcases Britain’s top 100 employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Tom Halpin, Deputy Chief Constable of Lothian and Borders Police, said:

“Lothian and Borders Police is delighted to receive the award of top Scottish employer for 2008 in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

“The award and these achievements are testament to the Force’s long standing commitment to diversity issues internally and also with the many partners we work with in this arena.

“Lothian and Borders Police has a close working relationship with Stonewall on lesbian, gay and bisexual issues and these results emphasise the importance we place on maintaining, and improving on the progress we have made over recent years.”

South Wales Police was named the most gay-friendly employer in the principality, followed by the Welsh Assembly Government, Environment Agency Wales and Gwent Police.

Liz Morgan, Director of Stonewall Cymru, said:

“The standard of entry was particularly high this year as many businesses recognise the benefits of being a gay-friendly employer.

“Increasingly, the Index is being used by job-seekers and students when deciding who to take their skills to, and by employers who are looking to deliver a first class service to their employees and service users.”

South Wales Police Chief Constable Barbara Wilding said:

“I am delighted at the news that South Wales Police has risen 25 places in the Stonewall Equality Index and this shows our continued commitment to creating a workplace where our LGB staff feel valued.

“South Wales Police first appeared in the index last year and since then, we have carried on working hard to set an example and continue leading organisations in Wales by driving forward the equality agenda across all areas of diversity.

“Not only do our staff benefit from this, but we will be able to deliver a quality of service to our communities.

“I am determined to ensure that people who are LGB who live in, work or visit the South Wales area can feel secure that if they do experience homophobic hate crime their police service will provide them with an A* service.”

The Scottish Government was the second best Scottish employer, coming 51st in the top 100. The UK-wide top employer for 2008 is Nacro, the national crime reduction charity.

The top 100 employers were ranked according to criteria ranging from implementation of effective equality policies to practical demonstration of good practice in recruitment and mentoring and how they engage with lesbian and gay staff, customers and service users.

The WEI is also now routinely used in both the private and public sectors to measure improvement.

The 1.7 million gay people in the UK workforce use it to see how their employer compares with rivals.

It’s also a key resource for the 150,000 gay students in UK universities, who use it when deciding where they want to take their talents upon graduation.

The Workplace Equality Index will be launched this evening at an awards ceremony and champagne reception at the London Transport Museum in London sponsored by Transport for London.