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Former police chief and Army veteran on a mission to improve BAME representation in Military and Emergency Services

Former police chief and Army veteran on a mission to improve BAME representation in Military and Emergency Services

A former police chief from Derby has launched a new not-for-profit business aimed at creating more senior leaders from the black and minority ethnic community in uniformed services such as Armed Forces and emergency services.

Kul Mahay, once one of the most senior Asian officer in the UK police service, now specialises in emotional intelligence and leadership.

He has teamed up with army veteran, Samuel T Reddy, to create TriPotential; a social enterprise which will help those working in the military, police and emergency services to recruit and retain the highest calibre of BAME staff possible – with the potential of them becoming leaders of the future.

TriPotential will also support those leaving the uniformed services to transfer their skills into public sector roles.

It comes after a 2020 study conducted by the prison officer workforce found that, of the 23,461 officers in England and Wales, 93.1% were white with just 6.4% of a BAME background. The rest preferred not to state their ethnicity.

The statistics for the Armed Forces are not much better. BAME people make up only 2.6% of officers and 10.3% of other ranks in the UK regular forces, according to a 2020 Government survey. 

Due to launch early 2021, TriPotential are hoping that, with financial backing, they will be able to offer their services for free.

Kul said:

“When I left the police five years ago, after more than 30 years’ service, I had no idea how to move forward in my new life. A programme like TriPotential, where the skills I had learned during my time with the police, could have been identified and adapted to transition into other organisations, would have been perfect.”

Kul has worked with universities, colleges and NHS Trusts to develop their leadership projects but it is the first time he will have worked with the military – an area in which partner Samuel T Reddy has several years’ expertise.

The pair met when, back in January, Samuel attended Kul’s Ignite Your Inner Potential leadership conference in Derby. Striking up an instant connection, Kul was fascinated by Samuel’s story.

Born in Mauritius with family who worked on sugar cane plantations, Samuel left his homeland to become one of the 6,000 Commonwealth personnel who serve the UK Armed Forces every year.

But it was when Samuel left the Armed Forces that he encountered challenges which, ultimately, gave him the idea of setting up a project to support others in a similar situation.

Currently, when Commonwealth personnel leave the Armed Forces and wish to apply to continue to live in the country they have served for years, they face thousands of pounds of fees – typically £10,000 for a service leaver with a partner and two children - to do so.

Samuel said:

“It was an honour to serve in the British Armed Forces. However, since leaving the military, I have faced a number of challenges, including paying the Service Charge – of which there is a campaign by the Royal British Legion to change the law.

“I also had to integrate into British society and seek employment after leaving the military. Like Kul, I needed a social enterprise similar to what TriPotential will aim to offer.

“I want to empower cultures and create an environment where people feel valued and appreciated.”

Supporting BAME communities is something Kul has always been passionate about, having advised the police force following the death of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993. He also co-founded the Black Police Association, supporting BAME colleagues and the police service across the UK, and was one of the very first Vice Presidents of the National Black Police Association.

The 54-year-old has recently been helping universities – including Sheffield Hallam and Lincoln University – police forces, NHS, schools, HSE and the wider public sector to create emotionally-intelligent cultures where BAME staff can equally thrive.

He said:

“There are uncomfortable conversations surrounding race and equality which we still need to have.”

“Over the past several decades our important uniformed services have worked tirelessly to recruit more candidates from our BAME communities.  Yet we still seem to find it challenging in achieving this.

“Very often, the focus has been on the recruitment element and yet little has been done to advance retention and progression within the services so we end up losing staff. We are committed to looking at the issue much more holistically, to help these important organisations recruit high calibre staff from BAME communities and to support them to excel in our vital uniformed services.

“Only then can we truly see increased representation of our diverse communities across the UK.

“During my time with the police, as a minority ethnic member of the service, I worked hard on trying to get the best out of the minority staff and to improve the service for BAME communities.

“Race issues transcend across all organisations and societies and we must do whatever we can to create an inclusive and equal platform for everyone to thrive.”


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