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Co-founder of social enterprise which supports military personnel backing Government plans to scrap immigration fees

Co-founder of social enterprise which supports military personnel backing Government plans to scrap immigration fees

A FORMER police chief superintendent who spent 32 years with Derbyshire Constabulary is backing the Government’s proposal to scrap immigration fees for Commonwealth servicemen and women choosing to settle in Britain after 12 years’ of service. 

Kul Mahay, from Littleover, was once one of the most senior Asian police officers in the UK and co-founded the UK’s Black Police Association. Last year, he set up TriPotential; a not-for-profit organisation which supports military personnel and helps them to transfer skills they have learned into other public sector organisations – including the police. 

Kul says that he finds it incredible that, under current laws, Commonwealth personnel face huge fees – typically £10,000 for a service leaver with a partner and two children - if they choose to live in the country they have served for several years. 

He said:

“The Royal British Legion have been campaigning for several years to waive the costs of applications which service personnel from non-UK nations currently face and I’m delighted that the Ministry of Defence and Home Office are now considering changing this. 

“At last, it seems that we may have some movement with the launch of a consultation backed by both the Home Secretary and the Secretary of State for Defence. 

“I’ve always been of the opinion that these incredible people have so much more to offer to the UK through other uniformed services, bringing cognitive and demographic diversity, military skills and potential for future leaders, increasing diversity and representation across our most critical public sector services. 

“I hope that, through TriPotential, we may be able to support these servicemen and women who decide to stay in the UK after completing their 12 years’ service and, if sufficient financial backing is given to our social enterprise, that we can offer our support and experience for free.” 

TriPotential has been well received since its launch and Kul is keen to stress just how much impact the initiative can have on our communities. 

Kul is particularly keen to encourage servicemen and women from black, Asian and mixed ethnicity backgrounds to seek support from TriPotential. 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. 

“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,” said Kul. 

“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.” 

Kul speaks from experience. He spent more than 30 years working for Derbyshire Constabulary and was once one of the most senior Asian police officers in the UK. 

A passionate supporter of BAME communities, Kul advised the police force following the death of teenager Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and co-founded the Black Police Association, supporting BAME colleagues and the police service across the UK. He was one of the very first Vice Presidents of the National Black Police Association, too. 

He said:

“After leaving the police, I was unsure as to what I wanted to do. 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. 

“I am looking forward to seeing TriPotential grow and, hopefully, seeing the immigration fees scrapped to help enable a smoother transition for our servicemen and women as they leave the military and embark on their second career.” 

The public consultation will run until July 7 on the government’s website. 

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