Engaging the LGBT+ community in public service leadership: experiences from Local Government and the Police

Key Information

Friday 26 February12:00 - 13:30Please complete the booking form to receive joining instructions.

About the talk

This collaborative event is in conjunction with Hertfordshire Constabulary and City of London Police.

Join us for a thought-provoking keynote with Carl Austin-Behan OBE DL, the first openly homosexual Lord Mayor of Manchester and now an advocate for inclusion and equality. This will be followed by a panel discussion where Carl will be joined by Inspector Steven Alison from Hertfordshire Constabulary, who was pivotal in making Hertfordshire Constabulary one of the first police services to offer gender neutral uniforms; and Temporary Commander Clinton Blackburn from City of London Police, who Co-chairs the National Police LGBT+ Network. This event will be chaired by Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Matthew Weait.

If you have a question that you would like to be considered during the panel discussion please do submit these in advance by emailing events@herts.ac.uk.

About the speakers

Carl Austin-Behan OBE DL

Carl is the LGBT+ advisor to the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham. His work involves visiting schools, youth groups and workplaces in both the public and private sector to promote diversity, equality, inclusion and respect.

Carl started his career in the RAF. During active service he received awards and recognition for his bravery, including the RAF Safety Centre’s Good Show Award, and the Royal Humane Society’s award for rescuing a pilot from a burning Hawk Aircraft. He was mentioned in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 1996, with a Commander in Chief’s commendation. In 1997 Carl was dismissed from the RAF as it was deemed that his homosexuality was incompatible with service life. This was a defining moment and since then Carl has dedicated himself to actively engaging diverse LGBTQ+ communities to ensure that all voices are heard and amplified.

In his post-RAF career, Carl has found great success in business, the fire service, charity, community and politics. He is a campaigner for matters affecting LGBT+ people and has held roles in the public sector:

  • in 2001 Carl won a national competition Mr Gay UK
  • in 2005 Carl was appointed Chair of Manchester’s Gay Village Business Association
  • in 2008 Carl was a member of the Greater Manchester Police Independent Advisory Group, supporting LGBT+ issues
  • 2011 Carl turned to politics and was elected Labour Member for Burnage Ward
  • in 2016 Carl became the first openly homosexual Lord Mayor of Manchester
  • in 2018 Carl was made LGBT+ advisor to the Mayor of Greater Manchester
  • in 2018, Carl was awarded by an Honorary Degree by the University of Bolton
  • in November 2019 Carl was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Greater Manchester
  • in 2020 Carl was awarded an OBE for services to charity and LGBT+ Equality.

During his time in office as Lord Mayor of Manchester, Carl raised public awareness and promoted the diversity, contribution and achievements of LGBTQ+ individuals to the community, as well as highlighting issues faced by individuals. He also raised more than half-a-million pounds for the Lord Mayor’s Charity.

Carl married his long-term partner, Simon in 2015, and in 2019 they had a daughter, with a lesbian couple and she is being raised with dual parents.

Carl believes that different identities and sexual orientations should be respected and celebrated.

Temporary Commander Clinton Blackburn

Temporary Commander Clinton Blackburn was appointed as the Head of the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate in August 2020. He is Co-chair of the National Police LGBT+ Network.

Clinton began his career in Bedfordshire Police before joining the City of London Police.

As the Head of Economic Crime within the City of London he oversees a diverse range of operational units, each focused on complex and specialist aspects of economic crime. This includes investigations into serious fraud, money laundering, overseas anti-corruption, intellectual property crime, cyber protect team, insurance fraud enforcement and asset recovery. He is also responsible for The Economic Crime Academy which provides training and accreditation to a range of policing, law enforcement and private agencies.

The City of London is the lead force for Economic Crime and Temporary Commander Blackburn coordinates that response across UK policing. As part of this portfolio Temporary Commander Blackburn oversees national services such as Action Fraud, and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, which incorporates the Economic Crime Victim Care Unit. His vision is to work with partners, to disrupt the activity of criminals across the UK, and to improve the effectiveness of the policing response at a local, regional and national level.

Inspector Steven Alison

Steve is an Inspector for Hertfordshire Constabulary, he is responsible for managing response policing across the districts of St Albans & Dacorum. Steve is also a student at the University of Hertfordshire studying an MSC in Public Services Management as part of his Level 7 Senior Leader Apprenticeship.

Over the course of his career Steve has worked in various neighbourhood policing roles and led the introduction of Police Now into the Constabulary, with the aim to transform communities by recruiting, developing, and inspiring diverse leaders in policing. Steve is also the Chair of the Herts Police LGBT+ Network, a group of LGBT+ employees that aim to bridge the gap between the Constabulary and local LGBT+ communities. He is also the Co-chair of the Eastern Region LGBT+ Police Network and sits on the national board.

Over the last few years Steve has been successful in making Hertfordshire Constabulary one of the first police services to offer a gender neutral uniform, as well as using the Constabulary as a platform for supporting local trans young people.