Irene Afful joined Merseyside Police in February 1991 almost 10 years on from the Toxteth riots and after suffering racial abuse at the hands of the police. She served 25 years as an officer, rising to the rank of Detective Inspector. In 2003, she became the first black female inspector in the history of Merseyside Police. She designed and developed a leadership programme which was instrumental in increasing the recruitment of BME and other minority groups to the force. She was elected Chair of the Black Police Association where she supported the retention and progression of BME officers, as well as building positive relations between the police service and the BME community. In 2015/16, Irene was headhunted to work as a consultant for the College of Policing, working with and supporting 21 forces across the country in addressing BME, and other minority groups, under-representation. She targeted recruitment, retention and progression issues, including reviewing and assessing positive action processes. Irene is now Founder & Director of Ametrine Enterprise Solutions Coaching & Consultancy where she continues to pursue her passion for equality, diversity and inclusion, leadership development and well-being at work. She is a published author and holds a Master’s degree.
I am passionate about equality and the Northern Power Women, for me, is about showcasing the enormous talent of women in the North, who’s voices often go unheard in this London-Centric culture of Britain. It’s about providing younger generations with role models that they can aspire to, even exceed. It’s about making sure the North has a voice to advance women in their careers and businesses to fulfil their potential and get a piece of the action. It’s about empowerment.
Overcoming barriers of sexism, racism and unconscious bias to achieve in a white male dominated organisation and being a force for change.
Northern talent is often overlooked and people can feel that the only way to truly progress and be recognised is to move South. We need to show case the talent and achievements of Northern role models to inspire people in the North, show them what they can aspire to and that they can do it right here, if they choose. It’s hugely important that we get more balance between the North and South for our economy, survival and wellbeing.