The PPA was founded in 2009 by police officers and staff from Hertfordshire Constabulary, Humberside Police, and the Metropolitan Police Service, to tackle the issues surrounding Paganism in the police service and in the community.
Paganism is the 7th largest religion in the United Kingdom. In the 2001 census 40,332 people recorded themselves as Pagan, representing 0.07750% of the population of England and Wales.
Pagans in a public role often feel uncomfortable in identifying their faith for fear of ridicule and discrimination and because they have no established support or representation specific to their faith. The media provides much evidence to prove that Paganism is still very much misunderstood and misrepresented, whether by design or due to a lack of knowledge. Many Pagans, whether in the police service or not, will only share their faith with those that they trust with such information, be it fellow practitioners, family, or close friends.
Although the continued work of the police service and other agencies is making the workplace a more accepting place for all employees, there are several examples of discrimination or a lack of consideration towards Pagans within the police service. The opportunity for misunderstanding and inaccuracies would be lessened if Pagans were better represented, and if police officers and staff were offered accurate information about Paganism.
Many police services, in a bid to be more representative and supportive of their employees and the public which they serve, are diversifying many aspects of the work force. One example of this is the chaplaincy. Constabularies are now incorporating Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Pagan and other faiths into their once Christian dominated chaplaincies. Whilst Christian chaplains remain in the majority, the support systems available to those of other faiths are being actively promoted. The recruiting of Pagan chaplains into the police service is an acknowledgement of the increasing numbers of Pagans choosing to work in the police service, and the changes of attitude between them. Paganism is itself a pantheistic and polytheistic religion, meaning that the Pagan chaplains currently work effectively with all employees and their fellow chaplains in a constructive and supportive manner regardless of their chosen path.
The government and the police service are at the forefront of diversity, and they continually strive to better represent the public that they serve. Paganism is a perfect example of a religion that has, by its very definition, embodied equality and diversity in all things.
The tenets of Paganism concentrate on community and the acceptance of others, with its pantheistic nature it acknowledges and accepts that different people believe in different deities, and that some do not believe in deities at all. Pagans accept these deities and those who worship them, whilst adhering to their chosen path, and treat all individuals as autonomous and self-defining.
The PPA aims to represent a faith that embodies a great sense of acceptance, community and environmental awareness. It acknowledges that each of the recognised faiths promote good lessons, life values and experiences from which we can all benefit. The PPA recognises that people strive to make the world a better place for themselves and their communities by living their lives adhering to the principles and tenets that they adopt, whether through life experience or religion.
Pagans do not set themselves above or outside nature, but recognise their place within it. The PPA understands and promotes our co-dependency with the Earth and therefore promotes the tenets of community and the pursuit of peace and prosperity.
The PPA aims to promote and support Pagans in the police service, by working with others regardless of sex, gender, age, faith, ethnicity, sexuality, nationality, disability, race or cultural heritage, and by promoting diversity as a source of celebration, not discrimination. Evidence shows that an ever-increasing proportion of society is Pagan and that the police service needs to embrace Paganism in order to represent their communities effectively.
The PPA will enhance the relationship between the police service and the communities that they serve, by working with partner agencies, partaking in community events, public surgeries and training in a bid to reduce crime and the fear of crime in the UK.PA is primarily a faith support group, but it will strive to work with everyone towards the betterment and understanding of the world around us, our communities, and those living in them.