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NZ Police at the Auckland Pride Parade in 2023. Photo: NZ POLICE

Rainbow 101 Inclusion Training for police

New Zealand Police has launched it’s first ever online rainbow community inclusion training, as part of its aim to better serve diverse communities.

The module is designed to provide all police staff with learnings on inclusivity. It is the first of several training modules to improve knowledge and understanding among staff.

The Rainbow 101 training module is modelled after a similar training structure introduced at ACC. It features a video introduction with senior sergeant Rhona Stace, senior prevention partnerships advisor for inclusion, who also happens to be transgender.

The module covers inclusive language, pronouns, and terminology, and provides a brief overview of rainbow communities.

For frontline staff, there is a section on statement-taking and recording of names and genders that may differ from those on record, as well as a section covering same-sex relationships.

Since the voluntary training module’s launch in January 2023, around 1350 staff have completed it. According to community inclusion lead Sharon Johnston, this represents just under 10% of all police employees, a fantastic achievement.

Sharon Johnston was employed in the position in July 2021, and with the support of diversity liaison officers across the country as well as other allies, has seen police take some big steps forward.

“I am very proud to be able to lead this programme of work, on the shoulders of the giants who came before me who I feel privileged to follow,” Sharon said.

“As the visibility of rainbow communities grow, it’s important that we respond to ensure our staff understand our rainbow communities and improve how we interact and work with them.

“We have undertaken some great transformation work in the past six months, and we know this is just the beginning. We want our rainbow communities across Aotearoa to feel confident that they can approach the police if they need to and know they will be listened to and supported.”

A statement from NZ Police stated the launch of the Rainbow 101 training module marked a “significant milestone” in the police’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in New Zealand, and shows its commitment to improving its staff’s knowledge and understanding of rainbow communities, a crucial step in creating a more inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.

Diversity liaison officers are located throughout New Zealand to provide liaison between police and those in the community who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (rainbow communities). They can be contacted via