Saima Afzal MBE
Saima has worked in the field of research and community development particularly in relation to religion, gender and South Asian culture for the last 30 years. She has led on a variety of projects such as domestic violence, forced marriages, and conducted research in areas such as drugs and substance misuse, child sexual exploitation in the South Asian communities, sexuality in Islam, childcare provision for South Asian women, use of stop and search powers by Police Officers against minority communities to name but a few. Saima has a BA Hons in Criminology and a Masters in Religion & Public Life.
Saima served for over 10 years as an Independent member of the Lancashire Police Authority. Her key contribution to the Police Authority was around effective engagement with the minority communities of Lancashire, and the issues that affect them such as hate crime, use of stop and search powers, forced marriage, honour based violence, female genital mutilation and many others. Saima also served as an Executive Board Member for the Association of Police Authorities from 2007 to 2012 as the national lead for Equality, Diversity & Human Rights.
Saima served as an Assistant Commissioner for Policing in Lancashire between Dec 2012 and Nov 2014, leading on the key portfolio area of supporting ‘Victims’ of crime and involving community volunteers to improving policing in Lancashire. Saima now freelances and works on a variety of projects, such as advising the West Yorkshire PCC on how best to support victims of crime from BAME communities. Additionally Saima is recognised as a national safeguarding/public protection expert adviser on the National Crime Agency database, she is actively dealing with cases involving for example, Forced Marriages, ‘Honour’ Trafficking, Child Sexual Exploitation and other safeguarding crimes affecting BME communities. Additionally, Saima is co-authoring a book commissioned by Routledge on ‘Rape Culture’ within the context of religious transcripts and cultural interpretations.
Saima is an active Independent Human Rights campaigner as well as being the Director of her own Training and Research Consultancy, Saima Afzal Solutions (SAS, set up in 2011). Saima Afzal is also one of the Directors of SAS RIGHTS a Community Interest Company set up in Nov 2016 to provide a platform for marginalised communities to have their voices heard by the statutory agencies. Saima works very closely with the College of Policing as an External Associate on a number of work streams that cut across the arena of Protecting Vulnerable People and Equality, Diversity & Human Rights.
At 39 years old Saima was recognised for her work when she received the MBE for her Services to Policing and Community Relations in the Queen's Birthday Honours list June 2010. Saima was also given an Honorary Fellowship in Oct 2013 by Blackburn College in recognition of her academic contributions as well as her campaigning activity in the fight against discrimination and violations of Human Rights. Saima herself has been a victim of a Forced Marriage and has overcome many challenges and barriers in her fight to campaign for the rights of those affected by the injustices that still exist in society.