Police to Publish Diversity Profiles

The Home Office recently published an overview of the amount of ethnic minority and female officers across England and Wales’ 43 forces.

The Home Secretary, Theresa May announced a ‘hard truth’ in that black and ethnic minority workers are underrepresented in the police force as a whole, with four forces having no black officers at all. Despite making up 51% of the population, women only account for 28% of police officers. There are also no black Chief Constables within the force.

The Home Secretary was speaking at the National Black Policing Association in Birmingham, where she urged the police force to better reflect the demographic of the people they serve.

With the launch of the BME 2020 Vision, the government is attempting to galvanise all public sector organisations to make their workforces racially representative. Improving diversity to reflect demographics across the country is a major priority, particularly for the police.

The Home Secretary said:

“Increasing diversity in our police forces is not an optional extra. It goes right to the heart of this country’s historic principle of policing by consent. We must ensure that the public have trust and confidence in the police, and that the police reflect the communities they serve.

 “Statistics show that there are only two chief officers who self-identify as BME in England and Wales, and eleven forces with no BME officers above even the rank of chief inspector.

“This is simply not good enough. I hope these figures will provide chief constables with the information they need to identify areas for improvement and for the public and PCCs to hold them to account.”

The Chief Constable recommended a law change to allow for ‘positive discrimination.’ Simon Byrne claimed to ‘have tried every trick in the book’ to diversify the force and blamed the small amount of black people applying for work within the force as a reason for the problem.

Byrne said: “We are working as creatively as we can within the law. I still think there is an argument to be made for positive discrimination. Do we need to go back to government with a plea to change the legislation? It would help me wrestle with the fact I’m trying to recruit from a workforce that is predominantly white. Maybe an exploration of changing the legislation should be looked at.”

However, the Home Secretary stated her aversion to any law change saying:  “I am clear that the case for positive discrimination is deeply flawed, and we need to pursue other options if we are to improve diversity in the police.

“Moreover, convincing support for such action does not exist. When the College [of Policing] surveyed every BME officer in the country on the introduction of positive discrimination, while just over a third supported it, just over a third did not, and just under a third were undecided.

“Forces should instead take the steps that are available to them using existing positive action provisions in the Equality Act.”


Written By:

Daniel James


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