Black and ethnic minority officers speak out on recruitment

Those surveyed have said they are split on the benefit of positive discrimination

​Two surveys of black and minority ethnic (BME) officers from every force in England and Wales have revealed they are split on the benefit of positive discrimination.

The two surveys, which looked at recruitment, retention and progression of BME officers, were the first of their kind and attracted responses from almost a quarter - 1,706 (24 per cent) - of BME officers.

The survey revealed the majority of respondents are looking to progress to a higher rank within the next ten years, with just over a third (36 per cent) applying for promotion in the past five years.

Just over a fifth (22 per cent) of respondents in the constable to inspector ranks stated that their ultimate goal was to become a chief officer. 

Officers were split on the benefit of positive discrimination in increasing representation in policing with a third (34 per cent) in support of its introduction, a third (34.5 per cent) against and a third (31.5 per cent) undecided.   

The survey of police forces showed that half have used targeted recruitment drives to bring in more BME people into policing with 17 forces reporting this to be 'fairly' or 'very' successful in improving representation. 

Half of all forces reported using positive action - where forces take action to help BME candidates overcome the organisational and other barriers which make them less likely to succeed than their colleagues.  Three forces perceived this type of strategy as 'very' successful.

The surveys are released on the same day we published new advice for police forces on positive action to help them address under-representation within policing.  

College of Policing lead for BME Progression 2018, Assistant Chief Constable Richard Bennett, said:

"These surveys are an important step in understanding the barriers to recruitment, retention and progression of black and ethnic minority police officers and what forces can do to overcome them.

While it's clear that forces are doing a lot of work in this area, black and ethnic minority police officers are telling us that there is still work to do, particularly in terms of development plans and around increasing transparency in selection processes."

"We are now sharing the good work that forces are doing in this area across the service and the next step will be to put in place initiatives that can be evaluated so we can be confident they will bring benefits in supporting recruitment and career progression."

Police Federation of England and Wales's equalities and diversity sub-committee secretary, Jayne Willetts, said:

"For the public to have faith in the police service it is imperative that forces treat every candidate fairly and equally, providing opportunities for every officer and staff member to reach their full potential. This should include support and help for candidates throughout their career whether they are preparing for promotion, dealing with an unsuccessful promotion application or developing their skills in a particular role.

"This issue goes to the heart of the service's legitimacy in the eyes of the public and managers must do whatever they can to ensure that no officer's job prospects or promotion opportunities are unfairly hindered."

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