Diversity in the Metropolitan Police

UK Police

Recently, the top Met chief was angered when asked in an interview about the seeming disparity between the ethnic minority population in London and its representation within the London police force.

In a heated and tempered outburst, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe stated that he knew the figures in his own workforce, giving a figure of 1 in 4 for police staff,  12% for police officers of ethnic minority backgrounds and of ‘specials’ also 1 in 4. Before this figure could then be discussed, the chief went on the offensive, demanding to know what the radio station’s own figures were.

The radio host was bemused and responded that he was unaware of the figures, before the chief retorted, “No, I didn’t think you would have, nobody ever has. I bet people like the BBC they, sort of, ask all these questions, but when you ask them what’s yours they never know.”

The London Assembly found that over 40% of Black, Asian and Multi Ethnic (BAME) people make up the population of London, and are so underrepresented in the police force- with just 3% being composed of BAME women. According to the BBC, The assembly’s Police and Crime Committee found that less than 6% of the force’s BAME officers are ranked inspector or above.

There are signs of efforts to actively improve the diversification of the Met. Joanne McCartney, chair of the committee, said: “The Met has made some progress, not just in recruiting a more diverse workforce, but also in ensuring there is better understanding and appreciation of diversity. However, as the population becomes ever more diverse, the challenge for the Met to reflect this diversification becomes even greater.”

A plan was announced last year to recruit 5000 more constables from within London itself. This ought to help to significantly alter the demographics of the force and to reflect the ethnic diversity of the capital within the institution. Claire Davies, the deputy director of HR for the Met acknowledged the challenges faced but also hinted at encouraging signs of change.

She stated that “we know from some of our existing officers that one of their biggest challenges is persuading their families that policing is a credible profession. We want to do more to influence family members and will be launching an ambassador’s scheme later this year, in which volunteers will tell the community about the role of a police officer and help build confidence in the Met.”

“Six months into the campaign, we have received over 14,726 registrations of which 30% are from black and minority ethnic communities and 25% from women. While this represents great progress, there is still more to do to realise our ambition of a Met that looks and feels like London.”

Source: Diversity Link



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