Newest police recruits less ethnically diverse than existing workforce
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk Constabulary has stressed it is committed to improving diversity despite just one of the force’s newest 56 recruits coming from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.
The statistic was revealed in an update on progress with the national recruitment of 20,000 officers – on course to take place by March 2023.
Just 1.8% of new joiners between April and September were from BAME groups – compared to 3.2% of the overall existing workforce.
Nationally, 10.7% of 6,246 new recruits were from BAME groups – with only four areas of England and Wales recording a lower percentage than Suffolk.
When a previous headcount showed that 3.1% of Suffolk officers were from BAME backgrounds in June, the constabulary declared the planned national uplift a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically improve diversity, adding that it was encouraged by an increasing number of new applicants from diverse backgrounds.
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Chief Superintendent Tonya Antonis said the force currently had applications from BAME candidates in progress.
“We’re encouraged by the number of applications in the pipeline and we want to be able to translate that into new recruits,” she added.
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“Just because an application goes in, it doesn’t necessarily mean the applicant will follow the recruitment process all the way through, so we have to keep working hard to sell the benefits of policing and reassure people that Suffolk is a rewarding a safe place to police.
“Our aspiration is to be more representative of the communities we serve.
“We don’t want to see the percentage of joiners from BAME backgrounds dropping off.
“We want the right people coming into policing for the right reasons, with the right skills and experience.”
Ch Supt Antonis said the force recognised the importance and value of a truly inclusive workforce.
She said it had recently recruited a Positive Action advisor to reach out and work across communities, and continued to work with education establishments and community groups to promote the work of the force, encouraging applications from underrepresented groups.