More still needs to be done to attract BAME candidates into policing
The APCC’s Workforce Lead says more still needs to be done to attract Black and Ethnic Minority candidates into policing.
Kim McGuinness was speaking today during a discussion on Police Recruitment During the Pandemic at the Police Federation Conference, hosted virtually.
She said: “Our new recruits look ever more diverse and that is only a good thing. Certainly as a PCC - and I know that I can speak on behalf of PCCs of both the major political parties on this - everybody wants to see our police better reflect our communities.
“What we’re finding though, and I think we have to be very honest about this, is our uplift in the number of women into forces is going very well but actually uplifting Black and Minority Ethic candidates is going less well.
“I think that’s nothing to do with the recruitment campaigns. I think that’s to do with the image of policing; policing’s relationship with those communities; it’s to do with what people expect from policing; it’s cultural. There’s a whole range of issues that we have to break down and tackle and speak to.
“One of the conversations I’ve had as a PCC locally, and also on the Workforce side nationally, is about how we have more visible BME leadership in policing. How we make it so that people who want to have a career in policing, who come from a less traditional background, are advocated for and brought through, and made to feel valued.”
Summarising, she said increasing workforce diversity was an important aim, “but the levers we have to tackle it have got to be much more widespread than simply a good recruitment campaign”.
Ms McGuinness, the elected Police and Crime Commissioner for Northumbria, also praised forces for how they had adapted to sustain the ongoing recruitment drive during the pandemic.
She said: "Northumbria has adapted incredibly well. I’ve been really pleased with the progress that they’ve made against bringing new recruits into the force. One of things I make sure I do as a PCC is I go and meet them on day one along with the Chief. We talk to new recruits and get the chance to ask and answer questions.
“There are probably joiners in Northumbria who may not have considered putting an application in if it hadn’t been for the pandemic. I think it has made people reevaluate. I think a lot of people have thought really long and hard about what job they want to do and I definitely think that’s added to the recruitment pool.”