Police chiefs defend lack of Nottinghamshire black police officers

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping says more needs to be done to recruit police officers from black and ethnic minorities.

Mr Tipping’s comments follow recent Home Office statistics, which revealed just 4.4 per cent of police officers in Nottinghamshire are from black or ethnic minorities, despite the proportion in the local population standing at 11.2 per cent.

Nottinghamshire Police also said they encourage all applications from people of ‘under-represented’ groups.

Speaking at a conference at the National Black Police Association this week, Home Secretary Theresa May criticised forces in England and Wales, saying the figures should act as a “wake up call”.

Mr Tipping said: “Recognising that we needed to improve and sustain the diversity of our workforce we commissioned a report on BME experiences of policing.

“We listened to what people told us, and we made changes.

“I was pleased that in the last round of recruitment 14 per cent of successful applicants were from BME backgrounds.

“However, I know that we need to do more and we remain on the case. But, like many police forces, we are now in a position where we have had to cease recruitment in order to meet the funding cuts we face, which obviously doesn’t help the situation.

“We also asked the workforce for their views and have taken these on board, the good and the critical. One step taken as a result has been sending BME officers on training courses to help them increase their career potential.”

Elsewhere, according to the Home Office figures, South Yorkshire Police has just 3.3 per cent, Derbyshire Constabulary 3.4 per cent and Lincolnshire Police 1.6 per cent.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Torr, of Nottinghamshire Police, said “We have a strong commitment to equality and diversity in Nottinghamshire Police, and when we have opened recruitment to the force we have proactively sought to employ a workforce that reflects the diverse communities we serve.

“We have done this by encouraging applications from people in under-represented groups who are looking for new and challenging career opportunities. To achieve this, we have used a policy of Positive Action.

“Positive Action is a range of lawful actions that seek to overcome or minimise disadvantages in employment opportunities that people who share a protected characteristic, which includes race.

“Positive Action is not to be confused with positive discrimination, which is unlawful, and all applications are treated equally and on merit.

“Unfortunately, the current financial climate means that the force is not currently recruiting officers, but when recruitment is able to begin again it is up to us to promote policing as a career which is rewarding and appealing to all.”