A Derbyshire police chief says the force is ‘working hard’ to ensure that it recruits more officers from ethnic backgrounds.
It comes after a Freedom of Information request revealed that only 59 out of 1,769 officers at Derbyshire police are from ethnic backgrounds.
The request revealed the breakdown of officers from ethnic backgrounds to be:
Bangladeshi - two;
Indian - 20;
Pakistani - 12;
African - one;
Caribbean - four;
Chinese - three;
Mixed - three;
Other - one.
Chief Inspector Ranjit Dol, strategic lead for inclusion, said: “At Derbyshire Constabulary we are working hard to build a force that is inclusive and truly represents the county that we serve.
“We understand that, at this point in time, our operational officers do not mirror the mix of people that live in Derbyshire – and changing this is not ‘a nice to have’, but an operational necessity.
“As a force we are working in line with the National Police Chiefs Council workforce representation strategy which details ‘toolkits’ and recommendations.
“This strategy relates to not only BAME officers but any characteristic that is not fully represented in the force, such as women, and by 2025 the aim is to have a service that fully represents the county.
“We are already seeing the fruits of these labours in the latest PCDA degree intake – the new route through which people can join as officers. Twenty per cent of the current applicants are from a BAME background, this is as a result of applying positive action measures.
“We understand that engagement and forms of positive action has to begin much earlier than this. That is why we are specifically trying to work with schools in Derby that have a BAME population of more than 50 per cent to increase awareness of police cadets, roles within the force, the different routes to become an officer and understand the role of the police in the 21st century and ultimately make a career in the Police Service one of choice.
“My role as strategic lead for inclusion is one that has been specifically created to look at this issue and all other aspects of diversity and inclusivity. We are making progress to make the force more culturally aware, representative of the great county that we serve and, with hard work, we will see these numbers change.”
Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, has been speaking strongly about the need for a workforce that is truly representative of the community it serves since he took up office in 2016.
He said: “Opportunities for recruitment have been very limited due to the funding cuts as a result of austerity. However, with my budget this year, we can recruit a further 120 officers and staff and I know that there is renewed focus on the diversity of our workforce.
“While I’m disappointed that the percentage of officers from diverse backgrounds has not gone up as much as I hoped, I’m pleased to see that the figures are higher for PCSOs, staff and volunteers. I am supportive of all the work to increase these figures still further. I have been clear about that from the start and I’m pleased to see that positive action is being taken.
“I would like to take this opportunity to emphasise that Derbyshire Police is a great force to work in and would welcome and encourage people from our diverse communities in Derbyshire to consider joining.”