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News ->New measures to aid ethnic minority recruitment & progression in the police service

New measures to aid ethnic minority recruitment and progression in the police
(20 November 2008)

Asian Police OfficerPolicing Minister Vernon Coaker today published his Assessment of Minority Ethnic Recruitment, Retention and Progression in the Police Service. The report confirms police forces are already doing good work to aid minority ethnic recruitment, retention and progression in the police, with minority ethnic officer representation in the police service doubling over the last ten years.

Vernon Coaker will drive forward initiatives to overcome barriers in minority ethnic recruitment, retention and progression in the police through his new Ministerial Steering Group which will deliver the recommendations in today's Assessment. The Assessment was completed following meetings with key policing partners and independent stakeholders.

Other recommendations to drive forward further improvements include:

* Developing the Three Year Equality, Diversity and Human Rights (EDHR) Strategy. A key initiative highlighted in the policing Green Paper which will be instrumental in helping to address the issues highlighted in the assessment;

* Developing Local Recruitment, Retention and Progression (RRP) Improvement Plans to help forces take forward improvements and initiatives from the new Steering Group;

* New local targets. In keeping with the approach on increasing local responsibility, ambitious targets should be selected and set on the most important issues locally including equality standards;

* New "Positive Action Good Practice Guidance". The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) will develop, in partnership with Home Office, policing partners and in conjunction with Equality and Human Rights Commission, new guidance on recruitment, retention and progression for the police service;

* Improving the national exit interview data to examine further the reasons for ethnic minority officers leaving the police force; and

* Mandate NPIA to explore a targeted recruitment campaign and/ or working with volunteer local forces that need support in attracting people from minority ethnic communities.

Policing Minister Vernon Coaker said:"I am determined to work with the police service to offer fair and equal opportunities to all its members, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or background. We have already come a long way: over the last ten years minority ethnic officer representation in the police service has doubled. But the measures I am proposing in my assessment will go even further to ensure that the representation of minority ethnic officers in the police service continues to grow.

"We need a police service which represents the public - a representative police service will better understand and serve its local community and that is what I want us to work together to achieve."

The assessment identified existing good practice, including the Home Office through the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) has put in place national recruitment standards for all forces to prevent people with racist or discriminatory attitudes joining the police service. Candidates who do not pass the "respect for race and diversity" element do not get through, regardless of how well they do in other areas.

Other initiatives already underway include the Breaking Through Action Plan and Positive Action Events Toolkit which includes practical guidance aimed at improving minority ethnic representation in the police service. National initiatives aimed at progression in the police force include The High Potential Development Scheme (HPDS) which is a structured programme which equips officers with the skills to become police leaders and the National Senior Careers Advisory Service which aims to enhance leaders' capability and capability in order for officers to meet the growing leadership challenges at the top of the police force.

Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) lead for race and diversity and Chief Constable for Devon and Cornwall, Stephen Otter, said: "Of course there remains much more to be done. To achieve proportionality across the police service will take time, accepting that policing is unique in requiring that to build the experience and expertise fit for command situations, future leaders must be grown from within the service - going up through the ranks. ACPO is working with diversity staff associations to explore innovative ways in which we can help achieve this proportionality. Chief officers recognise the vital importance of diversity both to ensuring our police service draws on the full pool of talent and to increasing the confidence that all communities have in the police.

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