Lancashire Police still falling short of black and Asian officers

Forces told they need to do more to recruit to improve ethnic diversity of workforce

Friday, 5th February 2021, 3:45 pm

People from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in Lancashire continue to be underrepresented by their police force despite the recruitment of more than 100 new officers.

The National Black Police Association says police forces need to show more ambition in recruiting officers from BAME backgrounds, while the National Police Chiefs Council accepts “much more needs to be done”.

Home Office data shows Lancashire Constabulary recruited 145 new officers in the nine months to the end of 2020.

Black and Asian people in Lancashire still underrepresented in police force

But of the 140 new recruits who declared their ethnicity, 13 were BAME.

It leaves Lancashire Constabulary with 151 BAME police officers overall, accounting for 5.1 per cent of the 2,981 officers whose ethnicity was recorded.

That is despite BAME people accounting for 8.5 per cent of the population served by Lancashire Constabulary, according to mid-2016 population estimates – the latest to have an ethnicity breakdown.

It reflected the picture across England and Wales as a whole, where 7.5 per cent of officers are BAME despite people from BAME backgrounds making up 14.5 per cent of the population.

However, that was a rise from 7.3 per cent in March last year, and 4.7 per cent in March 2010.

Last year a study by the Police Foundation thinktank found more people from Asian and mixed ethnic backgrounds had increased, but black representation in police forces had “barely increased”.

And the NBPA president, Andy George, said the association remains concerned over the make-up of police forces in relation to the communities they serve.

He said: “The recent uplift in police recruitment has shown some improvements in this area but we would like to see a more ambitious drive to increase the number of officers and staff members from BAME backgrounds.

“We are unconvinced the current recruitment uplift will be used as the once in a lifetime opportunity it is, to reset the workforce composition.”

The NPCC said forces across the country have set action plans to ensure recruitment attracts people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

A spokesperson added: “We are actively engaging with communities who are currently underrepresented in policing to understand the barriers and address any misconceptions.”

Meanwhile, policing minister Kit Malthouse said police forces are “more diverse than ever before”.

He added: “The recruitment of 20,000 additional police officers presents a once in a generation opportunity to ensure they are even more reflective of the communities they serve.

“National diversity recruitment data is being collected and monitored for the first time ever, with appropriate support in place to help forces attract people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

“Where appropriate, we will take direct action to address poor performance in this area.”

The Government’s police recruitment campaign was launched in October 2019, with each force handed a target for the first phase ending in March this year.

Lancashire Constabulary recruited 300 officers between November 2019 and December last year, the figures show.

Allowing for leavers, the overall uplift over the period was 133, meaning the force is on course to hit its first phase target of 153.

Across England and Wales, forces have a collective goal of recruiting 6,000 extra police officers by March 31.

By the end of December, 6,620 officers had been added through the hiring scheme.