Metropolitan Police chief Dame Cressida Dick has lobbied the Government for a law change to allow the force to favour ethnic minority candidates.
Dick hopes the move will help officers gain the confidence of the ethnically diverse community they serve – and comes as a report revealed UK officers have been accused of racism 7,800 times in the last five years.
The force is currently made up of 18 per cent black and ethnic minority officers, but it is aiming to increase this to 40 per cent – the same proportion of black and ethnic minorities in London, according to The Times.
Meanwhile, out of 7,800 complaints of racism against UK police forces – including some that referred to multiple officers – only 181 resulted in formal action, reported the I newspaper.
Data from 38 out of 45 police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland showed just 5,555 out of 7,837 complaints were subject to further investigation, with no data shared for the remaining 2,282 complaints.
Cressida Dick (pictured) hopes positive discrimination will help officers gain the confidence of the ethnically diverse community they serve
Police detain a man during a Black Lives Matter protest rally in Hyde Park, London, on June 12 last year
Dick’s push towards positive discrimination has been backed by Neil Basu, the Met assistant commissioner and a vocal supporter of the force’s need for diversity.
Some 20,000 officers will be recruited in England and Wales by 2023 and the Met Police alone wants to bring 11,000 more employees into various job roles between now and 2025.
Out of 20,000, just 9,000 officers have so far been recruited into roles in the UK. Of these, 10.6 per cent are from black and ethnic minorities.
Dick now wants more legal scope to allow the force to choose black and ethnic minority applicants over their white peers.
At the start of the year Dick revealed there were currently 32,300 officers in the Met and 1,300 more will be recruited this year. Some 3,000 are joining the force – but this includes those replacing officers who have left.
Laws currently in place already allow the force to favour black and ethnic minority applicants for individual roles – it is only larger recruitment drives that would be affected by the proposed changes.
Previous attempts to improve diversity have already failed with a considerable drop in candidates from black and ethnic minority backgrounds applying and then passing a competency-based questionnaire during a 2013 recruitment drive.
Morgan Lobb, CEO at Vercida, a consultant firm used by Met Police, told MailOnline: ‘We agree in principle but it would be good if the Met police continued the work they are doing to identify the issues that are limiting the amount of diverse applicants for positions at the Met.’
It comes in the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, when thousands of people descended on Britain’s cities to campaign for equality following George Floyd’s murder by police office Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis. Pictured, a protest in Whitehall on June 7, 2020
There is ‘entrenched racial bias in UK policing’, according to Habib Kadin, research and policy manager at StopWatch, a charity campaigning for fair and effective policing. Meanwhile, Niamh Eastwood, the executive director of drug law group Release, said the complaint system was ‘totally broken’ with a ‘severe lack of accountability’.
Choosing recruits based on their ethnic background is not favoured by the Government, according to The Times.
Dick stressed the quality of candidates would still be high, with recruits measured against strict standards set by the College of Policing – but ethnic minority candidates will be favoured where their qualities and skills match that of a white applicant.
It comes in the wake of last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, when thousands of people descended on Britain’s cities to campaign for equality following George Floyd’s murder by police office Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis.