The lack of female role models from diverse communities within the Met police is hindering efforts to recruit Asian and black officers, Scotland Yard’s deputy commissioner has claimed.
Over the past year, the proportion of minority officers working in the organisation has increased by just one per cent, and the figure stands at 12 per cent.
The comments came during a review of a report into diversity in the Met which was published last year by the London Assembly’s police and crime committee.
Met deputy commissioner Craig Mackey was asked why there was a particular problem with the lack of female officers from a diversity of backgrounds during a meeting in City Hall last Thursday (28).
BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) women account for just three per cent of the Met’s workforce. Mackey said there was a problem with the lack of role models in the force.
“There’s a risk that people will look at an organisation and say I don’t see anyone who’s like me,” he explained. Mackey added it was important to show policing as profession to aspire to.
He also said the force would review its flexible working practices to try and entice more black and Asian women into the Met and help retain them. “What we’re doing is looking at models that will allow people into the organisation, leave and then possibly come back later,” said Mackay.
Detective chief inspector Shabnam Chaudhri, who is quoted in the report, stated cultural issues were a key factor for the Asian community when it came to considering a career in the police. She said: “Some of the issues around BAME females in particular are cultural issues in terms of barriers from families, cultures and so on.
“I have been a diversity champion for the last 15 years of my service and I do go out into the communities. I work with various parts of the communities across the whole of east London.
“Generally, some of the issues, hurdles and challenges we have are particularly with Asian, Turkish, Muslim and Sikh women, who have issues with families preventing them from joining the 14 police services.
“It is not necessarily an attractive career option. They feel that you are walking the streets for the first two years and that is disrespectful to the families, communities and so on.” In total, approximately
40 per cent of of the population in London is from an ethnic minority background.
The lack of black and Asian officers at senior levels in the Met is particularly evident where only six per cent of its officers are ranked inspector or above. Stephen Greenhalgh, deputy mayor for policing and crime, raised the issue of certain communities which “simply won’t consider” a career in policing and said it was crucial that those barriers should be broken down.
Since 2006, there has been an increase in BAME officers from seven to 28 per cent, but the Met’s commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said that a radical plan needs to be outlined in order to dramatically improve these figures. The Met recently introduced a language recruitment campaign with new eligibility criteria to become a police constable where recruits need to be able to speak one of 25 languages including Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu.