Beds police recruitment diversity unmatched across England and Wales
PUBLISHED: 09:44 08 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:57 08 November 2017
Bedfordshire's police and crime commissioner has saluted the county's force for the diversity of its recruitment, which has been commended as unmatched in England and Wales.
Kathryn Holloway praised Bedfordshire Police for bringing in officers reflecting the county’s demographic make-up, with 22 out of the 66 new constables recruited since April coming from minority backgrounds.
The rise in applications from across the community has led to Insp Mo Aziz and PC Ruth John-Chambers receiving a special recognition award from the National Black Police Association.
Mrs Holloway said: “It’s absolutely right that a police force looks and sounds like the communities it represents.
“That is why the founding father of policing, Sir Robert Peel, said that the police are – or certainly should be – the public, and the public are the police.
“What’s particularly impressive this year is that both our Asian and Eastern European communities are strongly represented, with all the advantages of language skills and cultural understanding this brings to policing this county.
“Make no mistake, though – this recruitment isn’t about being PC but about recruiting the best PCs, whatever their background.”
Mrs Holloway said that Yvette Cooper, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, had been in touch last month to ask about how the Beds force was achieving its results regarding diversity.
The commissioner concluded: “A higher level of diversity is a necessity in every force in a modern – and fairer – world, and it can’t happen soon enough for me.”
Insp Aziz and his team has taken their recruitment drive into places of worship and neighbourhoods without a tradition of being involved in policing – and have also worked hard to understand why those from black or minority ethnic backgrounds might not have applied before.
After he and PC John-Chambers received their award, Insp Aziz said there remained work to do.
“I am immensely proud of this achievement, as we are working tirelessly to recruit people from all ethnicities and walks of life,” he said.
“We will continue to work close with our communities to engage all residents of Bedfordshire and encourage them to consider a career with the police.”
Back in April, Mrs Holloway and Beds chief constable Jon Boutcher pledged 100 new officers this financial year. The force’s last recruitment drive ended on October 1.