Police struggling to improve diversity of new recruits

Photo: Graham Dockery

Police are struggling to meet a target of recruiting 25% of new officers from the minority ethnic population by the end of next year.

Ethnic minority groups remain suspicious of the service, according to research published in AD, with more than half ruling out a career with the force.

Many young people who responded to the survey said they had experienced discrimination or viewed the police as a ‘racist’ and ‘white’ entity. ‘You hear about them behaving recklessly and shooting at people for no reason,’ was one reply.




Overall 56% of youths with a Moroccan, Turkish, Antillean or Surinamese background said they would ‘definitely not’ join the police, compared to 31% of white youngsters. The screening process that all prospective recruits have to undergo was also a deterring factor: a quarter of minority group respondent said they believed they would fail the procedure.

The survey was carried out on behalf of the police in 2015 and 2016, but was made public for the first time last week. The force said it was making progress and had seen the number of ethnic minority applicants rise from 10% in 2015 to 17% in 2016.

Police have invested in social media campaigns and instructed community police officers to be more active in picking out potential recruits with minority backgrounds in schools.