BY NAOMI GORNALL
Thursday, February 7, 2013
More must be done to attract ethnic minority police officers to the county’s force, it has been claimed.
Figures seen by The Star reveal that just 2.2% of officers at Suffolk Police are from an ethnic minority background – whereas just under 5% of the county’s population is made up of people from non-white communities.
The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) has called for a drive to recruit more officers from different backgrounds.
Their call comes after one of Britain’s top ethnic minority police officers, Ch Supt Dal Babu from the Metropolitan Police, said “radical measures” were needed so police had a better understanding of different cultures.
Phanuel Mutumburi, ISCRE’s business and operations manager, said: “At ISCRE one of the things we believe in is that the police should be reflective of the community they operate in. If we had a few more police officers from similar backgrounds, they would have more of a cultural understanding of the issues. We need some kind of extra effort by police to identify and target people from ethnic minorities.
“From my personal perspective, there needs to be a lot more encouragement for people from ethnic minority backgrounds to join the police.”
Suffolk’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Tim Passmore, agreed that it was an issue that needed to be tackled. He said: “I met with the Suffolk Black Police Association during the campaign and I did say if I was elected then it [the issue] would certainly be something I would look at in conjunction with them.
“We need to encourage people from these backgrounds to apply. It is not seen as a good career prospect for people from that background, and we need to change that.
“I’m not in favour of having a fixed quota, though. I’m about getting people in on merit. We need more people from these backgrounds to reflect the population of Suffolk – that is important.
“We are on the case and I’m committed to put this right by working with the constabulary and with those communities, on both a national and local level.”