Suffolk police hires country's second lowest rate of BAME officers

Temporary Chief Superintendent Kim Warner said resilience processes had ensured minimal disruption to day-to-day...

Figures show that 2.9% of the 1,316 officer workforce at Suffolk police are from BAME backgrounds - Credit: Archant

Suffolk Constabulary insists it is committed to improving diversity after figures showed it hired the second lowest rate of officers from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds of any force in the country in the last year. 

A quarterly update on progress with hiring an additional 20,000 officers in England and Wales showed Suffolk Constabulary welcomed 136 new recruits between April 2020 and March 2021.

Just 1.5% (three in total) were from BAME backgrounds, including two of mixed heritage and one who preferred not to say.

Only Cumbria Police hired a smaller percentage, as none of its 94 new officers came from BAME backgrounds.

Across 43 forces in England and Wales, the average percentage of recruitment of officers from BAME backgrounds was 10.6% – with Nottinghamshire police leading the way on 19.8%.

Deputy Chief Constable Rachel Kearton said the force was committed to increasing diversity to be more representative of the community, adding: "We recognise the importance and value a truly inclusive workforce brings in meeting the challenges of policing today and into the future. 

"We have recently recruited a Positive Action advisor who will be reaching out and working across our communities. 

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"The constabulary continues to work with local education establishments and community groups to promote the work of the constabulary, encouraging applications from underrepresented groups. 

"We currently have applications in progress from black, Asian and minority ethnic candidates and offer support and advice around the recruitment process.”

In total, 2.9% of the 1,316 officer workforce at Suffolk police are from BAME backgrounds – two black, seven Asian, 28 mixed, one other and three not stated – compared to 7.6% nationally. 

At the time of the 2011 Census, 9.2% of Suffolk residents were from BAME backgrounds – or any ethnic group other than white British.

Figures show the force is now less diverse than it was last June, when a headcount showed that 3.1% of officers were from BAME backgrounds, prompting the constabulary to declare the planned national recruitment uplift a once-in-a-generation opportunity to dramatically improve diversity.

Dep Ch Con Kearton said: “As part of a national commitment to increase equality and diversity within the police force, Suffolk Constabulary have recently held a series of Positive Action recruitment events in April and May, including an online black, Asian and minority ethnic Careers Workshop, which was well attended. 

"Our aim is to build strong relationships with under-represented groups and inspire them to join our police family.”

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