Suffolk: Police slammed over lack of ethnic minority officers

SUFFOLK: Just two per cent of police officers at Suffolk Constabulary are from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, new figures show today.

The statistics, which were published in response to a parliamentary question, reveal 28 officers of the 1,246 employed in Suffolk are from ethnic minorities.

A leading charity has today condemned the figures, accusing the force of not representing the county’s population as a whole.

The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) said for Suffolk police to be truly successful it must be a “reasonably accurate mirror of the communities it serves”.

A spokesman for Suffolk Police said through their Single Equality Scheme they are developing plans to boost the number of officers and staff from BME backgrounds to better reflect the ethnic diversity in Suffolk.

The question to the Secretary of State by Leicester East MP Keith Vaz showed of the 1,246 officers employed by the constabulary 1,206 officers are white while another 12 have not stated their ethnicity.

A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “Suffolk is predominantly a white county, with around 5.1pc of the population coming from BME backgrounds.

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“The vast majority of our officers and police staff live in Suffolk, with a few who commute from neighbouring counties where the ethnic make-up is also predominantly white British.

“However, one of the actions in our Single Equality Scheme is to develop and implement plans to increase the number of staff and officers we employ from BME and other diverse communities, so we have a workforce that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.”

But according to ISCRE Suffolk’s BME population is around 6pc and in Ipswich that number rises to 13pc.

Leon Hall, project manager at ISCRE, said: “For any police force to be truly successful, it needs to be a reasonably accurate mirror of the communities it serves.

“The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 requires public bodies, including the police to monitor and take ‘positive’ steps to address under representation in employment. This is a legal duty which has been largely ignored, not just by the police but across the public sector in Suffolk.”

n Do you feel the police is not representative of the people it serves in Suffolk? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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