Black worker representation in police and justice workforces

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2016 Police & Justice Service Group Conference
14 June 2016
Carried as Amended

According to police force recruitment statistics widely published in January 2016 a white applicant to the police force has a better chance of getting a job than a Black applicant in more than 2/3rds of UK forces. Further, Theresa May, Home Secretary stated that ‘diversity profiles’ showed no force had a Black representation reflecting the local population. In April the Home Affairs Committee held an evidence session on police diversity investigating unrepresentative workforces. The figures have portrayed the need for action and greater scrutiny of police chiefs who should be held accountable for failing to ensure that their forces reflect the communities that they serve.

Based on the findings in police forces conference believes that there is a need to investigate the representation of Black staff more broadly in the police and justice sector including those working in support roles and in probation. There is strong evidence to suggest that representative workforces that can relate to diverse communities deliver better services. This is particularly important in light of research that continues to show Black people overrepresented in the criminal justice system. While Black people only make up 14% of the population in England and Wales they make up over 25% of the prison population raising questions on the fairness of administrative process, court systems, prisons and rehabilitation.

Where underrepresentation of Black workers is persistent it can often indicate discriminatory processes and practices relating to the recruitment and selection process. Conference recognises the benefits of being able to draw from a wider pool of talent as a positive step in ensuring confidence in the police from underrepresented communities.

In other service groups such as local government and health where there has been persistent under representation of Black people in workforces and at senior levels positive frameworks such as the Workforce race equality standard and the Local government equality framework have been developed. These frameworks have focused on workforce staff experience and broad composition which includes employment and promotion opportunities as well as experiences relating to discrimination, fairness and dignity at work.

Conference therefore calls on the police and justice service group executive to seek to work with the National Black members committee to:

1)undertake a mapping exercise identifying the representation of Black workers in employment and in senior positions amongst employers in the service group;

2)survey Black members in police and probation to get information on their experiences in the workplace and to help inform what needs to change and what initiatives need to be developed;

3)work across employers in the service group to seek to develop initiatives or frameworks that seek to increase the employment, promotion and fair treatment of Black workers;

4)continue to work with the National Black Police Association and Association of Black Probation Officer (ABPO) to improve equality, further the interests of Black staff working for police and probation services in England, Scotland and Wales and to enhance work within the criminal justice system in respect of Black communities more widely.