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Met not doing enough to retain, promote black, minority and ethnic officers

`Should be permitted to join force at higher rank than constable’

9th July 2010: Commissioned by London Mayor Boris Johnson, a report says the Metropolitan Police is not doing enough to retain and promote black, minority and ethnic officers.

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Compiled by the Metropolitan Police Authority, the report also suggests police recruits from black, minority or ethnic background should be permitted to join the force at a higher rank than constable.

The move would go a long way in increasing diversity among senior officers, says the report.

The development is significant as Met has to change its image, ever since it was labeled "institutionally racist" following the Macpherson Report into the handling of the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry.

The claims are based on figures showing minority candidates applying for posts in Britain’s biggest force above the rank of inspector at Scotland Yard have a 9 per cent success rate, as against a 23 per cent success rate for non-minority candidates.

To top it all, none of the 38 most senior officers at the Metropolitan Police above the rank of commanders are from a minority background.

The findings come less than a week after another report revealed 72 per cent of Black Caribbeans consider police racist profession.

According to the study “Aspiration and Frustration”, no profession was seen as devoid of racism. Close to half of all respondents, including white Britons, perceive the police to be a racist profession, rising to 72 per cent for Black Caribbeans.

The report by Race for Opportunity investigated how different ethnic groups viewed their prospects of employment and promotion.

The recent report by the Metropolitan Police Authority has also recommended abolishment of single-point entry requiring every police officer to start as a constable and work their way through every police rank. As an alternative, the officers should be allowed to start at a higher position and skip certain ranks.

The report goes on to suggest fast-tracking minority police community support officers for allowing them to become fully-warranted PCs quickly. Even the assessment process for promotion to senior rank should be external to eliminate any possibility of prejudice against minority candidates.

But in 2008 it was stung by the decision of Tarique Ghaffur, one of Britain’s most senior minority officers, to take the then Commissioner Sir Ian Blair to an employment tribunal, alleging racism.

In the wake of this the Metropolitan Black Police Association announced it was encouraging potential minority recruits to boycott the force.

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