This month, I emphasised in Parliament that the government’s pledge to recruit more police officers is a generational opportunity to change the make-up and ethnic composition of policing.
It is the 21st anniversary of the publication of the Macpherson report, which was a searing account of how institutions had become divorced from the communities they served. Its publication served as a watershed moment in British policing.
The report set targets for the police to reach 7% of the workforce being from the BME community within a decade, but 11 years on from that timeline, we still have not reached that target. Shockingly, there is not a single chief constable in the country from a BME community. At this rate of change it will take the Met 100 years to become truly representative.
During the last major recruitment drive under the Labour government, diversity increased, but not fast enough. We cannot wait a century for our police to reflect our society. That’s why I’ve argued for the law to be changed so that the police can implement positive discrimination, set targets, and be empowered to hire more officers from BME communities.