Hertfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner puts spotlight on constabulary’s top jobs
The lack of police officers from black and minority ethnic communities in ‘very senior’ positions in the Hertfordshire Constabulary has been highlighted by Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the county council’s community safety and waste management cabinet panel, Mr Lloyd said there were not “sufficient people of colour in very senior positions across the organisation”.
And he told councillors he had already raised the issue with the chief constable.
He also acknowledged the perception by some that the police are racist. And he outlined his intention to set up ‘sounding boards’ – particularly focussed around the Afro-Caribbean community – to gather a better understanding of that.
This was, he said, “because I think there is a perception across the black community especially that the police are racist.
“I do not believe that they are, but I think that I need to understand that better. And I think that that’s part of dialogue.”
Mr Lloyd told councillors this work was important, “to ensure that anyone who goes to report a crime feels that they are going to be listened to with equal worth”.
“They will be – but they need to feel that they will be,” he said.
Following the meeting, Assistant Chief Constable Bill Jephson has responded to the commisssioner’s commets.
And in response to Mr Lloyd’s comments about staffing in the senior ranks of the Hertfordshire Constabulary, he said: “We are committed to creating a workforce that is truly representative of the communities we serve, across all ranks.
“Clearly there is more work to be done and the lack of senior black Asian and minority ethnic officers is not lost on us either.”
ACC Jephson highlighted the newly established racial equality coordination group and other steps that had been taken.
And he said: “Our investment in this area, including a Positive Action recruitment team, have helped increase the numbers of officers from minority groups.
“The initial results of our most recent recruitment drive appear to be promising with more than a fifth of applicants identifying as black, Asian or from other minority ethnic groups.
“However, we must also look at how we retain and develop our staff, so that everyone feels like they can achieve their full potential within the policing family.”
In response to Mr Lloyd’s ideas for further engagement, ACC Jephson said: “We are also committed to positive engagement with black, Asian and other minority ethnic groups across
Hertfordshire, so that all parts of the community feel safe and have trust and confidence in policing.
“Our work is based on strong local neighbourhood policing and building lasting relationships with all our communities.
“We are already considering a number of newly generated ideas to build on existing work and would welcome ideas for further engagement with minority groups.”