The Thin White Line: North Yorkshire police under fire for not having a single black Pc

Home Secretary Theresa May. Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Home Secretary Theresa May. Peter Byrne/PA Wire

NORTH YORKSHIRE police must to do more to increase its diversity of officers in a warning from Home Secretary Theresa May, after it was revealed the force employes no black PCs at all.

The force is one of four in the UK that doesn’t have any black officers, alongside Cheshire, Durham and Dyfed-Powys.

In a speech to the National Black Police Association in Birmingham, the Home Secretary told forces to increase the diversity of their workforce and that doing so would not be an ‘optional extra.

North Yorkshire Police said recruitment in the region faces several challenges including its small black population, its geographical size meaning long distances for people to travel to work from outside the county, the cost of housing stock and the reduction in starting salaries for new officers.

The Home Secretary said: “Increasing diversity in our police forces is not an optional extra. It goes right to the heart of this country’s historic principle of policing by consent. We must ensure that the public have trust and confidence in the police, and that the police reflect the communities they serve.

“Incredibly, four forces do not employ any Black or Black British police officers at all, and female officers make up 28% of all police officers but 51% of the total population.

“This comes on top of existing statistics showing that there are only two BME chief officers in England and Wales, and eleven forces have no BME officers above chief inspector rank.

“This is simply not good enough. I hope these figures will provide chief constables with the information they need to identify areas for improvement and for the public and PCCs to hold them to account.”

Police will also be asked to publish a force-by-force overview of the proportion of BME and female officers in each of the 43 England and Wales police force areas.

Currently no force has a BME representation that matches its local demographic and there are no BME Chief Constables in the country.

North Yorkshire has a black, or black British, population of 3618, constituting 0.5% of the total population. However it has no officers.

While the white community represents 96% of the total population, 98% of officers ara are white and are therefore overrepresented.

With the launch of the BME 2020 Vision, the Government will be calling on all public sector organisations to make their workforces more racially representative.

The Home Secretary said diversity should be a priority for the police and will highlight a Reverse Mentoring pilot launched by the College of Policing that will see junior staff from four forces (Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Sussex and West Midlands) educate senior leaders about their experiences.

North Yorkshire does have five Asian officers and ten who are mixed race.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police, said: “Past recruitment campaigns have targeted minority groups, including extending our reach to neighbouring counties. We have also developed an action plan with the College of Policing to address the recruitment of ethnic minority officers in the future. That said, we do have a number of Asian and mixed race officers from PC to Superintendent rank, and black, Asian, Chinese and mixed race police staff.

“Recruitment is the only tool to help us address under-representation, however, recruitment opportunities will now be very limited as we move into a future with even greater cuts to the policing budget.”

Diversity in North Yorkshire Police

Number of black or black British police officers: 0

Number Asian officers: 5

Number of mixed race officers: 10

Number of white police officers: 1,379