Police Pledge to Improve Levels of Engagement with Minorities; FRUSTRATION AT RESPONSE FROM ETHNIC GROUPS

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), April 15, 2013 | Go to article overview

Police Pledge to Improve Levels of Engagement with Minorities; FRUSTRATION AT RESPONSE FROM ETHNIC GROUPS


Byline: CLARE HUTCHINSON Crime Correspondent clare.hutchinson@walesonline.co.uk

A POLICE commissioner has promised to "do a lot more" to engage ethnic minority communities after it emerged just six people from those minorities responded to a consultation on a Welsh force's policing strategy for the next four years.

Responses to the two-week consultation on South Wales Police's Police and Crime Plan were shown to its scrutiny panel in Swansea last week.

In the document, figures revealed that, of 240 people who responded to the consultation, just six identified themselves as being from an ethnic minority background - while none identified themselves as British Pakistani, British Caribbean, Chinese or gypsy-traveller.

And of the organisations that responded, one - Bawso - specifically works with people from black and ethnic minority (BME) backgrounds. 1

Michael Flynn, director of development at Cardiff-based organisation Diverse Cymru, which works to eliminate discrimination and inequality, said police forces across Wales need to reassess how they communicate with different people.

He said: "There are barriers in communities around digital exclusion so having something just on a website is not enough.

"We certainly weren't contacted about this consultation." When the Western Mail contacted South Wales police's police and crime commissioner, Alun Michael, to ask why his office didn't do more to reach people from ethnic minorities, he admitted there is still a "long way to go" for the force.

Referring to a separate "youth engagement event" that ran alongside the main consultation, he said similar events could be held for people in different ethnic communities in South Wales.

"It is about feeling our way through, finding an instinctive process, and that is something I feel very comfortable with," he said.

"Whereas South Wales Police has improved, there is a way to go before we can be completely satisfied."

The problem also extends to recruitment.

Latest Home Office figures show Dyfed-Powys and North Wales police forces have the lowest proportion of ethnic minority police officers in the country - with 0.6% and 0.8% respectively.

The figures, from March 31, 2012, show Gwent (1.4%) and South Wales police (2.2%) also fell below the England and Wales average of 2.93% officers from ethnic minorities.

The proportion of ethnic minority PCSOs (police community support officers) and police staff in Welsh forces was also significantly lower than the England and Wales average, of 10.02% and 6.95%.

In Dyfed-Powys, the proportion of ethnic minority staff was 0. …

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