Police Ethnic-Minority Recruitment Figures Rapped
Revill, John, The Birmingham Post (England)
West Midlands Police has been criticised for failing to recruit officers from ethnic minorities.
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesman Mr Simon Hughes said more needed to be done if forces across the country are to meet Government targets of an extra 8,265 officers from ethnic minorities during the decade.
Figures released in a parliamentary answer showed that West Midlands Police is falling far short of its target to recruit 862 extra officers from ethnic minorities by 2009.
In the year ending March, it took on only 17 although another 30 have been taken on since.
Of the force's 7,400 officers, 350 are from minority ethnic communities, making up under five per cent of the workforce compared with the target of 16 per cent to be achieved by 2009.
Concerns were also raised about the lack of policemen from ethnic minorities rising to higher ranks in the force. The West Midlands has no black or Asian officers who are chief inspectors or above.
Mr Hughes (Southwark North and Bermondsey) said: 'Especially after the Stephen Lawrence report, it is absolutely clear that police forces must become more representative of the communities they serve.'
Three other large forces - the Metropolitan Police, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire - also were falling behind in their recruitment campaigns.
West Yorkshire Police even recorded four fewer black and Asian officers, bringing the total down to 133, between March 1999 and March 2000, compared with its target of taking on an extra 34.
Chief Insp Paul Diehl, of West Midlands Police, said yesterday: 'The target was set to be achieved over a ten-year period and at the time it was set, this force led the country in recruiting officers from ethnic minority groups.
'Since March 1999 we have successfully recruited another 47 officers from ethnic minority backgrounds - 12.7 per cent of the total recruited.'
By JOHN REVILL
West Midlands Police has been criticised for failing to recruit officers from ethnic minorities. …