PEOPLE from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in South Wales continue to be underrepresented by their police force – despite the recruitment of more than 100 new officers.
The National Black Police Association says police forces need to show more ambition in recruiting officers from BAME backgrounds, while the National Police Chiefs Council accepts “much more needs to be done”.
Home Office data shows South Wales Police recruited 118 new officers in the nine months to the end of 2020.
But of those who declared their ethnicity, just two were BAME.
It leaves South Wales Police with 79 BAME police officers overall, accounting for 2.6% of the 3,069 officers whose ethnicity was recorded.
That is despite BAME people accounting for 6% of the population served by South Wales Police, according to mid-2016 population estimates – the latest to have an ethnicity breakdown.
It reflected the picture across England and Wales as a whole, where 7.5% of officers are BAME despite people from BAME backgrounds making up 14.5% of the population.
However, that was a rise from 7.3% in March last year, and 4.7% in March 2010.
A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: “Making South Wales Police more representative of the communities we serve has been a Force priority as outlined in Police and Crime Plans dating back to 2015.
“We recognise and value individuals’ unique differences, and we want South Wales Police to continue to develop as an organisation which represents and reflects our communities.
“Whilst we have made progress during this time, we accept that we still have work to do, but we are moving in the right direction.
“We have a dedicated BAME Recruitment Team who encourage applications from under-represented groups.
“The team engage with underrepresented communities and provide ‘Positive action’ action support to encourage applications. Positive action refers to a range of measures and initiatives that employers can lawfully take to actively encourage individuals from under-represented groups to apply.”
To find out more about the work of the BAME Recruitment team at South Wales Police, visit https://www.south-wales.police.uk/police-forces/south-wales-police/areas/careers/careers/working-towards-a-representative-workforce/.
Last year a study by the Police Foundation thinktank found more people from Asian and mixed ethnic backgrounds had increased, but black representation in police forces had “barely increased”.