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Warwickshire Police supports strategy to increase diversity of the force

Warwickshire Police has signed up to a groundbreaking strategy which aims to make policing more diverse and inclusive, building confidence with groups who historically have lower levels of trust in policing.

The force has been provided with a toolkit designed to help them attract and retain more people from underrepresented groups. The toolkit is part of a broader strategy which addresses nine protected characteristics, including race, gender, religion and disability. Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary will scrutinise Warwickshire Police's progress against the strategy.

All police chiefs in the UK have endorsed the strategy and toolkit, which have been informed by independent research from the National Centre for Social Research.

Nationally, the numbers of women and black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers are at the highest levels since records began, but such groups are still underrepresented when compared to the general population and the communities they serve. For instance, only 5% of officers in Warwickshire are from BAME backgrounds, compared with 7.3% of the county's population, and only 31% of Warwickshire Police officers are female. Warwickshire Police is aiming for officers to be as representative as their police community support officers (PCSOs), of whom 10% are from BAME backgrounds and 58% are women.

The toolkit makes a series of further recommendations to be considered by Warwickshire's Chief Constable, some of which are already in place, including:

  • appointing chief officer leads and encouraging them to approach increasing diversity with the same level of commitment as critical incidents
  • collecting and analysing workforce data to understand how well the force is representing local demographics and using the information to assist with targeted recruitment
  • positive action measures such as proactively seeking out candidates from underrepresented groups, contacting officers and staff from underrepresented groups within two years of them leaving the organisation to encourage them to consider returning, and providing unconscious bias training to all recruitment and promotion panels
  • building better networks and improving coaching and reverse mentoring
  • increasing flexible working to take into account childcare commitments and religious or cultural events
  • reviewing promotion and lateral progression policies, including considering removing the need for line manager approval to remove the risk of unconscious bias in decision-making.

Warwickshire Police will now adapt the toolkit to their local circumstances and begin delivery of the strategy on the areas for improvement.

Martin Jelley QPM, Chief Constable of Warwickshire Police, said: "Having a force that is more representative of the communities we serve is of vital importance for Warwickshire Police.

"We need officers and staff who are able to respond quickly to the changing demographics of local communities, overcome language barriers and bring a deep knowledge of certain cultures. It is proven that more diverse teams make better decisions and innovate more.

"Having officers and staff who reflect all communities will help us build trust - particularly with those who fear crime or harassment or who have lower levels of confidence in policing. With greater trust, people are more likely to report their concerns and work with us to resolve problems, and we will be better equipped to tackle crimes that affect them.

"While progress has already been made, we recognise that we have much more to do to ensure that our force is diverse and inclusive. For instance, we recently launched a recruitment campaign in a bid to attract more officers, particularly women and officers with black and minority ethnic backgrounds or disabilities.

"This strategy and toolkit will help us make better use of the talents and skills of people from all backgrounds in keeping our communities safe from harm."