Cheshire Police has come under fire from the Home Secretary for having no black officers in its ranks.
Theresa May revealed four forces – Cheshire, Durham, North Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys – had no black police officers as of March 31, when she addressed members of the National Black Police Association on Thursday.
But according to the latest Home Office figures – which are based on ethnicity data volunteered by officers – those four forces do have officers from other ethnic minorities.
Branding the situation of some forces ‘not good enough’, she said the police in England and Wales need to improve on being representative of the communities they serve.
“If police forces do not truly represent the people they serve, if they are not made up of men and women of all backgrounds, if they do not properly reflect the communities where local officers police, then we cannot truly say the police are the public, and the public are the police,” she said.
Cheshire police have responded saying that they are ‘committed’ to representing the communities they serve and accept that ‘more needs to be done’ to recruit officers of Afro-Caribbean descent.
In a statement, the force said it has introduced initiatives to support the recruitment of officers from ethnic minorities, including positive action and ‘actively’ encouraging black and ethnic minority officers to transfer from other forces to Cheshire.
It has also put in place mentoring schemes which match minority officers with more senior colleagues to support their professional development and to improve their chances of promotion.
It added: “This is particularly important given the challenges of recruiting minority staff in Cheshire, which has a very small ethnic minority population (approximately three per cent of the population).
“We are actively recruiting in neighbouring areas, including Merseyside and Greater Manchester, in our efforts to bring more minority candidates into the police family.”