Thursday, 19 April 2007
Positive discrimination for the Police - Integration or Isolation?
The Association of Chief Police Officers are to debate whether they should increase the recruitment of both minority and female police officers by positive discrimination. The force currently employs 3.7% of officers from ethnic minorities, however the Home Office has called for this to be raised to 7% by 2009. The Home Office want this to be achieved by conventional recruitment and do not support a change to employment law.
Chief constable Peter Fahy, the ACPO spokesperson for race and diversity, is calling for a debate on amending the law, which would see black and Asian recruits with the necessary qualifications being fast-tracked.
Keith Jarrett, President of the National Black Police Association, said: "If we look at Hounslow in London, it's a borough that is predominantly from a minority ethnic background. Now whilst my white colleagues are immensely qualified to do the job, I would put forward that Hounslow would be better served as a borough by a person from an Asian background, who has got culture in common with the local inhabitants, and perhaps speaks the same language."
Nick Johnson, from the Commission for Racial Equality, said: "Positive action is about going into certain communities, targeting resources, targeting promotional work, building up training and development - that's something we would support. Picking someone simply because of the colour of their skin for a job is not something we would support."
I’ve posted on occasion in opposition to the stance of the BNP. I care deeply about racism and will support any means to stamp it out. However I think this proposal to change employment law to allow the fast tracking of minority groups within the Police Force would only give ammunition to the BNP and their kind.
We are told integration is the number one priority in a multicultural society. Is giving a minority group their own public officials who are the same colour and speak the same language the best way to promote integration? I would be worried that such a move would promote isolation from society rather than integration.
This is a problem caused by the time limit set by the Home Office. People from ethnic minorities are joining the Police Force in greater numbers every day as part of the natural trend in integration. The Home Office forcing the issue will only cause animosity and it could mean that the best person for the job may not be employed because they do not come from the required ethnic group.
The Home Office's time would be better spent encouraging more people from ethnic minorities to apply, rather than setting the Police targets that cannot be achieved without changing employment law.