BME recruitment to police halves in 5 years

The number of recruits from ethnic minorities to British police forces has almost halved in the past five years, amid concern about discrimination in the service.

Official figures obtained by the Tories have revealed that the total of black and ethnic minority (BME) entrants into the 43 forces in England and Wales fell from 795 in 2003-04 to 430 in the last financial year. The revelation undermines the Government’s claim that there had been “significant success in increasing overall minority ethnic representation”. It comes amid renewed concerns over racism in the service after the suspension of PC Steve Bettley, from Merseyside, whose name was included among those of thousands of BNP supporters leaked on an internet blog. The Met saw BME recruits plunge from 500 to 193 over the period. Huge metropolitan forces including Greater Manchester, Merseyside and the West Midlands were also among 31 that have reported a fall in BME recruits since 2003. Shadow Home Secretary, Dominic Grieve, said the figures were “worrying”, but also condemned the Black Police Association’s “highly irresponsible” call for a boycott of ethnic recruitment.