Join us and make a difference - West Yorkshire Police responds to HASC report on Police diversity (21 May 2016)

West Yorkshire Police Temporary Chief Constable Dee Collins has acknowledged more must be done to increase diversity and inclusion among the workforce.

Responding to today's publication of the Home Affairs Select Committee report, which called for "urgent and radical" action, T/CC Collins said she was determined that the organisation should be more representative of its communities.

"We are currently recruiting police officers for the first time in five years and this gives us an excellent opportunity to increase our workforce not just by people from black and minority ethnic communities, but from all diverse groups, such as people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual.

"The police service has been in the media headlines a lot recently, often for negative reasons. My challenge to people who may be put off by that is, come and find out what West Yorkshire Police is about in 2016. A career with West Yorkshire Police offers genuinely exciting opportunities, but we can only properly serve all our communities by building a truly representative Force and I am determined to do that."

West Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson added: "I have worked with the Temporary Chief Constable to ensure we are doing all we can to ensure communities are aware of my commitment to equality and diversity within the organisation and in the police service.

"I have and continue to encourage applications from all under- represented groups and ensured our recruitment campaign is shared as widely as possible with key community leaders across West Yorkshire. This information also details the support available to assist candidates, from under-represented groups, to help them prepare for the recruitment process, which has included a series of ongoing recruitment support seminars.

"We also opened a Positive Action workshop in March that was aimed at working with community representatives to help start conversations around perceived barriers to recruitment within West Yorkshire Police and establish whether there were cultural barriers within communities that we were unaware of that we could address as my aim is, and continues to be, working with West Yorkshire Police, to promote and achieve a fully inclusive workforce to reflect the communities that we serve."

As part of West Yorkshire Police's push to better understand the challenges and increase representation, it recently appointed PC Amjad Ditta as the Force's Positive Action Co-Ordinator. His role is to help attract, recruit and develop a diverse workforce.

The Force website also has a special section where people can find out more about equality in employment and how to apply.

T/CC Collins, who gave evidence before the HASC said, "It is fair criticism to say that the service has generally struggled to increase representation, both in terms of recruitment and retention of officers. As we are now recruiting 600 officers, 300 of those additional to our current number, it is an ideal opportunity to make progress.

"I urge communities and individuals to help us make that difference."

As of 31 March, 2016, the total number of West Yorkshire Police officers identifying themselves as BME as 237 out of total number of officers of 4353. This includes one Chief Superintendent, three Superintendent, five inspectors, 35 sergeants and 193 constables.

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