Bevan Powell, deputy chair of the Black Police Association, has called for “affirmative action” to help recruit more black police personnel.
Speaking to Black Britain Powell said: “We’ve already said that we would like to see affirmative action put in place. Both [in terms of recruitment and progression] based on the patent model that was introduced in Northern Ireland where a 50-50 system was introduced—50 per cent Catholic and 50 per cent Protestant.”
Powell, maintained that he wasn’t talking about a “lowering of standards” or even the same “50/50 split” that worked so successfully in Ireland.
Powell told Black Britain: “What we are talking about is having a critical mass of officers recruited at the same time. In a sense, slowing down the recruitment of white officers and increasing that of blacks. It might be [only] 30-70 but this is certainly something that we are demanding for London.”
Powell insisted that The Association of Chief Police Officers [ACPO], a police body that works in developing policing policies on behalf of the service as a whole, were behind him.
Powell told Black Britain: “Many senior officers within ACPO and within the constabularies have voiced support for such an action but it will need delegation. We have already written papers on that.”
Two years ago ACPO said that it had concerns about the proposal—but agreed “radical” measures were needed if “ethnic minority candidates” were to be fast tracked into the service.
Powell’s demand came as the Britain’s most senior Asian police officer Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur warned that anti-terror laws could criminalise “ethnic minorities” during his keynote speech to the National Black Police Association conference in Manchester.
On a more positive note, according to Powell, there are more members of the black communities coming forward to join the police service as PCSO’s [Police Community Support Officers, scientists, engineers and in other capacities.