Tom Whitehead and Christopher Hope, Telegraph (London), October 7, 2011
Bernard Hogan-Howe, the new Metropolitan Commissioner, said as many as one in 10 staff at inspector rank or above could be parachuted in.
He said women and those from ethnic minorities have achieved “far more and far more quickly” in other industries and indicated they should now be targeted and fast-tracked to make senior police ranks more representative.
High-flying police officers could also be allowed to leapfrog ranks to get to the top quicker, he said.
Mr Hogan-Howe also said that he is in talks with the Home Office and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, in a bid to protect the Met from budget cuts before next year’s Olympics.
He repeated his pledge of a “total war” on crime and warned drug dealers to expect to have their “doors put in”.
The police have long been criticised for a poor representation of women and ethnic minorities, and moves to boost diversity have often fallen short of targets.
In an interview with the Police Review magazine, published today, Mr Hogan-Howe suggested proposals to shake up traditional entry levels for the police could be used to improve diversity.
They would be brought in above the rank of constable and undergo fast-track training. He said: “I think there is some option for some of the people selected at middle and senior management to come from outside.
“I might take 10 per cent who, after two to three years’ training, are up to strength, and have an open mind about whether it is at inspector rank or superintendent.”
Asked if such a move would help diversity, he added: “I think so because, if you look at certain areas of society, women and black and ethnic minorities are over-represented. If you look at graduates, there are more women than men.
“In certain industries, women and ethnic minorities have achieved far more and far more quickly than in the police.
“If we are recruiting from that pool, we will have a lot more chance of being more representative of society.”
Mr Hogan-Howe disclosed that negotiations were under way to ensure that Met numbers were not hit before the 2012 Olympics.
Police forces are facing budget cuts of up to 20 per cent over the next four years with the heaviest falling in the first two years.
He said: “We are in discussions with Boris Johnson and Kit Malthouse, of the Metropolitan Police Authority, who are talking with the Home Office to see if we can maintain our police numbers for a longer period.”