North Yorkshire Police force praised for improving officer diversity

The commissioner of a police force which was singled out for criticism by the Home Secretary for not employing any black officers has praised the service’s drive to improve diversity as it works to recruit hundreds more officers to hit Government targets.

Tuesday, 9th February 2021, 10:12 am

The North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Panel heard while the force would need to recruit about 270 officers over the next two years to meet its share of the national uplift in police officers, evidence from recent years was that the force would achieve its targets.

Commissioner Julia Mulligan said the force had done “an absolutely cracking job” on recruiting officers so far.

Mrs Mulligan’s praise comes six years after then-Home Secretary Theresa May said the force needed to take action over its staff make-up.

Julia Mulligan

The commissioner said: “We’ve been really pleased by the way they have gone about it.

"It’s not just the numbers, it’s the individuals getting into the service as well.”

Mrs Mulligan said some 54 per cent of the latest intake of officer recruits had been female and 7.9 per cent had identified as being black and ethnic minority.

However, according to Government figures released last week, the force has some way to go before it achieves its objective of its officers reflecting the county and York’s population.

By the end of March last year, 97.7 of North Yorkshire officers, some 1,435, were white, as compared to 96.6 per cent of the population.

At the time there were 12 Asian officers, making up 0.8 per cent of the workforce, while the area’s Asian population counted for 1.2 per cent of residents.

There were just three black officers, making up 0.2 per cent of the force, while black people made up 0.5 per cent of the population.

Panel members also welcomed the force’s progress, particularly in light of it having to recruit large numbers of officers to meet the Government’s plan to increase officer numbers to an historic high.

Mrs Mulligan told the meeting while the Government’s uplift in officers had sparked debate about the impact it would have on courts as more crimes would be prosecuted, an announcement had been made about creating additional prison places.

She said the recruitment drive had also created challenges, such as how to maintain its number of Specials, police community support officers and control room staff, as the roles have traditionally been stepping stones to become a police officer.

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