The Metropolitan Police is the most diverse police service

The
Metropolitan Police was established, by Act of Parliament, in 1829 by the then
Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel.  It was organised
into seven divisions, policing the Metropolitan area.  This excluded the City of London, where a
separate city police force was established in 1832.  It was formally called Metropolitan Police Force
and informally referred to as ‘the Met’.  The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS or Met)
is one of the largest police services in the world, employing approximately
43,272 police officers, police staff, traffic wardens and police community
support officers.  The role of the
Metropolitan Police Service is to keep London safe, protecting members of the
British Royal family, coordinating and leading on United Kingdom (UK) wide
national counter-terrorism matters, protecting members of the Cabinet and other
ministerial members of Her Majesty’s government.  The aims of the Metropolitan Police Service
is to cut crime and bring more offenders to justice, be a more visible and
accessible presence across London, cut costs and improve our policing
capability, improve confidence in policing and satisfaction, maximise our
national and international reach to make London the safest global city.  The Metropolitan Police has come a long way
compared to thirty years ago, today 13% of the officers are from Black and
Minority Ethnic (BME) and 57% are female (Dick, 2017).

The
Metropolitan Police is the most diverse police service in the UK and is working
towards fulfilling the challenges of diversity and equality.  Diversity is defined by Bart et al.(1990:321)
as, ‘understanding that there are differences among employees and that these
differences, if properly managed, are an asset to work being done more
efficiently and effectively.  Examples of
diversity factors are race, culture, ethnicity, gender, age, a disability, and work
experience.’ (Bartz et al., 1990:321 quoted in Kandola & Fullerton 1998:7).  Equality is treating everyone the same,
regardless of their differences.  Equal opportunities
are defined as, understanding, appreciating and valuing all staff members’
different sets of skills and abilities and utilising their differences for the
best personal and organisational results.  
In the UK, equal opportunity is taken as an antidiscrimination policy
for tackling various forms of discrimination. 
A statement from the Met confirms the force’s commitment to fair and
equal recruitment: “The Metropolitan police service is an equal opportunities
employer and welcomes applications from all communities to ensure we offer fair
opportunities regardless of sexual orientation” (The Guardian, 2012).  This shows the Met is an organisation that
not only reflects London in its diversity but welcomes in people from every
background.

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As
Deloitte’s “Only skin deep?” (2011) report says, “It is not enough to create a
corporate version of Noah’s Ark bringing in ‘two of each kind’… There is a
clear argument for actively managing diversity rather than assuming we will
naturally derive the benefits” (Deloitte, 2011).  The world around is changing and policing has
to respond and adapt to those changes to continue to protect society and
provide high-quality services that meet the different needs of all our
communities.    Holdaway and Baron (1997) suggested that, in
the early years of the Equal Employment Opportunity policy, the police faced
difficult challenges in attracting and retaining female and ethnic minority
officers.  Bowling, Parmar & Phillips
(2008:13) stated this was due to their image and reputation as a white, male
dominated colonial culture.  To improve
this, the Met has recruited more Londoners by introducing the London Residency
Criteria in 2014.  This is whereby, all
Police Constable applicants are required to have lived in London for at least
three of the last six years.  This has
tremendously helped increase the BME recruitment to 27% in 2015/16.(MPS, 2017)

Diversity
training and education is recognised as playing an important role in avoiding
the potential failure of diversity initiatives (Wentling, 2004).  The main aim of the diversity training was to
sensitise police officers and staff to the diverse cultures and experiences of
BME groups.  There has been improvement
in police training, including the introduction of new foundation training for
the Met police officers and a comprehensive programme of equality and diversity
training for all officers and staff.   In
addition to this, an extensive improvement programme has been put in place in
response to Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) formal Investigation.  The Met are also planning to deliver the
Leading for London leadership programme from this autumn.  The programme will be offered to managers at
and above Sergeant and police staff band D. 
It will provide extensive development aimed at creating an even more
inclusive working environment.

In
July 2015, the Met ran a recruitment campaign that focused on recruiting
officers who could proficiently speak one or more of the 20 spoken languages in
London.  This resulted in 5,000
applicants joining the Met and has increased the diversity of languages spoken
in the organisation.  A further language
campaign was launched in January 2016, with the number of languages increased
to 25, and from which the Met recruited more officers with similar BME
representation to the first campaign. 
The MPS Inclusion and Diversity Strategy (2017-2021) details the
inclusion and diversity goals of the MPS and how it proposes to achieve them.  

Public
organisations, such as the police service, have limited flexibility and
innovation in their implementation and management of workforce diversity, due
to continued adherence to the merit system (Pitt, 2007).  The public is diverse so is the complications
so police need to be highly prepared to address this in public.  Race was major issue in the MPS to the extent
of it being it’s a white officer and a black victim.  This led to the relationship between the
public and police being non-existent thus, creating tensions to problems such
as; Brixton Riots (1981) which lead to the Lord Scarman Inquiry (1981), Stop
and Search which lead to Police and Criminal Evidence (PACE, 1984), Stephen
Lawrence death (1993) which lead to the Macpherson Report  (1999). 
The Macpherson Inquiry (1999) played a very dominant role in increasing
the momentum of the BME police recruitment. 
There have also been positive outcomes in retention and progression of
these groups of employees.  The Scarman
Report (1981) established an agenda for policing in the UK that continues to be
influential.  It highlighted the
police-community relations had been eroded due the failing strategies in the
recruitment and training of employees from diverse backgrounds.

The
diversity in the UK has increased rapidly over the years due to the economic
growth thus, leading to the rise of different social classes in society.  There has also been the introduction of new
legislations intended to support and protect the marginalised groups.  These legislations were meant to harmonise
individuals as one and it is envisaged that new legislation will have, in time,
a similar effect on the other strands as it has had upon race.  The Race Relations Act (1976) was to address
discrimination according to race and protect the human rights of the ethnic
minority groups.  The Sex Discrimination
Act (1975) was to defend individuals from being discriminated because of their
sexual orientation.  In recent times the
Human Rights Act (1998) extended the protection of discrimination on the
grounds of religion.

Diversity
is important to contemporary policing for pragmatic operational reasons and
also to preserve, regain or promote legitimacy (Rowe, 2014:162).  A better understanding of different cultures
is critical to a successful investigation involving those cultures.  We all live in a multi-cultural society and
our job is to police it.  Appreciating
the differences will also lead to better relationships with colleagues,
improved camaraderie, greater pride in the organisation and all round job satisfaction
(MPS, 2005).  Once the principle of
providing policing that meets the diverse needs of the diverse communities is
acknowledged, it is hard to identify where its consequences might end (Rowe,
2014:163).

Jewson
and Mason (1986) identified two distinct approaches to promoting equal
opportunities in employment.  These were
the liberal and radical change approaches. 
Liberal approach argued that women and men were essentially the same and
that sex equality would be achieved once employment policies and procedures
became identical for both sexes (Cockburn, 1989).  The liberal approach was identified with its
‘business-case’ arguments, which were propounded in the 1990s to achieve sex
equality at work.  However, the
‘business-case’ arguments failed in promoting equality for some disadvantaged
groups and its supporters were overly reliant on employers’ capitalist
aspirations to financial success and blind-sided of the discriminating motives
of some employers.

The
radical approach was adopted by individuals who held strong political and
ethical values and recognized the historical disadvantage that certain groups,
such as women, ethnic minorities and disabled persons, experienced in
employment (Jewson and Mason, 1986).  Its
supporters advocated for positive discrimination and affirmative action as
their methods for change (Alder and Izraeli, 1988:6).

The
continued under-representation of Black Minority Ethnic (BME) officers prompted
proactive and positive action policy from the Home Office to increase
recruitment among minority ethnic groups (Holdaway, 1991).  Based on current recruiting profiles, if
student officer attrition rates remain the same it is estimated that it will
take 23 years to achieve the 7% BME representation (if retention is not also
addressed this time-frame extends to 29 years) and 15 years to achieve a
critical mass of 35% women (Home Office, 2005). 
It is then likely that recruitment of police officers in the next five
years will decline year after year.  There
are no recruitment targets for women and the overall number of police women
looks okay.  It took 20 years to move
from 8% women to 16% from 1981-2001.  The
Gender Agenda acted as a catalyst and in the 5years since its launch in 2001
the percentage has been 22% (Home Office, 2005).

The
Home Office had set a ten year target of 26% of minority police officers by
2009, but have faced tremendous difficulty in attracting and retaining BME
officers.  The Metropolitan Police
Authority (MPA, 2010) reported that corporate leadership was weak in relation
to equality and diversity with no clear management board lead.  This matter has since been addressed with the
recent implementation of MPS Inclusion and Diversity Strategy (2017 – 2021).  The MPA Report (2010) also highlighted that
the processes and practices for recruitment and progression created unofficial
barriers for BME officers, and the informal cultural values of the MPS were
considered harmful to BME retention and progression in the service.  The MPA called for new strategies and
practices for diversity management which include all levels of the
organisation.

In
conclusion, this case study has revealed diversity management will continue to
become more complex and the demographics of the police will continue to
transform as the Met recruitment of female and BME officer’s increases.  Also, protected groups of individuals, female
and BME officers will continue to face challenges in relation to diversity and
equality despite the MPS implementation of policies and standard operating
procedures.  The potential benefits of
positive action have not been realised and more effort must be made, not only
at recruitment stages, but also to ensure retention and progression of under-represented
groups.  Each disadvantaged group
experience varying degrees of discrimination due to their membership of
disadvantaged groups.  Therefore,
improving one group’s position through radical action would not necessarily
provide equal opportunities.  MPS will
continue to face challenges continuously in addressing the issue of diversity
and equality but this is pivotal, for making the entire police service
receptive to the public.  It will also
contribute to improving the relationship between the police and the public.