The Police Service is under pressure to meet a Home Office target of 7% of officers coming from non-white backgrounds by 2009. Police chiefs have admitted they face a massive task convincing officers of the merits of plans to push job applications from white males to the bottom of the pile.
The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) had called for a change in the law so that “priority could be given to minority ethnic and female applicants”.”Acpo is hoping to educate people within the force, because there is a defensiveness there which comes from not understanding what [affirmative action] is all about,”
The Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, slammed the proposal, saying it went beyond positive action. They said: “These new proposals could be counter-productive. All officers, including black and female officers, want to be recognised for their skills and abilities rather than receiving preferential treatment.”
108 applicants were told they had been “randomly de-selected” from the recruitment process by one Force. It later emerged that nearly two-thirds of white men who applied to join the constabulary in the latest recruitment drive were turned down, whereas every ethnic minority candidate was invited for an assessment. The Force said it was obliged by law to bring the ethnic breakdown of its officers into line with that of the community it serves.
Another Force has admitted that his force used “inappropriate” recruitment techniques when excluding white applicants. They admitted that a recruitment scheme which relied on positive discrimination to increase the proportion of women and ethnic minorities in the force was “not appropriate”. A man rejected by this Force because he was white has won an undisclosed sum in compensation in an out-of-court settlement. It could mean a massive payout if the other 185 applicants decide to follow suit. It faces a bill of up to £4m if all those rejected on racial grounds come forward. Let’s see, what could we get with 4 million?
So remember, if ever you face discipline on the alleged grounds of racism, that phrase positive discrimination. If itis good enough for a Chief Constable not to lose his job, it may be good enough for you. It is racism, after all. But then again, perhaps not.
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