Met Police HR director Martin Tiplady has admitted the under-fire force is “light years away” from achieving proportionate levels of black or Asian officers in senior ranks.
But he said the inquiry into alleged racism at the country’s biggest police force could help speed up the promotion prospects of minority staff.
London mayor Boris Johnson announced the inquiry last week after the Met’s Black Police Association (MBPA) started actively discouraging black and ethnic minority (BME) staff from joining it.
Tiplady told Personnel Today: “Anything that helps to grow confidence in the public and our workforce that our system and our processes are fair and are equal is a good thing.”
He added that the ideas expanding on positive action schemes currently used at the Met to source more BME staff, such as the force’s diversity bus, would be welcomed.
However, he pointed out that 20% of the Met’s new recruits were of BME origin, roughly mirroring the capital’s population, and said that being promoted to chief superintendent level or above took time.
“You have to work through the ranks, and can only get promoted after you’ve got experience: that will be a slow, painful process.
“We are, regrettably, light years away from achieving senior ranks of ethnic minority,” he said.
The MBPA claimed last week that the decisions to suspend the UK’s most senior Asian police officer, Tarique Ghaffur, and commander Ali Dizaei, were proof enough that BME staff were treated with prejudice.
It said it would “be failing in its duty” if it did not tell people of the “hostile and racist situation” at the Met.
But Tiplady described the recruitment boycott as “nonsense”.
“Things like this cause divisions in the workplace; there could be a negative reaction among staff,” he said.
Talks between the MBPA and the Met about the boycott broke down last week after Tiplady said: “With or without an inquiry, let’s work with you people to make it a better organisation.”
The MBPA objected, but Tiplady said the phrase ‘you people’ was literally directed to a group of people. “I was unaware that any offence had been caused,” he told Personnel Today.