Met to develop minority officers for top positions

London’s police service is hoping to change the ‘white macho’ image of its
elite detective units with the launch of a new training course for female and
ethnic officers.

The Met’s HR team developed the training course to give under-represented
groups a broad range of detection skills, enabling them to compete for the top
jobs.

Plain-clothes detectives in the CID and specialist teams, including the
paedophile unit and special branch, contain just 17 black or Asian senior
officers and 47 women.

The course will give officers hands-on experience of detective work and will
develop viable candidates for senior positions and improve recruitment.

Darren Bird, a senior executive officer for diversity at the Met, said long
hours, a lack of flexibility and the notion of detective teams being the domain
of white males had fed into the problem.

"There has been a perception of a macho culture that we have been doing
a lot to dispel. We are trying to redress the balance and get more ethnic and
female detectives," he said.

Only female and ethnic officers will be eligible for the course, although
Bird stressed it would not lead to automatic selection, and the officers would
still have to compete against white and male candidates.

He said increased female and non-white participation in specialist detective
teams would improve recruitment and retention, bring in new talent and
introduce fresh ways of thinking.

The Female and Ethnic Minority Training Programme will last three to nine
months and is expected to take 15 people a time.

The Met is one of the few bodies to successfully increase the number of
ethnic staff, with 1,286 officers in the force, although the Home Office has
set a target of 25 per cent by 2009.

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