Home Office rules out positive discrimination

The Home Office has rejected calls from chief police officers to be allowed to use positive discrimination in the drive to recruit more officers from ethnic minorities.

Under government rules, 7% of officers in all police forces must be drawn from ethnic minorities by 2009.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has called on the Home Office to allow discrimination in favour of ethnic minority recruits, and said that targets were “almost impossible” to meet. But the Home Office said it would not endorse recruitment on that basis.

“Targets have been set and there are no plans to change them,” a Home Office spokeswoman said.

“We are aware that this is a challenging target and that much remains to be done, but we continue to work towards it and we are pleased with the progress so far.”

Last week, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) published its annual Equalities in Employment report, showing a continued rise in the number of women and ethnic minority recruits entering the service.

The proportion of female CPS employees at senior civil service level rose from 27.3% in 2004 to 33.3% in 2005.

The proportion of black and minority ethnic legal trainees rose from 40.5% in 2004 to 46.4% in 2005.

Angela O’Connor, HR director at the CPS, said that using positive discrimination to recruit a diverse workforce would be unfair and counter-productive.

She said that flexible levels of entry, open advertising and sourcing talent from within the organisation had produced good results.

“We have no interest in positive discrimination,” she said, adding: “It is unfair to the individuals you recruit, unfair to those in the organisation and it is no good for customers.”

Police discrimination payouts, www.personneltoday.com/34516.article

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