The Metropolitan Police HR director has rejected calls for black or Asian officers to oversee police recruitment to break the ‘glass ceiling’ for minorities.
Speaking at the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) Race and Faith Inquiry in London today, Martin Tiplady said he would recruit an independent person to help the force’s progression panel make fair decisions when promoting officers.
But Tiplady later told Personnel Today the individual hired would not necessarily be from a minority background – as had been suggested by the National Association of Muslim Police during the early stages of the inquiry in February.
Tiplady said: “I want the individual recruited onto the promotion panel to be from a diverse background, but that means they could be white, potentially. What I don’t want is ‘just because you’re black you can only speak about black issues’.”
Tiplady admitted to the inquiry that promotion had seen the “slowest progress” when it came to black and minority ethnic (BME) staff, rather than recruitment or retention, which has improved significantly over the past 10 years. He repeated previous explanations for slow improvement on promotion – that it takes time once a BME person has been recruited into the force to acquire the skills and experience for progression.
But he denied outright there had ever been a “golden circle” of handpicked, white officers surrounding the former police commissioner – an allegation arising from one of the high-profile employment tribunals last year – but admitted informal networks of officers may make it difficult for minority staff to break into.
He told the panel: “I have never seen any evidence of a golden circle. I accept that if there is a perception of the golden circle we have to something about it.”
The independent interviewer soon to be recruited to help oversee BME promotion should help resolve this issue, Tiplady told Personnel Today. “We need an experienced interviewer, who can bring a different perspective. We don’t need someone to just sit there and observe – they need to participate,” he added.
The next round of chief inspector promotions will be held by the end of May, during which the new independent panel member will be recruited, Tiplady said.
The Met has also just launched an internal website to advertise acting promotions available in an open and transparent manner, which Tiplady hopes will drive up applications from BME candidates.
However the inquiry panel, led by independent MPA member Cindy Butts, was concerned that promotions awarded up to inspector level would be decided locally, meaning there was no central process for overseeing which staff from which backgrounds got the chance to be promoted.