National Black Police Association (NBPA) president Keith Jarrett has insisted that his members do support his call for positive discrimination, despite a poll on the association’s website showing 56% of respondents strongly disagree with it.
Jarrett said the 522 respondents to last week’s survey on ‘affirmative action’ were not necessarily members of the NBPA, whose aim is to promote good race relations and equality of opportunity in the police. He claimed that many of the votes could even be from far-right activists.
“Of the 46 black police associations, 39 of them have agreed to affirmative action,” Jarrett added.
But service union the Police Federation said positive discrimination – called for by the Association of Chief Police Officers last month – would place a “burden” on those black officers that are recruited.
Federation chairman Jan Berry said that even if larger metropolitan forces recruited only black officers between now and 2009, they would still fail to meet their targets set in 1999 by then home secretary Jack Straw to better reflect local communities.
“There is also a real danger that in lowering standards, which has already happened, the retention of staff following costly training will become a greater problem,” said Berry.
But Jarrett hit back, saying these arguments were “just excuses” to avoid recruiting black staff. “It’s nonsense,” he told Personnel Today. “Officers aren’t going to have a sign around their neck saying they’ve been recruited because they are black.
“It is really insulting that every time we talk about doing something better that would help a black police officer, people talk about lowering standards.”