The Metropolitan Police has done more to improve diversity than any other organisation in the UK, according to its HR chief.
Martin Tiplady told delegates at last month's Personnel Today HR Directors Club event that the force had been transformed over the past 10 years since the Macpherson Report into the death of black teenager Stephen Lawrence.
The report found that the Met Police investigation had been incompetent there was a failure of leadership by senior officers and accused the police service of being institutionally racist.
"If I think back 10 years to Stephen Lawrence's murder, [the Met was an] organisation that had a demoralised workforce, strained resources, alleged institutional incompetence and alleged institutional racism," Tiplady said. "That situation is now reformed - not to where we want to be, but the force is well advanced on that journey."
Tiplady said massive leaps in diversity had been achieved, despite the best efforts of the national press – and in particular the Daily Mail – by writing negative stories. The Met is the UK's largest force and now employs about 2,600 black and minority ethnic officers, compared with just 779 in 1998.
"However much I don't like it, the major opinion former in what we do at the Met is the media," said Tiplady. "We cannot fight this, so we have to deal with it."
Tiplady joked that he would like to make reading the Daily Mail on police time a disciplinary and sackable offence.
He told delegates that the importance of leadership could not be overstated. It was the business discipline that HR professionals should be most concerned about, as it led to organisational success or failure, Tiplady added.
"Leadership is not management it is the ability to inspire. Over the next few years as we try to modernise the police service, the need for leadership will be pretty considerable," he said.
"The challenge to all HR directors is: are you developing leaders as well as managers, who know how and what to do, and not just the processes to follow?"
The lunch was held at the Malmaison Hotel in Oxford – a converted Victorian prison still in use up until 1996.
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