Training shortfalls fuels CRE criticism of police

Diversity
training is under fire following the Commission for Racial Equality’s (CRE)
interim report into race equality in the police service in England and Wales.

Published
last month, it criticised a ‘sheep-dip’ approach and superficial treatment of
the issues.

The
Race Relations Act requires all organisations to ensure they don’t
discriminate, with public authorities having the additional statutory
responsibility of promoting diversity, namely through a racial equality scheme.

But
while the legal requirements are quite specific, the means of fulfilling the
requirements are not. As the CRE’s head of public duty policy Lisa King said:
“there is nothing prescriptive about what that training should be. It’s for the
organisation to decide”.

The
CRE report comes down hard on poor training. However, the problem with a lot of
diversity training is not so much the learning itself, but rather that too much
is expected from it, said Binna Kandola, managing partner of the occupational
psychologists consultancy Pearn Kandola.

“Too
often when people put in a diversity strategy, what they’re really doing is
just putting in place a training strategy. So their diversity strategy is their
training strategy, and everything rests on how well that training goes.”

Kandola,
whose firm devised a diversity training programme for Hertfordshire
Constabulary, advises using a training needs analysis to design different
training for different groups of individuals. “Three different kinds of
training course were provided: one for people in the constabulary generally,
one for people working with specialist groups in the community or particular
types of cases, and one for managers,” said Kandola. “It went beyond race to
encompass other issues as well, and link diversity into the values of the
organisation.”

Such
an approach makes diversity an integral part of the way the organisation works,
enabling it to be incorporated into all other kinds of training that is offered
as well.

Training
needs analysis

Four
key issues must be addressed if a diversity strategy is to be genuinely
effective, according to occupational psychologist Binna Kandola:


Policies of the organisation: Do you have the right policies in place on
diversity?


Procedures people follow: Will the training help to do what the policies say?


Perceptions in the workplace: Is training contributing to awareness generally
of diversity issues in the workplace, and are people perceiving a change? Can
they see that things are happening?


Demographics: Are there actual changes in the number of ethnic minorities being
employed in your organisation?

By
Margaret Kubicek

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