The ethnic make up of the Metropolitan Police is hugely out of line with the people it is policing. 3,729 of the Met’s 31,877 officers are classified as BME. That is 11.7% but the population of the capital is 40% black and ethnic.
Broken down by rank the numbers show an even more serious lack of representation at some levels. At Constable level 13% of officers are BME. But at senior level it is half that rate. Just 2 of the 29 Chief Officers, that’s the most senior people above the rank of Chief Superintendent, are black or minority ethnic by origin.
And there appears to be an even more serious problem among middle ranking officers. Only 2.7% of Chief Inspectors and 5.9% of Inspectors in the Met are black or other minority ethnic, according to the latest figures from the Home Office.
The Metropolitan Police has the highest proportion of officers who identify themselves as Black or other Minority Ethnic of any force in England and Wales.
The rates are worse for the much smaller City of London force. 43 of its 739 officers are BME, that’s 5.8%. And there are none above the rank of Chief Inspector. They are pollicing an areas where the resident population is is 22% black and other minority ethnic.
4 forces in England and Wales, Cheshire, Durham, North Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys, have no black officers.
The Met has been trying to address the problem since the Macpherson Report into the investigation of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence branded it as “institutionally racist”.
The proportion of BME officers has been increasing steadily but missing targets. In 2005 the proportion of BME officers was half the current rate at 6.9%. And recruitment of black officers has improved. In 2014 more than 500 recruits, or 16% of the total, were BME.
The Labour candidate for Mayor, Sadiq Khan, says that he would introduce a quota system to try to address the disparity.
Much more will need to be done before that faces of the Met and the City of London force reflect the populations that they are policing.