How diverse are the police?

Published 21 August 2017

On 20 July 2017, the Home Office published the annual statistical bulletin ‘Police Workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2017’. The latest police diversity data profiles (available on this site) show the BME and gender diversity for the police workforce of police officers, police community support officers (PCSOs), police staff and special constables, as well as the ethnic and gender diversity of different police ranks.

These data also show how diverse individual forces are in comparison with the local force area population, allowing the public to hold Police and Crime Commissioners and Chief Constables to account for how well the force reflects the community it serves.

Bringing in new perspectives

The police have made real improvements in diversity - there are a greater proportion of women and black and minority ethnic (BME) officers than ever before. However, the Government has been clear that there is more for forces to do.

Innovative schemes such as Direct Entry and Police Now are making the police workforce more diverse; showing that we can attract the brightest and best into policing, whilst introducing new perspectives into policing some of the country’s most challenging neighbourhoods.

Diverse police forces to meet modern crime challenges

Police forces that reflect the communities they serve are crucial to tackling crime in a modern diverse society. Increasing diversity in police forces goes right to the heart of this country’s historical principle of policing by consent. The police need to understand communities if they are to tackle crimes that affect them. More than ever, diversity is an important part of operational effectiveness.

The Home Office collects data on BME and female officers and staff, and we want this to be as accessible as possible. We also know that policing can be more representative and inclusive in other areas of diversity. Despite the difficultly in collecting robust data for other protected characteristics, the Government is clear that they are equally important.

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