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Tuesday, 18 December, 2001, 17:29 GMT
'Trust is key to more black police'
Black policeman
Recruitment of black and Asian officers has been rising
The organisation representing ethnic minority police officers has said gaining the trust of black and Asian communities is vital to sustaining the growth in their numbers.

Figures published on Tuesday revealed that the number of black and Asian officers in England and Wales is growing at a much faster rate than the force in general.

In the last year, the number of minority ethnic officers has increased by nearly 10%, compared to just over 2% for the force as a whole.

Ravi Chand, of the National Black Police Association (NBPA), told BBC News Online that the continuing growth was encouraging but warned the force must make a greater effort to retain minority officers.

Ravi Chand: "Forces need to retain black officers"

Sgt Chand said: "The only way they're going to do that is to ensure that every step is taken to make sure the working environment is fair and just."

Tuesday's figures showed that the West Midlands force had the highest proportion of ethnic minority officers at just over 5%, with Leicester close behind at 4.8%.

The country's biggest force, the Metropolitan police, had the third highest proportion of minority officers at 4.4% - 10% up on the same time last year.

'Met should do better'

But that still leaves it far short of the 25% target set in the wake of the 1999 Macpherson report.

The report, which followed an inquiry into the police investigation of the black teenage Stephen Lawrence, recommended that police forces should have ethnic minority officers in proportion to the community being served.

Sgt Chand believed the Metropolitan police should be doing better.

"Officers often transfer to London because of the better pay and conditions.

"So they should be able to recruit from the minority communities more effectively and at a faster rate than the shire forces," he said.

The Met needed to take a lead from some of the rural forces who were doing a much better job at recruiting ethnic minority officers, Sgt Chand added.

See also:

18 Dec 01 | UK Politics
UK police numbers leap
09 Aug 99 | UK Politics
Drive to boost black police numbers
18 Dec 01 | UK
Q&A: Police numbers
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