Chief: A fundamental issue of fairness for the force
This is Chief Constable Dave Thompson’s response to a media story about an input at Force Leadership Conference on the concept of “whiteness” where leaders heard from an academic about how certain norms are ingrained in our society.
West Midlands Police does not reflect the communities we serve.
We serve the second most ethnically diverse region in the country with more than 30% of the population from minority communities.
We are one of the most diverse areas in the country. We are also the youngest.
But the force does not reflect this: Only around 11% of the force are from minority groups. 58% of the force is male. Our average age is 41.
We must do better.
I am committed to changing this by recruiting and promoting a more diverse workforce. I want the force to look like the public we serve.
We simply have to do this as our region is changing rapidly and we won’t be a fair and legitimate service if we don’t change too.
This means investing in diversity and inclusion strategies and the staff to deliver this, positive action programmes and national support for staff networks.
It also means challenging our leaders.
Professor Robert Beckford is a leading national academic who came to discuss the concept of Whiteness. This is an established and researched academic subject that was used to invite senior leaders to discuss how our current demographics reflect how we work, and what we can do to create a fairer and more inclusive West Midlands Police.
It was an excellent and challenging input, funded from our training budget.
I am aware some people feel this is about the police being obsessed with political correctness.
It isn’t. It is a fundamental issue of fairness.
Making sure we are fair to all our staff and communities is at the heart of what West Midlands Police needs to do.
I will not shy away from challenging our force to be the best we can be - for everyone.