HC Deb 23 January 1986 vol 90 cc441-2
15. Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will give the numbers and percentage of serving police officers from ethnic minorities.

The Minister of State, Home Office (Mr. David Waddington)

On 30 November 1985, 753 police officers —0.62 per cent. of the total police strength in England and Wales—were members of the ethnic minorities.

Mr. Alton

Will the Minister tell the House how many policemen have been recruited from the ethnic minority into the graduate training scheme? Given that that scheme will be used for the high ranking officers of the future, do the Government intend to try to attract more people from the black and ethnic minority groups?

Mr. Waddington

I cannot give the hon. Gentleman the figure now, but I shall write to him about it. It is most important that the question should be on the Order Paper. I do not think that any of us underestimates the importance of the matter. We should bend our efforts towards attracting more members of the ethnic minority into the police.

Mr. John Mark Taylor

Can my hon. and learned Friend reassure the House that in police recruitment aptitude and ability will continue to be the paramount considerations?

Mr. Waddington

That is absolutely right. I am glad that my hon. Friend has mentioned that point. In the Scarman report it was made plain that it would not be right to lower educational standards, nor would it be right to have quotas and give the impression that there are second-class policemen. We cannot deal with the problem in that way.

Mr. Boyes

What exactly is the Minister doing to encourage more people from the ethnic groups to join the police?

Mr. Waddington

For a number of years there has been an annual advertising campaign, directed not so much at those who will join the force but at the opinion formers so that they may preach the gospel that the police service offers a good career. Most important of all, the police should continue to take steps to gain the confidence of the ethnic minority communities, and, of course, hon. Members and others should build up the confidence of local communities in the police and avoid denigrating them. It is that sort of behaviour, all too prevalent on the Left, which destroys so many of our efforts.

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