Avon and Somerset Police: Bid to get more BME officers promoted

Avon and Somerset police HQ
Image caption The force has no BME officers who are higher than the rank of inspector

The Avon and Somerset police force has launched a new leadership programme to help black and ethnic minority (BME) officers to move up through the ranks.

The £50,000 project will be used to help the force understand the barriers these officers face and give them the confidence to go for promotion. 

The first cohort will have up to 20 BME officers who want to be promoted.

Three per cent of police officers are from a BME background, but none has reached beyond the rank of inspector.

'Systemic barriers'

The force has previously run informal group sessions and individual mentoring for staff looking to develop their careers, but this project is new, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The aim is to help officers reach chief inspector level.

A spokesperson for the force said: "The positive action leadership development programme is a step to make this support more structured and integrated in our wider development programme. 

"The under-representation of officers and staff from BAME backgrounds doesn't have a single straightforward cause.

"Low numbers of BAME recruits could be linked to a number of systemic and societal barriers, as well as community tensions and perceptions of the police.

"Historically, many people join the police because friends or family have been employed and a traditionally low level of BAME officers and staff has a knock-on effect on the recruits we attract."

Of the 82 BME officers in the Avon and Somerset force, 69 are constables, 10 are sergeants and three are inspectors.

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