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Third largest BAME force sets out plans for biggest recruitment drive

Bedfordshire Police has launched its biggest ever recruitment drive to find 156 new officers this year.
Published - 28/08/2020 By - Chloe Livadeas

The force with the third highest proportion of BAME officers in the country will use a community panel to help attract more applicants from diverse backgrounds. 

As a relatively small constabulary with just over 1,100 officers it includes the very diverse city of Luton attached to a busy airport and faces many of the crime challenges of large metropolitan forces. 

Chief Superintendent Karena Thomas, head of people and workforce development, said: “Bedfordshire is a fantastic place to police, it is fast paced, varied and challenging but officers have so many opportunities to make a difference both on a personal level and to the local community. It is vital that we have the right people on board to serve our communities and strive to create a workforce of diverse background, experience and opportunity."

Chief Constable Garry Forsyth,the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for Race and Religion, along with PCC Kathryn Holland, is keen to ensure the force represents the highly ethnically diverse communities they serve.

With this in mind, the force have invited community members to assist with recruitment. 

PCC Holland said: “This county has a rich diversity of ethnicities and cultures and more than 140 languages are spoken here. We’re looking for representatives of each and every one of those communities as part of our recruitment drive and have the proud distinction of being third for BAME diversity in the country after the vast Metropolitan Police and West Midlands Police following their own efforts to also attract a more representative workforce.

“I can assure you that you’ll be valued and supported as part of a ‘family’ force recently graded as ‘good’ across the board this year for all of efficiency, effectiveness, leadership, legitimacy and keeping people safe by the police watchdog. We want to be the best force in Britain and the most welcoming of all candidates across diversity and have mentoring programmes to that end.

“This commitment to both excellence and representation of our whole community over the past four plus years that I’ve been PCC for Bedfordshire is not just window dressing. It’s an absolutely genuine set of ambitions for our police force, myself and our Chief Constable,”

PCC Holland, has promised 20 more paid for by an increase in the police precept. The government’s national uplift will fund 36 new officers in 2020-21.

The force also needs to replace the 100 or so officers who resign or retire each year, making the total number of positions to fill 156.

CC Forsyth said: “Policing is a challenging role, especially in these trying times, but one of the most rewarding. At Bedfordshire Police we can proudly say we can offer you endless opportunities, I have gone from the classic bobby on the beat and worked my way up to Chief Constable."

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