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Media campaign launched in bid to improve diversity

Primetime TV adverts featuring frontline officers are set to run bid to improve diversity.
Published - 20/05/2021 By - Chris Smith

A media campaign backed by the Home Office is being launched in a bid to improve the diversity of new recruits.

Adverts will run on Channel 4 terrestrial TV featuring Black, female and LGBTQ police officers talking to the public about challenging issues including stop and search.

The campaign to recruit 20,000 new officers is ahead of target but concerns have been raised by force leaders that the chance to begin to reflect the make-up of local communities could be lost.

Untold: The Police features members of the public from groups that are less likely to consider a career in policing interview serving police officers from those same communities.

The unscripted conversations with the potential new recruits raise issues that are closest to them, including the reaction of family and friends, inclusion, the Black Lives Matter movement, stop and search, and balancing personal life with work.

Two 30-second ads have been created from edits of the new series. These will also run as a digital campaign on All 4.

The campaign is badly-needed as the police recruitment drive peak coincided with protests in support of the Black Lives Matters and a series of incidents involving BAME people that were shared widely on social media.

The Police Foundation’s conference earlier this year heard that many officers still come from families that have a policing tradition or are supportive of their plan to sign up.

It also heard warnings that the battle has yet to be won to win over BAME families who want their children to go into status professions or who are wary of the police.

The Channel 4 adverts will also help boost local work by forces aimed at supporting existing officers as well as connecting with local communities for potential recruits.

The launch came as forces across the country marked National Inclusion Week with events and conferences to raise awareness of work already going on.

Lancashire Police revealed today it is ahead of officer recruitment targets.

It said: “In addition to the target to recruit an extra 153 officers this year, over 60% of the new officers recruited were female.”

Leicestershire Police are promoting their nine staff networks and that officers on the force speak 20 languages.

“The Leicestershire Police team strives to be as diverse as the communities across our city and two counties,” it said.

The networks are: Adoption and Fostering, the Black Police Association (BPA), the Disability Support Network (DSA), LGBT+ and WIN, the Women’s Inclusive Network. There are four different faith networks too - Christianity, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh.

Head of the forces Diversity and Inclusion unit, Lynne Woodward, said: “The networks are an essential part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion. They also work and contribute to ensuring the organisation is always looking to improve and advance equality of opportunity both within, as well as externally in the work with different communities.”

But frontline officers warned more work needs to be done on improving the public’s attitudes to diversity.

The LGBTI group for Police Scotland shared data that revealed officers are most likely to be on the receiving end of hate abuse – and most of it linked to their sexuality.

One in five hate crimes in 2019/20 were against a Police Scotland officer.

The Policing Minister said the campaign will not shy away from difficult issues.

Kit Malthouse MP said: “The government’s push to recruit 20,000 extra officers gives us a once in a generation opportunity to make the police more representative of the communities they serve and ensure they are drawing from the full range of talent that this country has to offer.

“To do this, we need to be bold, honest and tackle difficult issues head on, and that is exactly what this exciting partnership with Channel 4 is doing.&

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