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Notts widening access course helps to market opportunities in the force

Nottinghamshire?s chief constable Craig Guildford said their new widening access programme gives underrepresented groups without a policing network better access to the force.
Published - 03/09/2021 By - Chloe Livadeas

Ten people aged between 18 and 43 have just completed the two-week voluntary course which aims to give people who are interested in joining the force a behind-the-scenes look.

It aims to improve people’s awareness of the job opportunities in the force, both as officers and staff and has been mostly marketed at underrepresented groups. Each person on the course has shown a previous interest in becoming an officer, with some having already applied before.

One issue identified across policing in terms of BAME recruitment is a lack of a network already within the service for some individuals, something that Nottinghamshire recognises. 

CC Guidlford said the programme "gives people who are thinking about the police as a career in either an officer or a police staff role the chance to speak to individuals who have gone through the system themselves, and perhaps individuals from similar communities who have had similar experiences".

Asma Ali, an 18-year-old from Old Basford, had applied to become an officer and got through to the assessment centre round of the application process.

She was unsuccessful, but undeterred she feels the course has really helped her for when she applies in the future.

“There's only one national level,” said CC Guildford. “But we don't want to miss any talent.”

Ms Ali said: “Going through college, we never had any mention of potentially joining the police, so when I applied I didn’t feel like I had much support.

“This course has really given me an insight to the behind-the-scenes of the police and the personal stories of the people who work here.

“That insight has helped and inspired me. I think some people can be quite backward-minded about what the police are about.

“I think people think that police are out to get certain people but they’re not. You’ve got to educate yourself on both sides of the story to form your view but my experience of this course has been nothing but positive and hopefully I’ll become an officer myself.”

Programme attendees with the chief (right)

Nottinghamshire is one of the few forces commended by the Home Affairs Committee report into racial disparity in policing last month for its work on reaching representation.

CC Guildford said it was down to “an absolute whole raft of hard work behind the scenes with some very dedicated staff who reach out and go the extra mile”.

“These things take time, but it's about building trust and building confidence, opening the door so that people can have a look at you.”

CC Guildford said they’re particularly trying to reach the 15 to 18 year old age group – those approaching their GCSEs, A Levels or further education.

The force is running a 70/30 spit between IPLDP and the Police Constable Degree Programme until July next year after Superintendent Sukesh Verma told the chief that closing the IPLDP route could reduce BAME recruits by 90 per cent.

CC Guildford understands the argument that this is a potential issue.  

“I think the main issue with regards to BAME recruitment is to make sure that you are doing your level best to market the police as a good career for people and also to build that community confidence, so that people have confidence in us and confidence to join us,” he said.

After positive feedback the programme will run again next year.  Visit PoliceOracle.com - the UK's leading independent Policing news website