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New Year Uplift campaign targets BAME communities

BAME communities are a top priority for the latest Uplift recruitment campaign.
Published - 11/01/2022 By - Chris Smith

The latest campaign to attract Uplift recruits has launched featuring serving officers.

Two adverts will run on TV, cinema and social media in a bid to reach people who aren’t aware of the initiative to recruit thousands of police officers and are considering a New Year career change.

BAME community audiences are a priority for the campaign in the hope that forces will be able to improve diversity in the new intake.

More than half of the 20,000 Uplift target has been achieved but demands to improve diversity across the ranks has led to the second phase being revised to reach minority groups.

According to the Home Office between April 2020 and September 2021 there has been a total of 17,872 new recruits to police forces in England and Wales (just over 11,000 were recruited as part of the Uplift programme). Of these, 7,296 were female making up 42% of all new recruits  - which it describes as "a notable increase on levels seen in previous years."

In the same period 1,935 new recruits identified as belonging to a minority ethnic group. This equates to 11.4% of new recruits (among the 95% who stated their ethnicity) identified as belonging to Black (1.6%), Asian (5.4%), Mixed (3.5%) or in the Other (0.9%) ethnic group. 

As part of the new advertising campaign and to challenge perceptions directly, officers are fronting the campaign.

Among the officers featured is Police Constable Lola Giwa from Greater Manchester.

She joined the force after being impressed with the way the police helped her son who was being bullied at school.

She said: “We were treated with respect and compassion, and the officer was persistent and effective, and I thought, ‘yes, I can do the same thing’ and give back to my community and protect the most vulnerable people in society.

“We need representation from every background in the police that will help bridge the gap between police and those communities and I encourage people to join. It is actually the best job you can ever think of, and I’m not sugar coating it.”

Individual forces are also running their own campaigns to build on the momentum of the national initiative.

They are utilising local news contacts and their own social media channels to reach local communities.

Hertfordshire is looking to recruit 300 more officers and one of its own officers has developed the force’s campaign.

Mixed heritage female police officer, Detective Inspector Gemma Badat, is leading the force’s efforts having taken on the Positive Action Recruitment and Retention role in the Workforce Development Unit.

Originally, West Yorkshire-born Gemma planned to train as a teacher after her degree in English literature and history but decided she wanted to make a difference in a different way.

She explained: “It is vitally important that the constabulary is representative of the communities that we serve. We need to engage with all communities to understand their needs and break down barriers to be effective in keeping people safe.

“This role is particularly important to me as a mixed heritage female inspector: growing up in the ‘90s I faced racist comments about the colour of my skin being different in a predominantly white community, and whilst this was unpleasant it spurred me on to succeed, as I value all difference and believe that now is the time for people of colour to take responsibility and be part of the change.”

DI Badat added: “As corny and trite as it may sound, I wanted to make a difference within the community and help people in their time of need.”

Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said the latest stage of Uplift proved the government was meeting its commitment to policing.

She said: “Two years ago, this government made a promise to the public to put 20,000 extra police officers on our streets – and we are delivering on that pledge with an additional 11,053 police officers already recruited.”

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