Essex Police launch new recruitment campaign to increase number of black, Asian and minority ethnic officers

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BJ Harrington, the Chief Constable of Essex Police, says his force has ‘done too little for too long’ to recruit more black, Asian and minority ethnic officers and action is needed urgently to recruit a police force that looks more like the communities it serves.

Mr Harrington’s comments came as the force launched a new campaign asking people from groups under-represented within the Essex Police’s current workforce to consider a career as a police officer.

Despite policing a county that is made up of a diverse mix of race, religion and cultures, just over two per cent of Essex Police’s officers are identified as black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME). Just 77 or 2.5% of officers identify as BAME, compared to a population in Essex of nearly 7%.

The campaign includes a series of social media posts and web-film adverts showing police officers from different backgrounds in everyday policing scenarios. The films, which use actors, are also accompanied by video interviews of serving Essex Police officers, Specials, cadets and staff who talk about their experiences of working for the force, the barriers that can exist between their communities and the police, and the importance of recruiting more colleagues from the many diverse communities of Essex. To view the films and find out more about recruitment visit www.essex.police.uk/diversityinpolicing

Essex Police’s Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said: “It’s a fundamental part of the values and ethics of policing that we protect and serve without fear or favour, yet I would question whether a force which did not reflect the make-up of the place it serves can ever be truly representative. We have done too little for too long on this and this is part of a considered piece of work to show people from all of our county’s communities that they should consider us a good employer, offering jobs with real prospects that make massive differences to lives every day.”

“Policing is for all backgrounds and all walks of life, an endeavour for brain and body. If you care about your community, if you want to make a difference, if you want to protect the vulnerable and take bad people off the streets, then join us. We are all different people, but those who work for our force share the same values and are part of the same police family.”

Retired former Chief Supt Win Bernard, who served with Essex Police for over 30 years said: “We are all part of the community in spite of our ethnicity, religion or national background. It is imperative that the police service reflects the society it serves. Breaking down barriers requires contact, togetherness and understanding, these cannot be achieved by isolation”.

The Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner for Essex, Roger Hirst, is backing the campaign and said: “I commend BJ Harrington for making this a priority at the start of his tenure as Chief Constable. A diverse workforce brings different knowledge and expertise and builds stronger relationships with communities, enabling it to serve and protect them more effectively. “
Essex Police’s commitment to promoting fairness and equality is underpinned by our Positive Action programme. The programme offers under-represented groups’ additional support to ensure the recruitment process is fair for everyone including a buddy scheme and preparation workshops.

The force also has a variety of support networks for staff including: the Women’s Leadership Development Forum, the LGBT Network, Disability Network, Minority Ethnic Support Association (MESA), the Christian Police Association and many more.

For more information about the campaign and how you can apply to become a police constable please visit www.essex.police.uk

New constables will start on a salary of £24,518 with the potential to rise to £41,150 within your first seven years.

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