Recruitment of ethnic minorities has to be balanced with limited new jobs in the police force, Hampshire’s top officer has said.
It comes as home secretary Theresa May criticised police forces for poor recruitment of black officers.
Hampshire chief constable Andy Marsh said his force actively recruited staff investigators last year from under-represented minority groups in an internship scheme.
And the force is now funding 14 people from diverse communities to obtain the Certficate of Knowledge of Policing, which is needed to become a police officer.
Mr Marsh said: ‘Ensuring our workforce is representative oF the communities that we serve is extremely important to us, and we have made a commitment to ethnic minorities to represent them and their views equally with those from other sections of society.
‘This has to be balanced against limited funding and the limited opportunities to recruit across the force.
‘We routinely explore a range of legitimate and lawful ways to encourage and empower more people from diverse communities to consider careers in policing.
‘We treat all applicants equally and recruitment is based on merit.’
He added: ‘We are also seeking to actively recruit PCSOs, detention officers and in the Force Enquiry Centre and this is ongoing work.’