COMMENT: Long way to go before Hampshire force reflects communities

We're sure that new Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner Donna Jones is going to have a sizeable in-tray to deal with when she begins work in the post.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 12:00 am

But there is one issue that needs to be made a priority - and that is addressing the fact that the county's force does not mirror the people it serves.

We reveal today how just THREE black people have been recruited among nearly 450 new police officers in Hampshire

The extra numbers are welcome, but in no way are they reflective of society. Figures seen by The News show there are just 10 black officers in the county force as of March this year.

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Six Asian officers have been recruited along with seven people who identify as having a mixed ethnicity – alongside 420 white colleagues.

Clearly, something needs to change if the force in Hampshire is to properly represent a multi-cultural society.

A return of just three black recruits, even after spending £20,000 on diversity recruitment adverts, shows that many people feel the police is not for them.

Did the adverts not hit their intended target?

Senior police certainly saw them as an opportunity to increase the numbers of black, Asian and minority ethnic officers in the ranks.

So why has that not translated into people from those groups joining the force?

Midia Medina, from Portsmouth’s Black Lives Matter, talks of changes that need to happen before more people from the BAME community consider the police as a career.

Hampshire’s assistant chief constable Lucy Huston says measures have been put in place and that there are now a total of 97 BAME officers in the force.

We welcome that news, but the truth is there's still a long way to go before the make-up of Hampshire police properly reflects the county's communities.