Calls for more diversity within police force as new figures reveal low levels of minority officers

New calls are being made for greater diversity in Avon and Somerset police as figures reveal current levels of black, Asian and minority ethnic people employed by the force is almost half that of the population it serves.

In total, just 3.3% of officers and civilian staff classify themselves as BAME whereas 6% of all those living in the force area do so.

The Avon and Somerset force has appointed outreach workers targeting all those under-represented in its service. Credit: ITV News West Country

The highest rank for a full-time non-white officer is Inspector and one of them has told ITV News a lot more needs to be done until the police are truly representative of the public.

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Avon and Somerset force has appointed nine outreach workers in a recruitment drive targeting all those under-represented in its service.

One of them, Paul Walker, a former officer with Wiltshire police, admits the service is not for everyone, but a wide variety of opportunities could tempt some to sign-up.

Paul was a former police officer with Wiltshire police Credit: ITV News West Country

He says: "There are a lot of barriers out there but just by opening communication, we can look at breaking those barriers down."

There are a lot of barriers out there but just by opening communication, we can look at breaking those barriers down.

Paul Walker

Avon and Somerset diversity statistics

  • As a proportion of its entire workforce, people of a black, Asian and minority ethnic background represent just 3.2% of Avon and Somerset's police officers. 

  • It's almost identical for staff or civilian numbers (3.1%).

  • Of its total workforce of just over 6,268, just 218 are BAME.


Credit: Insp Deepak Kenth says some of his own family and friends have questioned his decision to join the force.

Insp Deepak Kenth holds the highest rank of a full-time BAME officer in Avon and Somerset.

He says even some of his own family and friends questioned his decision to join up 17 years ago and, more widely, people still need to be convinced.

"For me, it's having a seat at the table," he explains. 

"It's very difficult to change something from the outside.

"You have to be involved and that's why I'd appeal to all our communities to come and join me Avon & Somerset because we want to be the most inclusive police force in the country."

Ultimately, we're there to serve the public so we should be representative of the public.

Inspector Deepak Kenth