Avon & Somerset Police recruitment process 'racially discriminatory'

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Black and Ethnic Minority people applying to be officers at Avon and Somerset Police are twice as likely to be rejected than white candidates.

The Freedom of Information (FOI) request has also shown that candidates of Asian heritage are three times more likely to not be given a job.

The FOI figures, obtained by the podcast Media Storm, revealed that fewer than one in five Black candidates became a police officer as part of the Government's major recruitment programme.

The scheme hoped to bolster police forces across by 20,000 officers in England and Wales between 2020 and March 2023.

The figures revealed:

  • Seven out of 38 black applicants succeeded

  • Ten out of 91 Asian applicants succeeded

  • 947 or 2,565 white applicants succeeded

But people from mixed heritage backgrounds were more successful, with 25 of the 56 applicants becoming officers.

"It seems to be the vetting is where it's fallen down," said Desomond Brown, the chairman of Avon and Somerset's Scrutiny Panel.

"So it's really part of of the solution is to involve more people from the underrepresented communities in that assessment.

"If we look at serving police officers, even senior officers that want to move county, they are failing vetting if they're BME (Black and Minority Ethnic.)

"So there's an institutional issue that needs to be resolved and reviewed and I am really surprised that in the College of Policing and other people haven't looked into this during the uplift."

Previously, the force's chief constable, Sarah Crew, has admitted her own force is institutionally racist.

In response to the FOI figures, Louise Hutchison, chief officer for people and organisational development, said: "We looking at our data and trying to do more about where there are specific points of disproportionality.

"We've also recruited an outreach team who's been working with us over the past three years.

"They are from the community themselves, and they're trying to miss past to provide familiarisation to candidates about the kind of things to expect when they're going through the process."