The Metropolitan Police Service has put rules designed to boost the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) officers on hold as it chases ambitious recruitment targets over the coming year.
Residency rules for new recruits had required police constable applicants to have lived or studied in the capital for a minimum of three of the six years before their application.
The rules were originally in place between 2014 and 2018 then reinstated in November 2020 alongside the launch of Sadiq Khan’s action plan to improve trust and confidence in the Met, particularly among the capital’s black communities. The rule change was supported with a £300,000 City Hall investment encouraging black Londoners to consider joining up.
Funding currently available for recruitment means an additional 1,800 officers need to be taken on by next March, “double the normal amount of officers we recruit in a year,” according to the Met. Widening the net will “help ensure we meet the scale of these ambitions quickly enough”.
Diversity targets for recruitment nevertheless remain in place, the Met say, including plans for 21 per cent of officers to be from under-represented groups by 2024, rising to 28 per cent by 2030, with an overall “aspiration” for 40 per cent of officers to be of black, Asian and multiple ethnic heritage (BAMEH in Met classification), a target originally set by the Met for 2022.
“Alongside welcoming applications from outside London, you’ll see even more effort from us working within and alongside London’s communities to inspire people to choose a career in the Met,” today’s statement says. “The focus on recruiting Londoners to police London remains our aim and we’ll be seeking to re-introduce London Residency at the earliest point we can.”
Latest New Scotland Yard workforce figures show 33,127 officers in place, including just over 5,400 of BAME heritage, 16.3 per cent of the total, though the number identifying as black is significantly lower, at a little under four per cent.
Recruitment of BAMEH officers spiked when the London residency rules were first introduced, to more than 25 per cent of new recruits in 2016/17. BAMEH recruit numbers declined from 2019/20 before increasing slightly in 2020/21 when the rules were reintroduced, to just under 20 per cent of the total.
The latest figures show 242 officers recruited last month, 64 of BAME heritage of which 13 identified as black. Since April 2021 last year the Met has recruited 2,103 new entrants, 25 per cent BAMEH and 4.52 black.
Overall since January 2019 the Met’s officer workforce has increased by almost 4,000, an increase which, according to the Met, contributed to murder rates falling by 13 per cent and knife crime going down by 32 per cent in 2021 compared to 2019.
The Met also this week announced a 650-officer boost to town centre and neighbourhood policing teams, with 500 based permanently in town centres across the capital and 150 joining dedicated ward teams.
Image from MPS Twitter feed.
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