Inclusivity and Diversity in North Yorkshire Police
by TIM HICKS
North Yorkshire Police (NYP) recently released this statement on the NYP Website (below, bottom):
It is vital that North Yorkshire Police demonstrates that it is inclusive and free of prejudice if it is to retain the confidence and support of the various communities and minorities that it serves.
How does NYP’s record on inclusivity and diversity stack up?
On the face of it this latest initiative and approach is commendable.
However, we should not forget that North Yorkshire Police is one of the few forces in the country that does not have any black officers. This has been an ongoing issue with NYP.
In 2015, the Prime Minister (as Home Secretary) criticised NYP in a speech to the National Black Policing Association’s conference, for not having any black officers. BBC report here. North Yorkshire Police’s response to these criticisms can be read here. Particularly worthy of note is the reassuring statement it contains that: “the force had developed an action plan with the College of Policing to address the recruitment of ethnic minority officers in the future.”
Also worthy of note is the fact that despite all the hype and fine sounding assurances, in fact nothing has changed since 2015. The much vaunted action plan with the College of Policing has failed and NYP still does not have a single black officer. Worse, NYP Sergeant Zaheer Ahmed (Retired) successfully sued NYP for racism at an Employment tribunal.
The case and Sergeant Ahmed’s comments are illuminating.
Sergeant Zaheer Ahmed (R’t’d). Victim of years of racial discrimination in NYP
The NYE report on Sergeant Ahmed’s case is here, but in summary, Sergeant Ahmed was deliberately discriminated against in favour of less qualified white colleagues for many years by multiple NYP senior officers. According to an excellent article in York Press, was subjected to two cases of “direct discrimination”.
It must have been clear within NYP that Sergeant Ahmed was being discriminated against. Yet apparently, no senior officer (Inspectors, Chief Inspectors, Superintendent or Chief Superintendents) or any chief officer intervened. No disciplinary action has being taken against the officers that were responsible for discriminating against Sergeant Ahmed, or against the senior and chief officers that allowed racial discrimination within NYP to go on unchecked.
NYP was asked for a copy of the Employment Tribunal judgment, but ignored my request, without an explanation. This denied our readership access to the judgment and the full facts of the case and is a form of media suppression.
Whilst NYP does seem to have accommodated LGBT officers. How can NYP credibly hold out to the public that it will investigate hate crime effectively and impartially, when it has racism within its own ranks?
Quoted in the Daily Mail, Mr Ahmed said in his witness statement: “North Yorkshire Police are concerned with appearing as though they care about tackling the issue of lack of diversity, but their actions do not support this.”
Based on the facts that NYP:
- Does not employ any black officers.
- Has been consistently and publicly criticised for failings in diversity since 2015, without any improvement.
- Officers recently been found to have prosecuted a sustained campaign of racial discrimination against an Asian officer for years.
- Has taken no action against those officers that perpetrated a campaign of racial discrimination against an Asian Officer over many years.
- Chief Officers and Police & Crime Commissioner Mulligan failed to successfully implement a joint action plan developed with the College of Policing in 2015, to “address the recruitment of ethnic minority officers”.
- Chief Officers and Police & Crime Commissioner Mulligan failed to implement any effective alternative strategy to recruit more ethnic minority officers following the failure of the College of Policing plan in 2015.
Mr Ahmed’s views would seem to me to be accurate, incisive and fair comment.
It will take more than a paint job on a van to change this perception, or to change the ingrained culture of the force.