The Police and Crime Panel considered a report of the Police and Crime Commissioner which provided an update on recruitment and retention of police officers in Leicestershire Police and actions being taken to improve the diversity of the Force. A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 8’, is filed with these minutes.
For this item the Panel welcomed to the meeting Lynne Woodward, Head of Equality and Human Rights, Leicestershire Police.
Arising from discussions the following points were made:
(i) The Panel commended Leicestershire Police for its positive work aimed at improving the diversity of the Leicestershire Police workforce, though one member was of the view that further engagement work with minority communities needed to be carried out. In response reassurance was given that in addition to the measures outlined in the report Positive Action Officers had been involved in outreach projects including engaging with students in Leicester and Leicestershire and places of worship.
(ii) In response to a question about the diversity of the staff in Leicestershire Police that acted as mentors to applicants during the recruitment process it was clarified that these people volunteered to be mentors and it was preferable that they were fully committed and enthusiastic rather than being cajoled into acting as mentors. Therefore it was not planned to take any action to improve the diversity of the mentors. However, there were groups such as the Black Support Network and the Hindu Support Network which provided support to people of BAME origin.
(iii) PCSO’s were able to apply to be Police Officers under the recruitment scheme and a large amount of the intake from campaign 1 were PCSOs. As PCSOs had already been vetted then this shortened the timescales for them to start working as police officers. However, the consequences of recruiting PCSOs as Police Officers was that further recruitment was required to take place to replace the PCSOs.
(iv) Although removing the Competency Based Questionnaire for Campaign 3 and replacing it with a telephone interview had increased the number of applicants from minority backgrounds, it had also elongated the recruitment process timescales and the applicants from Campaign 3 had not yet undertaken the SEARCH Assessment Centre part of the process.
(v) Leicestershire Police was introducing a Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship scheme where successful applicants would be able to perform the role of Police Constable whilst attaining a degree in Professional Policing Practice funded by the Police. So far 100 people had registered an interest of which 25% were from BAME backgrounds and 20% were female though it was yet to be seen which of these people made it to the end of the process. The Chairman raised concerns that those people who had their degree paid for by the Police would be able to leave the Force at any point after they had obtained the degree and in response it was confirmed that there was no contract tying them to being employed by the Police for a certain number of years therefore they would be able to leave at any point. It was clarified that in future applicants would not be eligible to become police officers unless they had obtained a degree qualification and the Chairman raised concerns that this could mean that people who did not have academic skills, but had the skills to be a police officer, would be prevented from joining the Police. The PCC explained that the initiative was being nationally driven, and he stated that he shared the Chairman’s concerns and had written to Ron Hogg, Durham PCC and Lead of the APCC Portfolio Group on the Workforce asking for further consideration to be given to the issue. A copy of the PCC’s letter dated 5 September 2018 is filed with these minutes.
(a) That the contents of the report be noted;
(b) That a further report on recruitment and diversity in Leicestershire Police be brought to a future meeting of the Panel once the full results of the latest recruitment campaign are known.
Cllr. Michael Rickman in the chair.