Agenda item

Recruitment, Retention and Progression in Leicestershire Police.


The Police and Crime Panel considered a report of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) which provided an update on the processes, campaigns and outcomes for the recruitment of police officers and the promotions, dismissals and employment tribunals relating to the Force. A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 5’, is filed with these minutes.


Arising from discussions the following points were noted:


(i)        The demographics of police officers and staff within Leicestershire Police did not fully reflect the demographics of Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland though some recent improvements had been made. Leicestershire Police were ranked fourth in the country for being representative of the Force area. The PCC had decided that making the Force more representative was a priority, was firmly holding the Chief Constable to account for progress made in this area, and would not be satisfied until the Force was much more reflective of the area it policed. However, the PCC had not set any specific targets or timescales. It was expected that in the next 5 years over 750 police officers in Leicestershire Police would retire which created an opportunity to make the Force more representative by ensuring the new intake were of more diverse backgrounds.  Engagement events were being held across the county to attract people from all backgrounds to join the Force. Recruitment for PCSOs would be opening in March 2019 and for police officers in April 2019.


(ii)       Whilst Leicestershire Police had altered its own recruitment practices in order to increase the number of applicants from BME backgrounds that made it through the initial stages of the process, the applicants still had to pass a national assessment process known as SEARCH and this was where many BME applicants were failing.


(iii)      Members raised concerns about the lack of BME officers at the higher ranks within Leicestershire Police. In response it was explained that applicants who applied at the Direct Entry level to become an Inspector or Superintendent were also required to pass a national assessment which some BME candidates struggled with and this partly explained the lack of BME officers at those ranks. It was anticipated that the numbers of BME officers at the higher ranks would increase as the overall numbers of BME staff in Leicestershire Police increased.


(iv)      Where there was more than one applicant for a role and two applicants were at the same level of ability the law allowed the Force to prioritise an applicant if they were from a background that was underrepresented in the Force. Leicestershire Police occasionally took advantage of this opportunity when appropriate.


(v)       The report did not provide full statistics relating to LGBT police officers and staff because due to the small numbers involved, the people referred to may be identifiable and this would breach data protection regulations.



(vi)      In response to a question about whether police officers were required to speak good English it was explained that whilst police officers were required to have a sufficient level of English to be able to give coherent evidence in Court for example, the Force also looked for officers that had cultural competence i.e. they could be sensitive to the different communities that they served. In addition, training on cultural competence was provided to officers once they had joined the Force.


(vii)    From 2020 all police officers would be required to have a degree and the PCC had concerns about this as he felt it would prevent some people that had the skills to be a good police officer from joining because they were not academically gifted. The traditional graduate entry scheme was no longer available and instead there would be the following routes into the police:

•Pre-join degree - those who already had a degree in policing would be able to join the police straight away and complete a short on the job training programme;

 •Degree holder entry - those who already had a degree in another subject would be able to undertake a conversion course leading to a graduate diploma in professional policing practice;

•The Police Constable Degree Apprenticeship where the applicant would join a police force as a police constable and undertake a three-year apprenticeship in professional policing practice which would lead to a degree-level qualification.


(viii)   The Government retained 5% of the Leicestershire Police budget in order to provide the apprenticeship programme therefore the only way for Leicestershire Police to take advantage of that funding was to take part in the apprenticeship programme. The programme would be run locally in partnership with De Montfort University.


(ix)      Police cadets were a good way of encouraging young people to join the Force and the demographics of the cadets was much more representative of the Force area. However, there was a rule prohibiting a person from becoming a police officer until they reached the age of 18. Leicestershire Police was conducting a pilot where people under the age of 18 were able to apply to be a police officer but postpone joining until they reached the age of 18. This was designed to make the transition from cadet to police officer easier and more attractive. The pilot had been agreed to by the College of Policing though it was subject to legal challenge.


(x)       The procedure within Leicestershire Police for promotions was that staff would be given a temporary promotion and then undertake a work based assessment process whilst carrying out that temporary role. The statistics provided in the report did not include those that were on temporary promotion, only those that had been substantively promoted.


(xi)      All police officers and staff were offered exit interviews. The main reason people left was retirement and only a small proportion left because they were not happy with the job. Many PCSOs became warranted officers. There was currently no way of forcing people to remain as an employee of Leicestershire Police therefore there was a risk that once people had completed the apprenticeship programme and received all the training and the degree they could still find employment elsewhere. However, members were assured that the majority of staff at Leicestershire Police had long careers with the Force. If the level of staff turnover did become a problem then measures to encourage staff to remain would be considered. 


(xii)    In an update to the information provided in the report there were now 8 ongoing employment tribunal claims for Leicestershire Police as one had been dealt with since the report had been written.


(xiii)   The PCC firmly refuted the allegations made before the Home Affairs Select Committee by the President of the National Black Police Association Sergeant Tola Munro that Leicestershire Police was institutionally racist. The PCC and Chief Constable had a meeting arranged with Sergeant Munro for April 2019 to discuss the allegations.




(a)       That the contents of the report and the continued positive action approach adopted by Leicestershire Police be noted.


(b)       That the President of the National Black Police Association Sergeant Tola Munro be invited to a private meeting with members of the Police and Crime Panel to discuss the approach of Leicestershire Police towards BME staff.


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