Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Police 'need to be more diverse'...

According to this headline. Not quite sure why it's a headline really, for self-appointed 'leaders' of rent-a-cause who are short of their monthly press release quota need only trot this one out and guarantee a few column inches. In fact I often read the papers and think "Hmmm, it's been at least 6 weeks since there's been a call for more women/minority/Martian/police officers in the press - I wonder what will be in here tomorrow?"

Leaving aside the Met's spectacular ability to generate bad press of Biblical proportions for themselves over the last year, Phillips here is clearly jumping on the back of the bandwagon of negative sentiment against the Met after the Forest Gate raids. I don't know the intel behind the raids, and I wasn't on the raids, so can't comment on them. A look at Philips' article - the gist of which is "more Muslims in cops = less community relations problems", and applying the essence of the Forest Gate raids - triggered by intel, which according to reports was duff, fails to reveal a connection between a change in recruitment and the execution of these raids. How does Philips expect this to have changed Forest Gate?

Would he honestly have expected the line "We've got intel there's a chemical device in an address in North London" to be answered by a Muslim officer with "Don't raid them. They're Muslim. You'll cause community relation issues. Let's risk death instead of publicity" or "I know them. I'm Muslim and thus know every Muslim in London, and it ain't them"? I think not. More Muslim officers does not mean better or more sensitive handling of intel, unless each and every single officer is transferred to Special Branch or put on Counter-Terrorism assignments, in which case it would be their job to handle such intelligence on a regular basis. Unless that happens, more Muslim officers will mean more Muslim officers doing the same as all other police officers - drowning in paperwork, being crapped on from above and leaving after getting cynical and disillusioned. Most officers didn't know about the raids and weren't involved in them. Any increase in recruitment in the last year of Muslim officers would mean they would still be going through training school when the raids took place, and had no knowledge or input whatsoever. What planet does Philips hail from trying to link Forest Gate as a base to launch a campaign for a change in recruitment laws? There'll be more raids, probably with more backlash, in the interm. Is he going to demand that someone who even so much as fills out a preliminary application form be put on active duty to appease people?

If Philips is hoping for more Muslims to enter and then hoping they will be favoured over other candidates for promotion, he'll alienate the rest of the minority groups the un-elected and self-appointed CRE 'exists' for, so if he's in favour of that he'll need to be very careful about how he promotes that in public.

I only know a few Muslim officers, all of them as capable as the next officer, but I do know the turnover rate for Muslim officers is quite high. Why this is I cannot authoritatively comment. However, changing the recruitment law to increase the number of Muslim officers will succeed, probably, in nothing more than inflating the turnover numbers even further, as more Muslim candidates are shooed in under false pretences and are not given a realistic job preview, decide it's not for them and resign, going the same way those that joined under other recent 'mass recruitment' campaigns for some forces have gone. You can't force officers to join, nor can you force them to stay in, even if it is in the name of PR. It will result in some shite and unscrupulous candidates getting into the job, knowing they got in because of their ethnicity and then demanding their every whim and desire be catered for lest they play the race/religion card to the press and the Force's minority rep association, which reflects badly on those who are actually good at the job and put up with the rubbish passing itself off as procedure and 'best practice'. They're not excessively vocal or crying injustice every five seconds, and are thus quietly smothered by modern policing (metaphorically speaking) like everyone else. Merely getting on with the job these days is no way to survive!

(c) Bow Street Runner. None of the material contained in this post, or this blog as a whole, may be reproduced without the express and written permission of Bow Street Runner. All rights reserved.
Just for the record the CRE is not "self-appointed" the commissioners are appointed by the Home Secretary under the Race Relations Act 1976.
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