West Yorkshire Police has a low number of BME officers compared with population

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West Yorkshire Police has a disproportionately low number of black and ethnic minority officers, compared with the population it represents.

New Home Office figures show that in March this year, the equivalent of 286 full time BME officers were employed by the force – 218 men and 68 women. There were six senior officers.

They make up 5.7 per cent of the total number of police officers.

BME people make up 18.2 per cent of West Yorkshire’s total population, which is significantly more than the proportion of BME officers.

The Lammy Review, an investigation by MP David Lammy into the treatment of BME people in the criminal justice system, found that black and ethnic minority people often do not like engaging with the police as they do not feel represented.

The review says that increasing the visibility of BME people within policing is fundamental to ensuring justice

Ian Saunders, chairman of the Police Federation’s equality sub-committee said: “It is vital that the police service reflects the communities we serve to ensure we are able to police as effectively as possible.

“The Police Federation supports efforts to increase diversity, raise awareness and promote best practice about the issue.

“And we recognise that although there may be barriers to recruiting officers from BME backgrounds, more must be done to attract but also retain these officers and to positively support their career development to ensure that we are a service that is truly reflective of our communities.”

Across England and Wales, police forces have a disproportionate number of white officers.

More diverse parts of the country have fewer BME officers compared with the size of the black and ethnic minority population.

The Home Office data shows that out of West Yorkshire Police’s full time BME officers, 75 are mixed race. There are 27 black officers and 170 are Asian. The rest are from other ethnic minorities.

The figures show that the force is getting more representative. There were 13 per cent more BME officers employed this year, compared with March 2017.