This week the Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for the West Midlands Councillor Yvonne Mosquito hosted the first Black History Month Event at the PCC Office.
It was an opportunity the PCC Bob Jones to remind everyone the contribution of Councillor Nazir and Bishop Derek Webley has made to the management of Policing in the West Midlands over the year through the old Police Authority, with Bishop Webley being the last Chair.
Both spoke about the barriers they faced and the challenges they faced from both within and also from the Community in terms of expectations.
One key point they made was a willingness to serve the whole of the West Midlands.
Bob Jones stated that the command structure was now balance with 5 male and 5 female Commanders, however, none were from the BME Community, however, to have a truly reflective Police service which is identifiable to the public some positive action was needed.
He also announced the recruitment of 500 new officers to boost the police service as gaps were now being created and why wait until the problem gets worse.
My thoughts are very simple:
1. We need more BME young people to become Police Officers, however, with the attitudes of some Police Officers and indeed the shambles surrounding the ‘Plebgate Affair’ in addition to the issues faced by the BME Community; it is not a great advert.
However, my message to young people is a simple one, to invoke change you need to get into the system before you can change it. We are here to support you so apply, once the recruitment drive commences.
2. The absence of BME Officers at Senior Level is of concern as many BME Officers are indeed more than amply qualified. As I pointed out, if it is on the agenda then it will happen. So what’s your conclusion?
I believe we must stop apologises when we talk about BME issues when it comes to policing and ensure that equality and reflective governance is firmly placed on the agenda when it come to Policing in the West Midlands.
For it to become our Police Service then surely it should be a reflection of the community it is there to serve.