Cheshire police chief constable, Simon Byrne says he wants his department to hire more ethnic minorities. The constable suggested that a law must be introduced to fight discrimination in the police force.
His idea is that such law shall require police departments to hire one black police officer for every existing or recently hired white officer. This is meant to balance the number of white and minorities working to protect the country.
The statement of Byrne comes after Home Secretary Theresa May criticized his department for having a shortage of black officers in their line up. Since then, the Cheshire police department now employs three black police officers.
Byrne reportedly said that legislation must be passed as soon as possible in England to expedite the hiring of minority candidates. ‘For every white officer, we recruit one black officer.’ He added.
The United States has a similar problem in their police force. However, passes by, more and more minority members are joining the United States Police Department.
Byrne said, “I’ve even taken legal advice about breaking the law, which might sound crazy as a senior police officer. But if we’re put under pressure to change, then what are the consequences, other than reputational, from breaking the law?”
Under the law, employers are barred from choosing their employees based on characteristics like race, sexual orientation or gender. Employee selection must strictly be based on the skills and capabilities of a person.
“We are not going to be lowering our standards. In Cheshire, our officers have to go through a rigorous process to ensure they are fit to serve our community.” Byrne said. “It is the current employment law which is making it an almost impossible ambition for us to meet.”
In 2001 a positive discrimination program was put into place to balance the number of Christian and Protestant police officers in the then Royal Ulster Constabulary. RUC was reformed into the PSNI way back in 2009.
The Home Office applauded the Cheshire department for their progress. However, according to them, there is no need to implement a positive discrimination policy.
“To introduce such action would not only erode the credibility and confidence of individual officers. It would also undermine the public’s expectation that progression in the police is based on merit alone,” said a spokesperson.