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OVERCOMING EXCLUSION TO CREATE A MODERN AND EFFECTIVE POLICE FORCE

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Overcoming racism and exclusion is vital to community policing, home ...
Overcoming racism and exclusion is vital to community policing, home

secretary David Blunkett will today tell the National Black Police

Association (NBPA).

Speaking to the NBPA annual conference in Cardiff, the home secretary

will call on them to work with police forces to keep up the momentum

for change, which has already seen a major increase in the number of

visible ethnic minority police officers on our streets.

Mr Blunkett will say:

'An effective, modern, visible and community focused service is vital

if we are to maintain delivery and achieve the civil renewal and

engagement agenda that we're promoting. Not least because we're

endeavouring to get over a history of less than acceptable approaches

to diversity as a nation and, historically, amongst the police

service.

'To get the best, whatever their background, the service has to be

attractive to the best. White, black, asian, whatever, who wants to

be part of a service without modern service values?

'We have the opportunity to do this now. The demographics of the

police service are changing and with the recruitment of a wider, more

diverse police staff, we are already seeing a vastly different

organisation to even 10 years ago, which will and must reflect the

communities they serve.

'We have record numbers of police officers, with the number of

minority ethnic officers increasing by over 50% since targets were

set in 1999. And it's not just about officers. Minority ethnic

representation of police staff is currently at 6%, already ahead of

the 2004 milestone of 5%.'

The home secretary thanked the NBPA for responding to his calls for

them to work with the Met on race issues:

'Last week we had a public profile for one part of the service which

all of us would want to put right and put behind us. Only by

addressing the issues can this be achieved. Only by coming together

can we make the continuing improvements possible.

'Thank you for responding to me and being prepared, as were the Met,

to committing yourselves to find a way forward. It is in all our

interests - we need to recruit and hold onto good men and women who

represent diverse communities, and we need them to be retained, well

trained and open for promotion. This is vital for effective community

based policing in which the communities have confidence in the

police, and the police can be confident that the communities will

work with them in preventing and tackling crime.'

Concluding, Mr Blunkett said:

'For the police service to tackle crime and win the trust and

confidence of the communities they serve, they must focus on

neighbourhood community based policing, engaging with their

communities who have a large part to play in achieving community

cohesion.

'Ultimately I want a police force that people can be proud to join, a force that protects and serves communities - all communities - and that truly represents the people it is there to protect.'

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