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Police race recruitment: 'Change in law is required'

One of Britain's most senior ethnic minority policemen has accused chief constables of not understanding the need to recruit more black and Asian officers.

Chief Supt Dal Babu - who retires from the Metropolitan Police on Monday after 30 years' service - said many of his colleagues just "don't get it".

He said radical measures are needed to increase the proportion of ethnic minority officers from its present figure of 5% - and to boost the numbers in specialist squads such as CID and firearms.

Mr Babu, who has been in the police since the 1980s, said: "When I joined it was a pretty brutal organisation. I can probably count on one hand the individuals who didn't make racist comments.

"It's totally different now. We've had a huge difference in attitude towards race."

Speaking about how ethnic representation in the police could be increased, Mr Babu said: "I think we need to be radical, we need to be different. We do a bit of race awareness training, but that hasn't delivered results."

Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and a representative of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "I think we do actually need a change in the law in terms of the interpretation of the occupational requirements, so we can give far greater importance to somebody's background.

"It's not just about their language skills, it's about a much broader understanding of certain communities."

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme on Saturday 2 February 2013.

  • 04 Feb 2013
  • From the section UK