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REVEALED: Met Police Will Fail to Fairly Represent London’s Diversity for Decades at Current Rate of Progress

London’s Metropolitan Police has been rocked by racism and sexism scandals over the past few years. Progress at making the force more diverse is painfully slow.

Photo: Ian Shaw/Alamy

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It could take nearly fifty years for the Metropolitan Police to reflect London’s ethnic diversity at the current pace of progress, according to figures analysed for Byline Times.

Ethnic minority representation among the Met Police workforce as a whole has risen by just 0.5 percentage points over the past year – suggesting it would again take decades to bring this up to being representative of London as a whole, as the recent Casey Review into racism recommended.

A fifth of the Met Police’s 45,000 strong workforce is from non-white backgrounds, compared to around 46% of London as a whole.

At the same time, female representation among officers is rising at just one percentage point a year – meaning it could take another 20 years to get to roughly 50/50 equal representation.

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The findings were unearthed by Rob Blackie, one of two people shortlisted to become London’s next Lib Dem mayoral candidate. “It’s almost a quarter of a century since the Macpherson report said police forces should strive to be representative of the communities they serve.  Yet progress towards this has been woefully slow,” he told Byline Times.  

“A succession of Conservative and Labour mayors have failed to hold the Met’s feet to the fire. Given policing is the Mayor’s most important responsibility, that’s just not good enough,” the would-be mayoral candidate added. The Mayor of London is effectively the Police and Crime Commissioner for the capital, setting the force’s budget and strategy.

And on the Met Police’s slow progress to improve female officer numbers, he added: “We urgently need to recruit more women police officers to the Met.  Baroness Casey’s report shows the sexist culture that persists in pockets of the Met has contributed towards serious failings to protect women. Twenty more years for a gender balanced police force is simply too long to wait.”

A Met Police spokesperson told Byline Times: “We’ve come a long way, and have much to be proud of, but know there is more work to do. Already half of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic police officers in the UK work in the Met – that’s almost 6,000, 2,000 more officers compared to where we were just over 10 years ago.  In terms of our women, more than 10000 of our officers are women [around 28%], 3000 more than over 10 years ago.”

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However, the spokesperson admitted that “only 17% of the Met are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.” 

“We know we are not keeping pace with London’s changing population.  We want and need to make quicker progress. Our overall aspiration is to be fully representative of London,” they added. 

The force is still reeling from allegations of systemic racism, following scandals such as the handling of the murders of two sisters, Biba Henry and Nicole Smallman in 2020. Two officers shared images of their bodies on WhatsApp groups, and were subsequently jailed for 33 months.

An independent watchdog report from the IOPC last year shed more light on shocking racist WhatsApp groups operating among serving officers, while the Baroness Casey review into the culture of the force this spring found evidence of continued systemic racism in the Met – including against its own staff.

The Met Police under Sir Mark Rowley has pledged systemic reform – but Sir Mark denies the claim of institutional racism, as did his ousted predecessor Dame Cressida Dick.

The Met Police spokesperson added: “Recruitment remains a priority for us. Our focus is on the quality of new recruits and ensuring we bring the right people into the Met. We continue to work hard on multiple fronts to improve workforce representation.”

The force says it encourages and supports applications from under-represented groups throughout the recruitment processes.

Outreach Teams also seek to recruit from minority backgrounds. “Their work is having an impact,” the spokesperson insisted.

The “New Met for London” plan revealed last month aims to rebuild “trust and confidence” with communities in the capital: “We want to be seen as a career of choice for even more Londoners.  This commitment is strong across our police staff recruitment.”

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