Labour MP and leading London Mayoral candidate Sadiq Khan has pledged to introduce quotas to increase the number of black police officer in the Met, saying it's time for the force to reflect London's diversity.
Khan, a frontrunner for the Labour nomination to be the next Mayor of London, told a public meeting in South London on Saturday (July 25) that he will trial an affirmative action scheme to increase the numbers of Black and minority ethnic police officers.
The former Communities Minister has obtained figures which show that the recruitment of ethnic minorities to the Met had dropped to 16 per cent from 20 per cent. London's ethnic minority population currently stands at 44 per cent.
Speaking at the hustings, organised by Operation Black Vote and the charity Patchwork in Lambeth Town hall, Khan said: "For far too long there have been warm words on this but little progress.
"It is time to make a difference to our police service that needs to serve and reflect Londoners much better. If we carry on as we are it will take decades for our police service to reflect the Londoners it serves.
"So I will be clear: as London Mayor I will introduce affirmative action and get the Met looking more like the London we live in. If we do then I believe the rewards for London will be increased trust between the police and all Londoners, delivering better and more effective policing.
"Without a significant improvement in recruiting more officers from the communities it serves, the Metropolitan Police cannot and will not do its job properly.
"I strongly believe that the course of action I propose will work, however if it fails and we don’t see the meaningful change in the complexion of the Met that Londoners expect then I will support a change in the law to allow statutory positive action. The Met Police Commsioner agrees with me this is a decades old problem that simply hasn’t been dealt with."
Notes to Editors
1. The MacPherson Report, published in 1999 in the aftermath of the inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, included a section on recruitment and retention into the police.
2. The report made three specific recommendations:
That the Home Secretary and police authorities' policing plans should include targets for recruitment, progression and retention of minority ethnic staff. Police authorities to report progress to the Home Secretary annually. Such reports to be published.
That the Home Office and the police services should facilitate the development of initiatives to increase the number of qualified minority ethnic recruits.
That HMIC include in any regular inspection or in a thematic inspection a report on the progress made by police services in recruitment, progression and retention of minority ethnic staff.
3. The London Assembly published a report in 2014 which they criticized the Met Police and said they needed to do more https://www.london.gov.uk/media/assembly-press-releases/2014/12/met-needs-to-do-more-on-diversity
4. In 2014, the current Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan Howe, has said in the past he’s in favour of a quota system for recruitment http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-26765540
As of March 2015, the Met Police had 11.7 per cent minority ethnic officers https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-workforce-england-and-wales-31-march-2015/police-workforce-england-and-wales-31-march-2015
London’s population as a whole is 44 per cent BAME http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-310829