The ethnicity of the Northumbria population is an important aspect, influencing policing and our internal employment practices.
The local population remains one of the least diverse regions in England, with 96% of the population self classifying as White British. This reinforces how it is essential to promote race equality, ensuring the views and needs of different ethnic groups are not overlooked.
In 1999, Sir William Macpherson’s report, following the inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence and the resulting police investigation, identified the concept of ‘institutional racism’ as:
“The collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin.”
Northumbria Police has made progress in improving diversity amongst its staff.
Since 1999, the percentage of minority ethnic officers has more than doubled as a result of improved links with diverse communities, targeted advertising, familiarisation events and other positive action initiatives. Officers from minority ethnic groups are now more than four times as likely to be successful at the recruitment and selection stage, compared to ten years ago. This success will enable us to begin to focus on our longer term strategy, to increase representation of minority ethnic staff at senior levels within Northumbria Police.
There is also more awareness of the importance of race equality amongst staff, following significant investment in diversity training, the introduction of Equality Impact Assessments (Appendix 2) and good links both within the force and with the public.
However, we are not complacent and know there is still a gap between the satisfaction of white and black and minority ethnic (BME) victims who were either completely or very satisfied. In March 2008, the gap was measured at 12.2% and in March 2009, it was 7.5%. We intend to continuously review our race equality practices ensuring we take account of the changing ethnic diversity of the Northumbria Police area. We know that the largest minority ethnic groups in the area are Chinese, Asian, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi and in terms of geography, there are areas where ethnic groups are more prominent.
However, in recent years there has been an increase in the number of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees coming to Northumbria, leading to significant established communities from India, Poland, China and the Philippines, particularly in the Newcastle and Sunderland areas.
Asylum seekers can often be in isolated ethnic groups, which do not have the representation that the more established communities have. Although the general trend seems to be that the number of people seeking asylum in the UK is decreasing, we will make sure we consider this group in the design and delivery of our services.
The workforce and general population diversity in the Northumbria Police area shows the most dominant ethnicity is White British, for both the workforce (97.17%) and the general population (96%). The workforce also includes White Irish and other Mixed White ethnic groups such as Black Caribbean, Black African and Asian.
Significant inequalities have been identified in both Asian and Asian British ethnic groups, particularly Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, as well as Chinese. We are actively monitoring this and have introduced challenging recruitment targets to reduce these inequalities. The details of these are found in the Action Plan which accompanies the Scheme.