Headlines: January 22nd, 2001

Lack of leadership, sometimes at the top of forces, but more frequently at the basic command unit level is limiting progress to better community and race relations. This is the conclusion from three reports published by the Home Office. Nearly all the 43 police forces have community and race relation strategies, or are developing a strategy, but the existence of the document does not necessarily lead to change. The patchy implementation of strategies, sometimes within the same force, is laid clearly at the command level.Where the culture does not embrace diversity, the effect is seen both on the way the police service is delivered as well as on internal personnel processes. Where hard evidence is available, such as retention and progression of ethnic minorities within a force, lack of progress is most marked. This contrasts with recruitment which is progressing well. Again this points to lack of leadership at basic command level because recruitment is handled centrally within a force, but internal processes are influenced by line managers.

Because of the marked variation between forces in addressing the issue of community and race relations, the Home Office has grouped forces into three clusters to recognise success and encourage the others. The ‘Premier League’ is made up of forces that have displayed good practice. ‘Division 1’ has satisfactory forces and ‘Division 2’ groups those forces where there is scope for improvement. Benchmarks have been set for forces to compare current with previous performance, but it is not possible to compare one force with another.

The National Black Police Officers Association welcomes the response of the police service to the wake up call, but is disappointed at the lack of progress. It is particularly critical of the poor performance on retention and progression of ethnic minorities.

Information provided by Horn Ltd, suppliers of specialist police  information http://www.Horn.ltd.uk