Bedfordshire Police is the second highest recruiter of officers from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds of all 43 police forces - according to a new report released by the Home Office.
Between March 2016 and March 2017, 24 per cent of officers who joined Bedfordshire Police were from BME backgrounds. The force sits just behind the Metropolitan Police who are at 25 per cent.
Bedfordshire is also in the top three forces in the country in terms of being home to officers from BME backgrounds. As of March 31 this year, nine per cent of Bedfordshire’s officers identified themselves as BME, compared to 23 per cent of the county’s population. This followed the Metropolitan Police (13 per cent BME officers compared to 40 per cent of the population) and West Midlands Police (nine per cent BME officers compared to 30 per cent of its population).
The increase comes after an ongoing drive by the force to be more reflective of the communities it serves.
Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “Feedback has told us that people from those communities have not felt comfortable applying to join the police. This is a concern for me because it means we could be missing out on incredible talent.
“We have been taking a more proactive approach to recruitment, building strong relationships with community leaders and speaking to our community about opportunities available within the force.
"I have to say we have received fantastic support, and the figures in the report show that our approach has been working and that the interest is out there. This year so far we have welcomed 95 new police officers to the front line, and all have worked incredibly hard to be here.
“This approach has never been to achieve a quota, so although this is fantastic news, it isn’t the end. It’s really important to me that Bedfordshire Police represents the communities we serve, and we will continue to work to encourage people from all backgrounds to consider a career in policing.”