Police Criticised Over Ethnic Minority

6 August 2015, 07:34 | Updated: 6 August 2015, 07:35

Police Scotland must act to address the low numbers of police officers and civilian staff from ethnic minority backgrounds, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.

Figures show that 1% of police officers are black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME), although over 7% of the population fall into this group.

There are no BAME officers in the top two ranks of the force while there are only two across the top four ranks held by the 446 most senior officers in the country.

Meanwhile, figures for police staff showed that there are no BAME in the top five grades, and only 69 out of 5,963 staff overall.

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokeswoman Alison McInnes said: "These are appalling figures which are in no way reflective of the diverse nature of Scotland's population.

"This is a travesty which warrants immediate action from Police Scotland and the Scottish Government."

Ms McInnes also highlighted a submission to Holyrood's Equal Opportunities committee from the Scottish Police Federation, the body which represents police officers.

The submission detailed some anecdotal evidence on race and ethnicity issues in the force.

Some members said Police Scotland "pays lip service" to BAME issues while others said improvements made by the force in this area have been slow.

"Scottish Liberal Democrats urge both Police Scotland and the Scottish Government to set out how they propose to address the woeful representation of communities in our police force," Ms McInnes said.

Responding to the comments, Deputy Chief Constable Neil Richardson said: "Policing in Scotland has a strong relationship with all our communities, including BAME communities, and we want to build on that even further.

"We absolutely recognise the need to reflect the communities we serve and that recruits from BAME communities have a valuable role to play in helping to keep people safe.

"Recruitment for officers is ongoing and BAME is one of the five key groups being targeted in the current campaign.

"We would encourage anyone considering a career in policing who comes from a BAME community to consider that positively."