Glass houses

  
‘Police knows that in this country, we believe in policing by consent. And if we are to protect that principle, we must not only improve public trust and confidence in the police, but we must ensure that police forces properly reflect the communities they serve.’ 

Thus spoke Theresa May in her speech to the Black Police Association last week. It’s a statement that is, I believe, impossible to disagree with. The importance of trust – emphasised by several high profile race related crimes that have gone unsolved – cannot be overstated. 

As such I applaud Ms May for her words. The current state of affairs – 5.5% of police officers are from an ethnic minority compared to around 13% of the population- ‘is simply not good enough’. 

Still, while we’re on this topic, it’d be remiss of me not to remind the Home Secretary of another pressing race relations issue in the UK. To start, lets paraphrase her speech a little:

Politicians knows that in this country, we believe in ruling by consent. And if we are to protect that principle, we must not only improve public trust and confidence in politics, but we must ensure that political parties properly reflect the communities they serve.

It’s a statement that is, I believe, impossible to disagree with. The importance of trust – emphasised by the historic patterns of low voter registration amongst minorities – cannot be overstated. 

So some food for thought:

6.6% of MPs are from an ethnic minority;

5.2% of Conservative MPs are from an ethnic minority;

5.3% of members of the House of Lords are from an ethnic minority;

4% of local councillors are from an ethnic minority; 

3.7% of top level civil servants are from an ethnic minority;

None of the four ‘great offices of state‘have ever been held by someone from an ethnic minority;

Clearly there is a huge imbalance between the make-up of public services and the people they serve but we are surely best off starting with reform of our political representation since these are the people who can implement the changes that are needed.

Further Reading

12 charts that show just how different the Tory cabinet is to the people it represents

Cautious optimism about the future from the Runnymede Trust

Alan Milburn’s overlooked report on elitism in Britain

Random reading (or, stories I can’t believe I missed)

Leicester Police ignoring burglaries at odd numbered houses.

Earth on fire

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