According to data from the Home Office, the number of police workers increased slightly, by 1%, between March 2018 and March 2019, from 199,753 to 202,023, with the number of police officers standing at 123,171 officers as of March 2019 in the 43 forces in England and Wales.
During this period, there were 8,329 police officers from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) backgrounds, an increase of 478 (6%) compared with a year earlier. BME officers represented 6.9% of all officers who stated their ethnicity, a small increase from 6.6% in the previous year.
Of the 8,329 BME officers, 42% classified themselves as Asian or Asian British, 30% as Mixed, 18% as Black or Black British, and 11% as Chinese or “Other ethnic” group. That’s around 1,500 black officers.
To put this into perspective, White people make up 84.8% of the population, while the population of Black people is 3.6%. However, in the police force, White officers make up 93% of the police force, whereas Black officers make up just 1.2% of the workforce about 1,500 officers.
And what’s even more remarkable is that the numbers hasn’t moved much in over a decade. In 2007 there were 1,350 black officers, representing 1% of the workforce. In essence, there was an average increase of 12 Black officers a year across the combined 43 police forces in England and Wales between 2007 and 2019.
It is now over twenty years since the Macpherson report into the racist killing of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 prompted a range of promises by police chiefs to make their forces better reflect the communities they served by having the same proportion of ethnic minorities in their workforce as the populations they policed.
Police data based on Police Workforce, England and Wales, 31 March 2019 (second edition) Statistical Bulletin published 18th July 2019
Population data based on 2011 Census available at https://www.ons.gov.uk/census/2011census/2011censusdata