The murder of George Floyd, followed by the Black Lives Matter movement last year, highlighted the need for a representative police workforce, particularly in the UK. Police Now’s key objective is to attract, recruit and train graduates to be detectives and police officers and diversify its workforce, and the events of 2020 demonstrated it needed to accelerate this.
According to research by High Fliers, more than half of those from ethnic minority backgrounds believe the criminal justice system discriminates against particular groups, and the appeal of a career in the police force dropped by a quarter (26 per cent).
With these figures in mind, Police Now created a strategy aimed at removing bias from the recruitment process and changing the perception of policing. It built a “bold” recruitment campaign, titled Be the Change, that addressed the realities preventing underrepresented groups from joining the police. This included officers from minority backgrounds speaking about their experiences, from their fear of the police and their family’s resistance, to them joining the force, as well as any racism they encountered both inside and outside of policing and their passion for change.
Police Now also tailored its recruitment process after analysis revealed that candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds were twice as likely to decline conditional offers. The firm focussed on the speed of the process and offered tailored communication. For example, the organisation held a friends and family event, which provided information and reassurance about a career in policing to offer holders’ loved ones – something the judges were particularly impressed with because it enabled a “stronger impact”.
In addition, Police Now made diversity and inclusion central to its curriculum content to ensure that all participants are well-equipped and supported to serve their local communities.
The success of the initiative can be seen in Police Now’s 2020/21 cohort, where of the 600 graduates starting the programme, a quarter identified as being from an ethnic minority background – the largest in police recruitment in the UK and significantly higher than the previous year, which saw just 17 per cent.
Judges praised the “great results” that Police Now achieved – which are considerably better than police forces – and commended that it was done “by focusing on the impact that the recruits can have in the community and steering away from usual recruitment and attraction strategies”