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PCC commends Force for best performance in the country on diversity to better reflect Bedfordshire's communities
Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, has praised the Force for its continued outstanding recruitment of officers reflecting the make-up of the county’s communities this year, which has resulted in a significant increase in the workforce’s diversity. 

Since April 2017, 66 of the 100 new police constables promised this financial year by the PCC and Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, have been recruited, of whom 33% are non-white British, including Eastern European candidates, and 28% are from a black and minority ethnic background (BME).

“It’s absolutely right that a police force looks and sounds like the communities it represents which is why the founding father of policing, Sir Robert Peel said that the police are - or certainly should be - the public and the public are the police. Bedfordshire Police has a success rate around diversity which is unmatched anywhere in policing, among the 43 forces of England and Wales, so it’s an outstanding achievement. Just last month (19 October) I was asked by the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Yvette Cooper, to let her know how we’re doing this, given the impact we all hope this has on the confidence of communities to report Hate Crimes and other criminal acts,” said Commissioner Holloway.

“What’s particularly impressive this year is that both our Asian and Eastern European communities are strongly represented, with all the advantages of language skills and cultural understanding this brings to policing this county. Make no mistake though; this recruitment isn’t about being PC but about recruiting the best PCs, whatever their background.

“Inspector Mo Aziz and his team have done an incredible job, taking a recruitment drive into places of worship and neighbourhoods which had never before had a tradition of being involved in policing in Bedfordshire. They’ve also worked hard to understand why those from BME backgrounds might not have applied to join in the past or why they have left. There've been recruitment posters showing Bedfordshire police constables from different cultures and ethnicities and a buddy scheme to support new officers by giving them the help, advice and reassurance of more experienced BME officers and others who’ve been recruited more recently,” she said.   

Inspector Aziz, along with his colleague, PC Ruth John-Chambers, has worked hard to encourage people from all backgrounds to apply which has led to them both receiving a Special Recognition Award from the National Black Police Association.

“I am immensely proud of this achievement, as we are working tirelessly to recruit people from all ethnicities and walks of life. We will continue to work close with our communities to engage all residents of Bedfordshire and encourage them to consider a career with the police,” said Inspector Aziz.

Bedfordshire Police’s most recent recruitment drive closed last month (1 October) and it is expected that the process of assessing potential new officers will soon result in additional recruitment, including across diversity, further boosting the frontline.

“Last financial year, to this April, the Force managed to achieve 30-34% diversity across its recruitment which is an unheard of success. Here in the county other blue lights, like the Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service are learning from the police, as I hear when I attend the Fire Authority, and other forces are visiting us to find out more. We have to be careful not to become victims of our own success; Hertfordshire Police even came to the Luton Mela to recruit alongside us! Seriously, a higher level of diversity is a necessity in every force in a modern - and fairer - world and it can’t happen soon enough for me,” said Commissioner Holloway.