Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick has has called for a law that allows the force to apply “positive discrimination,” favoring ethnic minorities who apply over equally qualified white candidates.
Dick has stressed that police forces should reflect the community they serve and because more than 40 percent of London’s population is Black, Asian or other ethnic minorities, Dick feels the force does not accurately reflect that diversity, The Times reported.
The Met is currently made up of 18 percent minority ethnic groups, but its goal is to be at 40 percent. A recent report showed that UK officers have been accused of racist conduct on duty and in their personal online activity nearly 7,800 times in the last five years.
The Times reported that Dame Cressida’s positive discrimination has been backed by Neil Basu, Met assistant commissioner and a vocal supporter of the force’s need for more diversity.
Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) Andrew Bridgen said that the idea of positive discrimination is “discriminatory the other way. I’m very much of the opinion you have to have policemen who want the job. One volunteer is worth 10 pressed men as they say.”
He added: “The whole thing is ridiculous. It’s not realistic and ultimately it’s policing by consent in this country, the force should reflect the society it is policing,” Salten News reported.
Tory MP Bob Blackman told MailOnline that positive discrimination was “completely wrong” and said that the Met needed to encourage people from all walks of life to apply, but positive discrimination, he said, would “breed resentment” among colleagues.
Others, including a consultancy firm in the UK that specializes in helping companies improve diversity, believe that in order to gain the trust of minority groups in London, the Met needs to get down to the root of the issue by looking at their culture and “institutional racism.”
The director of the firm told MailOnline: “Cressida Dick is missing the point. What she needs to focus on is why ethnic minorities aren’t applying. Obviously, there is an issue of trust around the culture of the Met.”
A report was written to the House Committee on Armed Services that outlined the Met’s position, saying: “We have in place a substantial programme of work to encourage and support colleagues from under-represented groups, such as career development services and leadership development, so they are as well-equipped and as well-supported as possible in progressing their careers.”
According to The Times, choosing candidates based on their ethnic backgrounds is something highly frowned upon by government officials. The Met Police plan to bring in around 11,000 new officers between now and 2025.
Newsweek reached out to Metropolitan Police for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.