When forces partner with Police Now for multiple years, we see year-on-year increases in the diversity of participants, particularly those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background. This is owing to the existence of an evidence-based engagement strategy, both nationally and in a local area, which targets prospective Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates for multiple years before they consider, or are eligible, to apply.
The public service elements of police work and opportunity to make a visible impact in local communities can help attract candidates who might not otherwise consider policing. Our recruitment campaigns place a strong focus on community transformation and do not use traditional recruitment imagery (e.g., uniformed officers, flashing blue lights) in the early stages. This enables us to actively engage those who might hold negative perceptions of policing and demonstrate the opportunities that a career in policing has to offer.
Analysis of our National Graduate Leadership Programme recruitment data between 2016-2019 found that in the context of policing, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates are twice as likely to decline conditional offers than White candidates.
To ensure that candidates from underrepresented groups remain engaged in the recruitment process, Police Now focuses on recruitment process speed, high levels of candidate care, tailored communication, and positive action. Once candidates enter our recruitment process, there is plenty of support available including access to digital mentors, individual and group coaching, and our live chat platform which allows candidates to ask any questions they might have about our programmes.
Research by Police Now, in partnership with the Transform Alliance, found that women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic students were more likely to stop their application process if their parents were against their career choice, in comparison to White and male students. Engaging with potential applicants’ wider network of influencers (e.g., friends and peers) is therefore vital. One of the ways in which Police Now does this is through Friends and Family events which aim to provide information and reassurance about our programmes and a career in policing to offer-holders’ loved ones.
It is commonly known that online assessments, like psychometric tests, can cause adverse impact for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic candidates. Our in-house selection and insights teams work closely with assessment consultants to develop a blended assessment approach which minimises adverse impact potential. Police Now collects and analyses data to test for adverse impact, as well as to understand participant performance, experience, and progression according to demographic background, skills, and experience. This enables us to identify which individuals might benefit from additional support and interventions and identify where discrimination and bias might exist.
We also analyse data to ensure that we are implementing our existing recruitment and development processes and policies to the highest possible standard. This culture of disciplined execution is a critical success factor in recruiting and developing a high calibre and diverse cohort into policing.