Impact and Insights Report 2020/21

Diversity and talent


“We need to have a police force that looks like the people it is seeking to serve.”

Lord Simon Woolley,

CBE, Director and Founder of Operation Black Vote and Police Now Trustee.


Police forces that reflect the diverse communities they serve are crucial to tackling crime in modern society.

In May 2020, the death of George Floyd in the United States led to protests worldwide. Here in the UK, it sparked protests led
by the Black Lives Matter movement and national debate about systemic racism, police use of force, stop and search and the wider disproportionality that continues to exist within the criminal justice system1.

The COVID-19 pandemic heightened social divides and exacerbated existing inequalities, whilst the enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions has tested public trust in authority, including the police2.

Increasing diversity in police forces goes to the heart of maintaining and building the public’s confidence in policing, underpinned by the principle of ‘policing by consent’3. Only 7.3% of the police officers in England and Wales are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds (as of March 2020), compared to 14% of the population4. A report by the Police Foundation5, published in January 2020, found that despite some improvements in overall diversity, “Black representation has barely increased” since 2007. Alongside this, data suggests that confidence in the police is falling in Black and Mixed Ethnicity communities6. This is a story that has to change.

“I value Police Now as an organisation primarily because of its refusal to shy away from discussing issues with regard to inequality in policing. As this issue has been and remains so prevalent in policing, it is an injustice to not address this head on. Police Now, I believe, bears witness to and addresses this inequality. Police Now’s diversity and inclusion strategy, in particular, is committed to tackling disparity in policing. This aims to correct the discrimination that has historically characterised the policing experience, ranging from recruitment, development and subsequent progression of officers and staff. The fact remains that society, at large, is multi-ethnic and multi-diverse and thus police forces should reflect this diversity.”

Sunita Gamblin QPM,

Police Now Diversity and Inclusion Committee Chair.

Latia Suen | Police Now graduate

“The Black Lives Matter movement was probably the first time that I became starkly aware that I look different to the majority of my colleagues. I found myself having very uncomfortable conversations at times and took every opportunity to educate. My connections within Surrey Police’s Association for Culture and Ethnicity gave me a safe space to discuss my feelings and I found motivation to see my being ‘different’ as a real opportunity to do whatever I could to influence decision-makers into seeing where room for improvement lies and how we can achieve this.”

Police Constable Latia Suen,

National Graduate Leadership Programme Participant, Surrey Police.


Whilst diversity and inclusion includes the representation and support of a range of underrepresented groups, policing’s primary focus, and therefore Police Now’s, is in tackling the underrepresentation and progression of officers who are women and those from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background.

Police Now consistently recruits more officers who are women or from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds compared to other entry routes into policing7.

Recruits identifying as women:


57% Police Now vs. 37% National Police Officer Recruits



50% Police Now vs. 35% National Police Officer Recruits



53% Police Now vs. 34% National Police Officer Recruits


Recruits identifying as from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background:


19% Police Now vs. 10% National Police Officer Recruits



17% Police Now vs. 11% National Police Officer Recruits



12% Police Now vs. 9% National Police Officer Recruits


Police Now

National Police Officer Recruits

In 2020/21, we recruited our largest and most diverse cohort to date for those starting on the sixth National Graduate Leadership Programme, with 54% identifying as women, 17% identifying as from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background (45% of whom identify as women), and 5% of the overall cohort identifying as Black. We have also achieved strong growth in the number and diversity of participants joining our second National Detective Programme, with 66% identifying as women, 24% identifying as from a Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic background (68% of whom identify as women), and 3% of the overall cohort identifying as Black.

Trainee Detective Constable Tary Kufa,
National Detective Programme Participant, Greater Manchester Police.


What's it like in the police if you're from an ethnic minority background?

Why it's important to have a diverse police force.

What's it like in the police if you're from a minority ethnic background?

"If you want to see a representative police force, you need to join the Police Now mission."


  1. See for example Lammy, D. (2017). The Lammy Review: An Independent Review into the treatment of, and outcomes for, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic individuals in the Criminal Justice System.  ↩

  2. For further discussion see LSE (2020): ‘What makes Britons trust police to enforce the lockdown fairly’ and Crest (2020): ‘Policing the pandemic: public attitudes to police visibility, enforcement and fairness’.  ↩

  3. House of Commons Home Affairs Committee (2017). Police Diversity. Available online here.  ↩

  4. Data sources: Home Office (2020) Police Workforce Data. Population of England and Wales ethnicity statistics available here. The 2021 Census will provide a more up to date picture of the current demographic profile of the population in England and Wales:  ↩

  5. See Police workforce gender and ethnicity trends from 2007 to 2018 and prospects for the future .  ↩

  6. London Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime [MOPAC] Public Voice Dashboard. Available online here. (Accessed 24 December 2020) ↩

  7. Data sources: Home Office (2019) Police Workforce Data Tables and Police Now Recruitment and Marketing data (2018-2021). ↩

Devon & Cornwall Police

Police Now | Devon & Cornwall Constabulary

Shaun Sawyer

Chief Constable

National Graduate Leadership Programme

Cohorts: 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled: 8

National Detective Programme

Cohorts: —— —— —— —— 2019 2020
No. of police officers enrolled:

Case studies: