Chief Constables Iain Livingstone and (above) Jo Farrell and LibDem MSP Liam McArthur.
By Bill Heaney
Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has urged incoming Chief Constable Jo Farrell to “reflect closely and carefully” on new data which shows that still only one per cent of police officers ranking as Sergeant or above are from BAME backgrounds
And that this minuscule proportion has not increased over the past three years.
A Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request revealed that Police Scotland has 276 officers who identify as BAME but only 46 have been promoted to Sergeant or above. At the last headcount Police Scotland had 16808 officers, of whom 3,699 had the rank of Sergeant or above.
This means that just one per cent of those attaining the rank of Sergeant or above are from BAME backgrounds.
Mr McArthur said: “At every level, people from BAME backgrounds are still woefully underrepresented in Police Scotland.
“Not only do these numbers undermine a sense of a fair and equal workplace, but they also create barriers between the police and the communities in which they work.
“These numbers also come in the wake of comments by the outgoing Chief Constable, Sir Iain Livingstone, that the service is institutionally racist and discriminatory.
“In recent years, the Black Lives Matter movement forced us all to face uncomfortable truths about society and its attitudes. Every institution has a responsibility to forge a better way forward.
“It is glaringly apparent that ministers and Police Scotland must do far more to increase diversity in policing.
“Staff surveys should be regularly on offer so that the service can identify issues early on and root out discriminatory practices and behaviours.
“As Police Scotland comes under Jo Farrell’s new leadership, it must reflect on these numbers, closely and carefully, and take meaningful steps to ensure that the police service is as diverse as the public it serves.”
In 2020, the Independent Review of Police Complaints, Handling, Investigations and Misconduct Issues, led by Dame Elish Angiolini, found evidence of a canteen culture in Police Scotland.
The final report found that “ethnic minority officers were leaving because of the culture of the police and the way they were treated.”
In 2020, Scottish Liberal Democrat research found that only one per cent of promoted positions in Police Scotland were only held by those from a BAME background. The research was published here.