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June 16, 2004

Race, Sex and the Police

The report on ‘racism’ in the British Police by the Commission for Racial Equality has now been released and is available here.

The report in the Sunday Times which I mentioned earlier turns out to be (characteristically) somewhat exaggerated. The psychometric tests designed to ‘weed out’ racists do not ‘only pick out blacks and asians’ (as suggested) but they do reject a higher proportion of blacks and asians than whites.

The recruitment process is intended to assess seven ‘competencies’, including ‘respect for race and diversity’. Candidates must obtain at least 50% marks overall, and not less than 44% in any of the seven competencies, except ‘respect for race and diversity’, where anything less than 50% is unacceptable. (Well, of course, ‘respect for race and diversity’ is more important than, say, being able to catch criminals.)

Alas, it turns out that under this part of the assessment process 42% of Chinese applicants are rejected, 34% of blacks, and 32% of Asians (i.e. mainly of Indian and Pakistani origin), against only 23% of whites.

The CRE are deeply concerned by this finding, and propose to carry out further research into the reasons for the disparity in rejection rates. It is worth noting that the ‘diversity’ criterion covers sex, sexual orientation, disability, etc, as well as race, so it is possible that non-white applicants are being caught out over sexist or homophobic attitudes, which are not unknown among ethnic minorities in Britain. (That's a bit of litotes for you.)

[PS: apologies if this gets posted twice. It hasn't appeared on the site after about 10 hours, so I'm pressing the button again.]

Posted by David B at 03:55 AM