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Sarah Thornton’s Positive Discrimination – Just Leave It To Time And Death Dear

That we might be a little out of step with the ruling ethos of our era can be seen as our own problem. Reality out there is what it is, madness is refusing to adapt to it. Then we’ve got idiocies like this which are a failure of basic logic, nothing to do with aims or desires at all.

So, the basic problem Sarah Thornton has identified. The BAME population of the country is x%, the police BAME is y%, this is a problem for x != y.

Well, OK, except we actually want to be a little more careful than that. The police, sure, we’d like them to reflect the general population – that’s Bobby Peel all over again. More than anything else the ethos of British policing is that they are us, they are the general population. We all have powers of arrest for example….

That means that we’d like police forces to be variable in their BAME-ness, as are the regional populations. So too the age cohorts differ. Thus levels of rank aren’t going to reflect the general population either, at least not yet – there’s that bolus of immigration to pass through the python yet.

OK, but subject to all of these caveats yes, we’d like the police to reflect the population. How to do this? Well, if we make sure that recruitment reflects the population being recruited from then we’re done. As death and the passage of time pass the pigs through the python then we will indeed have what we desire, population reflecting police. And if there are future changes in BAME-ness then exactly the same policy will achieve exactly the same goal.

So, what’s Thornton arguing?

[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Thornton said her personal view was that positive discrimination was needed: “That is unlawful at the moment. If you want to do something to give a shock to the system and say we can’t wait to 2052, I think we need to do something different. “It is a political judgment, isn’t it? How important is this? If it’s important, then I think you need to look at a different approach.” While 14% of the population are from an ethnic minority, just 7% of police in England and Wales are – up from 2% when Macpherson reported 20 years ago. Thornton said a quarter or even 30% of new recruits in some big forces were from an ethnic minority. But changing the overall makeup of forces was slow and budget cuts meant few new officers joined between 2010-2015. “It will take a long time. The turnover of police officers is really quite slow, so it is about 6% a year, it’s always going to take you a long time, and it’s about whether we can wait,” she said. [/perfectpullquote]

That is, we’ve already solved the problem as best we can. But she’s insisting we must change the law, we must discriminate upon the grounds of race, in order to – well, what? What would we actually do? Recruit more BAME constables because what? In two decades we’d have a police force managed by those more BAME than the general population, wouldn’t we? Meaning we’d have just the negative image of the same problem all over again.

The answer being, yes, of course we can wait. As long as each recruiting class reflects the age cohort of the recruitment and service area then we’re done. What the hell else needs to be achieved?

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Jonathan Harston
Jonathan Harston
5 years ago

Population of UK is 14% EM. Population of police recruits if 30% EM. WE NEED TO DISCRIMINATE IN FAVOUR OF EMs BECAUSE 30% IS TOO SMALL!!!!!! froth froth foam.

If the proportion of entrants being double the population isn’t already posiitive discrimination, then what the **** is it?

5 years ago

Since Sarah herself appears to be white, shouldn’t she be leading by example & making room for someone who is an EM?

Oh, by a “shock to the system” she meant shock somebody else? How silly of me?

5 years ago

“Racism has never done this country any good, and it needs to be fought against, not put under new management for different groups.” ~ Thomas Sowell

Nigel Sedgwick
5 years ago

Tim is supportive of the police being representative: “…, sure, we’d like them to reflect the general population”. Also right to be somewhat sceptical: “age cohorts differ”; “levels of rank aren’t going to reflect the general population either, at least not yet”. I’d like to take the issue somewhat differently. Why should the police reflect the general population, especially in areas of high flux (such as a cosmopolitan city like London) and some other cities/towns subject to (government arranged or encouraged) ghettoisation. There are, IMHO, good reasons for avoiding change too fast (as Tim also argues). In addition, we surely… Read more »

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