Written evidence submitted by the Police Superintendents’ Association (MAC0008)

  1. In our submission, I would like to focus on the current position and the opportunities that the Police need to seize now on the issues of bias, discrimination and racism.


  1. The pace and scale of our policing response to COVID-19 has demonstrated our ability to react to a national emergency of incredible scale. It has not always been a smooth journey, hindered by structural issues, but we have shown that the Police Service can unite for a common cause. Now, we see the emergence of the next national emergency facing our country in the policing and race debate, that has become so prominent since the death of George Floyd in America.


  1. We have consulted with our BAME members and they have provided constructive feedback, views and insights. Some of the key feedback included:


-          A clear call for strong, consistent leadership that is both empowering and sustained around the race narrative

-          Accountability – we need to understand who is truly accountability for diversity within our Service, and apply the same scrutiny as that used in our measurements of crime and performance

-          The need for true, impactive use of positive action that makes a difference.  Positive discrimination is not viewed as an option because positive action has not been fully exploited

-          We must understand communities and BAME colleagues, adding a fifth ‘e’ to our approach in ‘empathy’

-          We must address the raft of cultural issues preventing the support and progression of BAME members within the service, reflected in the poor representation at senior ranks across all forces


  1. We have attached a copy of the comprehensive feedback we received for you to review.


  1. We have also had the opportunity to consult with our National Executive Committee which is our policy body. We have captured their additional thoughts and feedback.


  1. To assist in moving forward, the PSA has highlighted the key issues for the Police Service to focus on, contained within the attached documents. Our association is committed to making a tangible difference to diversity issues within our Service. Representing the senior operational leaders in policing, we are privileged to have influence and impact across the policing sector, however, in addition to our police partners, we recognise our role and that we need to hold ourselves to account in addressing the race inequalities within our Service. We bring constructive ideas and suggestions for how we can work together to create a Service our communities deserve – something in which we must all play our part.


  1. In the attached plan, there are deliberate omissions under the column heading ‘Ownership and measure’. We truly believe that, from an accountability perspective, these need to be agreed across the Service and adhered to, in a manner that is sustained over the next three years and aligned to the Police Uplift Programme. If we don’t have ‘diversity success’ during this generational opportunity, and ‘success’ from a diversity perspective remains to be defined, we run the risk of the Police Service creating a 40-year problem. We also believe that HMICFRS and PCCs have a key role to play on accountability, measures and to shine a light on uncomfortable issues.


  1. As an association, we have worked hard on valuing difference. Since 2017, we have worked with the College of Policing to deliver a national coaching and mentoring scheme, focusing on under-represented officers and staff. When we set up the process, we secured the support of Home Office analysts to survey and assess the impact of the programme. The results show 61% of beneficiaries were female; 19% BAME, 13% LGBT+ and 8% disabled. The data showed that the scheme had the right focus. The data also showed significant positivity for both the coaches and the beneficiaries – with those from under-represented groups showing high levels of positivity, confidence and self-belief. For this programme, the PSA assumed accountability, responsibility and introduced measures that could test the impact of the intervention. We would encourage this approach around accountability and measure for all the key priorities, even if the data is difficult to secure.


  1. The College of Policing has also started to see some extremely positive results in the latest Fast Track Assessment Centre (57% female; 19% BAME) and we are very supportive of the expansion and focus of this type of progression opportunity across the Service.


  1. With the Scarman Report (1981), MacPherson Report (1999) and the Inequality Commission (2020) – we must do everything we can to prevent this cycle of events continuing. Whilst we focus quite rightly on race, as the context is right at the moment, we would welcome the broader impact of positive action on all areas of diversity, expanding into inter-sectionality.


  1. The diversity issues within our society do not sit with policing alone.  We all recognise that a cross-government push with leaders from all public sector agencies is required, but policing is sitting at the heart of this issue. Given the right vision, depth and focus, an appetite for national data collection, accountability and scrutiny, over a sustained period of time, we know we can all make a positive difference, driving positive action into every internal and external aspect of our work.


  1. We hope these reflections are helpful for your HASC enquiry.



June 2020






Annex A

Action Plan

In June 2020, following widespread focus on racial inequalities within policing in response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the PSA consulted with association members that identify themselves as being from a black or minority ethnic background.  The aim was to capture their feedback, experiences and suggestions around the diversity challenges facing UK policing.

The feedback secured has informed the action plan below, which outlines where responsibility lies for each area of work, and aligns with the PSA’s core focus on care for our people, our police and our public.

This plan will be shared with national policing leads and stakeholders as part of the PSA’s commitment to Valuing Difference in every strand of its work.

PSA Priority


Owner / Measure




Engage with leaders from under-represented groups to learn about their journey and their views



Understand the achievements, the barriers and blockers, and the perspectives of those living this journey in policing

‘Hear’ under-represented groups, rather than just listen so that they can be fully represented


Reflect the diverse needs of members within strategic and tactical planning

Provide a clear narrative to the Service around race and inequality issues within the Service


Feedback suggests that a clear message from Chiefs has been missing since the death of George Floyd in the US.

Provide a strong message from Chief Supers as senior operational leaders


Ranks want to hear from the Superintending ranks, particularly if Chief Officers are distant

Set out clear strategic objectives for senior leadership teams



Senior leaders should have their own, tangible goals around valuing difference

Present a clear, compelling vision, profiling how policing will look in 10 years



To encourage those from under-represented groups to join the police and experience equal opportunities for progression throughout their careers

Creation of a National Support service for those contemplating leaving the service before natural retirement



Communicate a strong, clear message, rooted in our values



Empower the workforce to feel confident in raising concerns or challenging discriminatory behaviours



A culture exists that means people are afraid to speak out for fear it will damage career progression prospects



Analyse metrics and gather localised evidence around individual career progression, career pathways and the distribution / allocation of work-based opportunities



Understand who is applying for courses / training, who is being granted these opportunities and who is not, to explore unconscious bias

Hold organisations and leaders to account for their actions and results around valuing difference



Accountability around valuing difference should mirror that applied to core operational issues

Introduce external scrutiny around diversity, valuing difference and positive action




Create Strategic Advisory Cells bringing together external partners from business, community groups, academia and international links to act as advisors and to interrogate our approach.



Create seats for community leaders on organisational boards to shape discussions and represent communities




Review processes for PNAC applications to remove unconscious bias and create a culture of equal opportunity



Feedback suggests a belief that BAME colleagues do not receive chief officer approval for applications

Look for creative, innovative ways of using positive action as far as possible – being lawfully audacious in our approach.


Widespread belief that positive action is under-utilised and concerted effort needs to be applied to every aspect of recruitment through to retirement. Positive Discrimination is not supported by the PSA, but we recognise a growing voice.

Create a focus on organisational support and retention that is equal to that around attraction


Widespread belief that intense focus is applied to recruitment, and support is withdrawn once people enter the Service. Staff are ‘surviving’ rather than ‘thriving’



Engage with black and minority ethnic communities to ask them what they think Police should be doing



Add a fifth ‘E’ to our Four ‘E’s approach – introducing empathy for those we are engaging with – understand their context, their perspective and the image of Police they see



Focus on changing the dynamics between young black communities and the police to bridge the gap and change mindsets


We will potentially lose another generation of young black people through BLM, who will not wish to engage with or be part of the Police