The official inquiry into leadership and training says greater representation of women, along with black and minority ethnic groups, at all ranks will make a difference in the culture of the police forces.
The review says the pervading and overwhelming male culture is the main barrier that has been referred to as the single thing that prevents the workforce changing into a more diverse organisation.
At entry level the number of recruits to police officer ranks and community support officers has increased for women and people from BME communities. But, the culture, the systems and processes that have been developed and perpetuated by the dominant culture, need to be reshaped so that women and BME officers and staff remain and prosper in the police service.
The report by former chief constable Peter Neyroud indicates that the police force remains dominated by an overwhelming white male culture. It still works on “jobs for the boys” principles.
The report says there is a general view in the police that “it wants to do equality”, but it doesn’t actually do enough to make it happen.
Commissioned by Home Secretary Theresa May, the review by the former head of the National Police Improvement Agency suggests an estimated 24 years are required to get to even 35 per cent women representation in the three most senior ranks at the current rate of progress.
The Home Secretary is to decide on the reforms in September. The decision will be taken after a 12-week consultation.
The review also suggests the setting up of a new chartered professional institute of policing for the whole of the service. It can be merged with the Association of Chief Police Officers as its head and heart.
It has also called for qualifications to increase quality of recruits. It has in fact recommended a pre-entry qualification before the registration and swearing in of the recruits as a constable to improve the quality of policing.
At the same time, Neyroud has warned that the pre-entry qualification proposal can indeed hamper the recruitment of women, along with black and minority ethnic groups.
But he argues there can possibly be several routes, including a college-based route, to the entry qualification for ensuring everyone is able to qualify.
The review’s summary of responses on the issue of race says culture of the service and current set up is still predominantly white male, and BME officers still find it difficult to break through the ranks.
There is a lack of trust in the service that still exists in terms of ‘walking the walk’ rather than ‘talking the talk’. These findings were mirrored when officers were asked about gender which also concluded that there is “still a perception that current processes maintain a ‘jobs for the boys’ culture.