Chief Constable Dee Collins told the Home Affairs Select Committee this week that the force’s improved financial situation meant she was “in a position in the next 12 months to bring in 600 new police officers, a number of PCSOs and a number police staff into the organisation”.
West Yorkshire Police has now said that 300 of the new officers would be replacing those expected to retire or leave the force in the next 12 months.
It has launched a campaign to increase recruitment from black and minority ethnic (BME) and other under-represented communities, in response to fears the force was not as diverse as the communities it represented.
Miss Collins said the force was “keen to understand why some communities may not have traditionally considered a role in policing” and “how we might remove some of the barriers that exist”.
The senior officer, who took on the job 22 months ago after predecessor Mark Gilmore was suspended, was asked by MPs on Tuesday why only 5.1 per cent of the force’s officers came from BME groups.
In the county’s population as a whole, an evidence session into polic diversity was told, 18.3 per cent of the population are from BME backgrounds.
Asked by committee chairman Keith Vaz how many BME officers had been taken on in her 22-month tenure. Miss Collins replied, “very few”, adding that Government budget cuts made it very difficult to recruit.
In response to a question about how many BME officers had been promoted during her tenure, Miss Collins said: “We have promoted two now to Chief Superintendent position and we also have two now at Superintendent.”
The force later clarified its position, saying its two BME officers at Superintendent level were already in that position prior to Miss Collins becoming temporary chief.