‘Things are changing’ – councillor on ethnic minority police officers in Redbridge

Cllr Varindar Singh Bola

Cllr Varindar Singh Bola - Credit: Archant

A councillor has praised the work of the borough’s police to increase ethnic minority officer numbers.

Det Ch Supt Sue Williams, the borough commander of Redbridge, was on duty the day of 7/7.

Det Ch Supt Sue Williams, the borough commander of Redbridge, was on duty the day of 7/7. - Credit: Archant

Redbridge borough commander Det Ch Supt Sue Williams is pushing a scheme to make the borough’s police more representative of the people it serves.

The scheme offers help and advice to potential candidates who may need “extra support”.

The initiative will see 20 participants given the opportunity to see first-hand how the force operates.

Speaking on Time FM radio Det Ch Supt Williams said: “I want to help potential candidates who are thinking – ‘is policing the right job for me?’ – or who may be unsure due to peer or family pressure.

“Having an understanding of what the Met is all about may help potential candidates decide on whether policing is the right career for them.”

More than 60 per cent of the borough is made up of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) communities according to Greater London Authority (GLA) projections in 2013. Public Health England’s latest child health report found 82.6 per cent of the borough’s school pupils were of BME groups.

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Met-wide, BME officers make up 11pc of the force.

Cllr Varinder Singh Bola, who organised an event earlier this month celebrating the Indian diaspora – Redbridge’s largest ethnic minority group – said “things are changing”.

“When people first came here there was a sense of conflict in terms of identity. Today, most communities have successfully integrated and feel a sense of ownership and duty towards this country,” he said. “I still think there is hostility towards the police with things like stop and search, however, I think this is changing.

“Most people [from BME communities] will find they know somebody who is part of the police.”

A police spokesman said: “We’ve worked hard to increase the numbers. In 1999 just 3pc of officers in the Met were BME.

“Having a police service which reflects the communities it serves is pivotal to policing.”

Anyone interested in the scheme should email their details to Redbridge police at JIMailbox-.GPC@met.pnn.police.uk