How important is it to have a diverse work force at Greater Manchester Police?
Very important, we are committed to ensuring that the diverse make up of our workforce is reflective of the communities we serve. All of us within the force recognise that having a diverse workforce makes us more approachable and relevant to the public.
In June 2013, it became evident that diverse representation within GMP was less than 7 per cent. The Force recognised that there was work to do to improve this and therefore invested significant effort and resource into a black and minority ethnic recruitment project known internally as ‘Operation Peel.’
Operation Peel was labelled as such, as it is aimed to support the principles set out by the founder of the police force Sir Robert Peel, namely his instruction ‘the police are the public and the public are the police.’
The project team was to review all aspects of the attraction, recruitment, retention and progression processes.
The principles are to:
- Attract candidates with attributes that support policing;
- Ensure our selection processes support the aim and can deliver a workforce that reflects our communities;
- Support individuals to have a rewarding career with GMP
The team have devised and delivered a ‘community engagement recruitment model’ with Police Community Support Officer’s making connections with members of their community who have expressed an interest in joining GMP. The potential candidates have been progressed through a totally revised process, which is much more personal and allows us as an organisation to get to know more about individuals. In addition, we provide feedback and also support those who require it.
The 2 recent intakes of Police Community Support Officer’s during 2014 have included in excess of 39% of new starters being from black and minority ethnicity/under-represented groups.
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in policing?
First and foremost we would encourage anyone who is interested in joining GMP, or who wants to know more about the roles available to either engage with a member of the Integrated Neighbourhood Policing team within Greater Manchester or contact the Operation PEEL Team via email (OperationResourcingTeam@ gmp.police.uk), who can advise you on potential roles available and collect a few details via an Expression of Interest Form which will then be sent into a central recruitment team for processing. A member of the team will very quickly contact you via email or telephone and talk you through the opportunities and the next stages of the process.
GMP has recently carried out police officer recruitment, which has been offered internally. There may be additional police officer recruitment opportunities in the near future, but again it is highly likely that this will be an internal recruitment process and not advertised externally.
There are various routes into GMP and for those who aspire to be a police officer then individuals should consider a volunteering role such as a Special Constable or a Volunteer, or additional police staff roles – Police Community Support Officers, Operational Support Officer, Administration Assistants, Investigative Assistants, Call Handler or Radio Operator.
We encourage those who are dedicated and who can demonstrate commitment to join GMP via the recruitment process, to seek advice, and ask for support as they require to assist them in their application and ultimately in their successful appointment.
In addition to speaking to our Police Community Support Officers, there is also the GMP website which has lots of useful information and footage from our staff in a variety of roles.
You are recruiting at the moment. How important is it to increase the diversity of the force?
As mentioned it is essential that GMP remains focused on increasing the diversity of our current workforce and every single member of the organisation has a role to play in achieving this.
Attracting and recruiting a more diverse workforce from across the Greater Manchester area is one thing, but then it is critical that we retain and develop our staff so they have rewarding careers with GMP. This includes career pathways and training to support them throughout.
We regularly recruit Police Community Support Officer’s, Call Handlers, Operational Support Officers, and Administration Assistants and there are also Apprentice and Specials opportunities.
What type of people are you looking for?
GMP is seeking local people from the Greater Manchester area with the potential and attributes which match the values and leadership expectations of the force, which are all about inspiring others, enabling change and improvement, developing themselves and others, responsibility for/to the team, working in partnership, demonstrating respect and compassion and service delivery.
GMP is keen to attract members of our Greater Manchester communities who possess the right skills and attributes to assist us in delivering a high quality policing service to our growing diverse communities.
By having teams with these values they can deliver innovative and excellent services for the policing of our communities of Greater Manchester. They will be capable of forging good relationships with our communities, and building the trust and confidence which is so important.
How does training prepare your officers for policing such a diverse area as Manchester?
All roles have some form of initial training and roles such as the Police Community Support Officer’s, have extensive training courses which is over an 8 week period.
The training new recruits receive is tailored to the role they have been recruited to, ensuring that they are equipped with the skills and knowledge to perform the role to the very best of their ability. The training does not stop following the course, as staff are supported throughout their career.
Our volunteer roles, for example Special Constable, also receive training and this can take place over the weekends or the evening to cater for their personal circumstances.
How do you see policing evolving over the next 5 years? What are the major challenges going to be?
GMP continues to be challenged by the budget cuts but remains committed to providing a neighbourhood policing model. There will be further resource reductions; however we have continued to recruit throughout the budget reduction process, and remain proactive in the capability of our staff.
The Greater Manchester area continues to grow in its diversity make-up and already has in excess of 200 different languages spoken. GMP is committed to capitalise at every opportunity the activities to attract, recruit, retain and develop our black and minority ethnic candidates.
In addition to the forces budget restraints, we are being further challenged by reduction in funding for our partner agencies such as social services which will result in GMP having to take on additional areas of responsibility.