Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today urged Police Scotland to "look closely" at new data which shows that only 1% of police officers ranking sergeant or above identified as BAME and consider why the top tiers of policing "aren't nearly as diverse as the public it serves".
Freedom of information requests by the Scottish Liberal Democrats revealed top tier positions including Sergeant, Inspector, Chief Inspector, Superintendent, Chief Superintendent, Assistant Chief Constable, Deputy Chief Constable and Chief Constable were only held by 44 people of BAME backgrounds - equating to 1% of those in high-ranking positions.
The pattern was repeated throughout the force, with people from BAME backgrounds making up only 1% of constables, holding 209 positions.
Scotland's 2011 census recorded that 4% of the population identified as being part of minority ethnic groups.
Liam McArthur commented:
“People from BAME backgrounds are woefully underrepresented in Police Scotland, at every level. That’s a problem for a whole host of reasons, not least fairness and representation. It also creates a barrier between the police and the communities they work in.
“Sadly, the recent Independent Review of Police Complaints showed that racism within these ranks is not yet a thing of the past. Dame Angiolini found evidence of a canteen culture stuck in the same rut recorded by the Macpherson report 20 years ago. She said accounts from officers and staff left her feeling ‘extraordinarily depressed’.
“The Black Lives Matter movement forced us all to face uncomfortable truths about society and its attitudes. The purpose is to find a better way forward, and every institution has a responsibility to help make that happen.
“Increasing diversity now would strengthen the police's ability to engage with communities, and would pave the way for a new generation of talented individuals for the future.
"Police Scotland needs to look closely at these numbers and consider why the top tier of policing isn't nearly as diverse as the public it serves.”