The Metropolitan Police is accepting applicants who are “functionally illiterate in English” in an attempt to boost diversity, according to one of His Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary. HMI Matt Parr, who holds legal responsibility for inspecting more than a dozen forces, has highlighted that in a city where, for example, even during the lockdown era, well over 10,000 recorded knife or sharp instrument offences occur every year, “significant numbers of” officers are finding it “quite difficult” to write up crime reports.
After a review last month found that more than 1,000 Met officers have been subject to allegations—several, in some cases—of domestic abuse or sexual offences, and the force proposed a “Turnaround Plan” to help it “be more effective at getting rid of those who engage in criminality,” Mr. Parr also revealed that officials are, in fact, actively “taking a risk” on applicants with criminal pasts. The purpose, he added, is again to improve the Met’s diversity rating.
The inspector, describing this aim as “absolutely right” and “noble,” told The Daily Telegraph:
We completely support the idea that London—which will likely be a minority white city in the next decade or so—should not be policed by an overwhelmingly white police force. That is clearly wrong. It is not just wrong from a legitimacy point of view, and from an appearances point of view, it is also operationally wrong because it means that the Met does not get insight into some of the communities it polices and that has caused problems in the past.
So we completely support the drive to make the Met much more representative of the community it serves than it is at the moment.
While supporting the motive, Mr. Parr accepted the “risk of recruiting the wrong people.” He cited “anecdotal evidence that they [attempts to boost diversity] have lowered standards” and said that so far as recruiting people tied to past criminal involvement was concerned, officers are “taking too much risk with people” and “are not managing it properly as well.”
Met leaders, alongside London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, agreed towards the end of 2020 that the force must hire 40% of its new recruits from ethnic minority backgrounds. Despite this drive, white officers continue to make up around 85% of the total figure. This fact, it would appear, is prompting some recruiters to overlook blemishes on the records of applicants who tick particular boxes. Historian and broadcaster Rafe Heydel-Mankoo commented in a post on Twitter: “The police want to regain trust by rooting out bad apples. Yet this mad, ideological diversity drive will destroy trust further.”
Current reports fail to highlight the likely difficulty of maintaining high basic educational levels (including sufficient literacy) across police forces given long-falling standards on a national scale, as highlighted in the latest book by Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens, A Revolution Betrayed: How Egalitarians Wrecked the British Education System—nor other factors which, over a matter of decades, have helped to lower policing standards.
The Metropolitan Police did not respond to The European Conservative’s request for comment.