PEOPLE from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds in South Wales continue to be underrepresented by their police force - despite the recruitment of more than 100 new officers.

The National Black Police Association says police forces need to show more ambition in recruiting officers from BAME backgrounds, while the National Police Chiefs Council accepts "much more needs to be done".

Home Office data shows South Wales Police recruited 118 new officers in the nine months to the end of 2020.

But of those who declared their ethnicity, just two were BAME.

It leaves South Wales Police with 79 BAME police officers overall, accounting for 2.6% of the 3,069 officers whose ethnicity was recorded.

That is despite BAME people accounting for 6% of the population served by South Wales Police, according to mid-2016 population estimates – the latest to have an ethnicity breakdown.

It reflected the picture across England and Wales as a whole, where 7.5% of officers are BAME despite people from BAME backgrounds making up 14.5% of the population.

However, that was a rise from 7.3% in March last year, and 4.7% in March 2010.

A spokesperson for South Wales Police said: “Making South Wales Police more representative of the communities we serve has been a Force priority as outlined in Police and Crime Plans dating back to 2015.

Penarth Times: South Wales Police HQ In Bridgend. Picture from Google MapsSouth Wales Police HQ In Bridgend. Picture from Google Maps

"We recognise and value individuals’ unique differences, and we want South Wales Police to continue to develop as an organisation which represents and reflects our communities.

"Whilst we have made progress during this time, we accept that we still have work to do, but we are moving in the right direction.

“We have a dedicated BAME Recruitment Team who encourage applications from under-represented groups.

"The team engage with underrepresented communities and provide ‘Positive action’ action support to encourage applications. Positive action refers to a range of measures and initiatives that employers can lawfully take to actively encourage individuals from under-represented groups to apply.”

To find out more about the work of the BAME Recruitment team  at South Wales Police, visit 

Last year a study by the Police Foundation thinktank found more people from Asian and mixed ethnic backgrounds had increased, but black representation in police forces had “barely increased”.

And the NBPA president, Andy George, said the association remains concerned over the make-up of police forces in relation to the communities they serve.

He said: "The recent uplift in police recruitment has shown some improvements in this area but we would like to see a more ambitious drive to increase the number of officers and staff members from BAME backgrounds.


"We are unconvinced the current recruitment uplift will be used as the once in a lifetime opportunity it is, to reset the workforce composition."

The NPCC said forces across the country have set action plans to ensure recruitment attracts people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

A spokesperson added: "We are actively engaging with communities who are currently underrepresented in policing to understand the barriers and address any misconceptions."

Meanwhile, policing minister Kit Malthouse said police forces are "more diverse than ever before".

He added: "The recruitment of 20,000 additional police officers presents a once in a generation opportunity to ensure they are even more reflective of the communities they serve.

“National diversity recruitment data is being collected and monitored for the first time ever, with appropriate support in place to help forces attract people from a diverse range of backgrounds.

"Where appropriate, we will take direct action to address poor performance in this area.”

The Government's police recruitment campaign was launched in October 2019, with each force handed a target for the first phase ending in March this year.

South Wales Police recruited 186 officers between November 2019 and December last year, the figures show.

But allowing for leavers, the overall uplift over the period was 95, meaning the force is still off its first phase target of 136.

Across England and Wales, forces have a collective goal of recruiting 6,000 extra police officers by March 31.

By the end of December, 6,620 officers had been added through the hiring scheme.