February 10th, 2008

Level Playing Fields

Posted in The Job - Comment by 200

In 2006, Gloucestershire Police were taken to tribunal by an applicant who wanted to join their ranks when the police deselected all white males from the application process in favour of ethnic minorities & females. They were advised the practise was illegal & made to pay the individual £2,500 compensation. 

Positive discrimination has been illegal for as long as  (negative) discrimination. Police recruiting policies are clear to point out that their efforts to recruit higher proportions of ethnic, female & homosexual groups are ‘positive action‘ not positive discrimination; they know the score & the risk of being taken to court by unsatisfied ‘customers’.

It is all the more surprising then, that the Met appear to be continuing the practice of positive discrimination this week. A soldier, Ben Mayer, has been declined an application pack by the Met on the grounds that they are not recruiting white males currently.

The get-out clause for the Met appears in a statement to the press that they are not recruiting anyone right now, which would be fair enough & equal all round had not the reply to Lance Corporal Mayer, a regimental police officer with the Royal Anglians, said "The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is actively seeking to raise interest from black & minority ethnic communities & females who seek a career with the policing family. For further details please contact…"

So they’re actively seeking interest but not recruiting? Yeah, right. I’ve not seen many posts in the police recruiting forums from ethnic or female groups complaining that the Met are refusing to send them application forms.

The approach of this news story comes from the angle of a British war hero who has seen 9 mates killed in Afghanistan, who just wants to serve his country further in the police. The truth is that although Lance Cpl Mayer may be just the right sort of person to make a successful career in the police, this isn’t reason enough why he should be treated any different to someone from the checkouts at Asda.

The reality is that if the checkout operator at Asda happens to be a black female lesbian, she will get preferential treatment over Ben Mayer.

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