EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES LEGISLATION
AND HOW IT AFFECTS THE UNIFORMED PUBLIC SERVICES
What is incorporated into Equal Opportunities Legislation?
What does Equal Opportunities Legislation do?
What is the impact of Equal Opportunities Legislation on the Uniformed Public Services?
The police have been viewed institutionally racist after the Stephen Lawrence investigation being carried out by the IPCC, but positive action to take on Black Minority Ethnic (BME) officers allows them to be more diverse and the fact that race, religion, background, etc. is not taken into account when selecting officers also allows them to be more diverse and to build up trust within a community. All data supplied by candidates wishing to join a Uniformed Public Service is protected under the Data Protection Act 1998 preventing crimes such as ID theft and it also prevents officers from viewing what religion, race, etc. the applicant is who is applying making it only possible to take on candidates based on their application only, promoting diversity. However, some Police Forces do still lack the amount of equal opportunities available to members of the public, for example Leicestershire Police figures from 2010/11 show that there were 2247 police officers at that time. Only 151 of those officers were made up of ethnic minorities and only 592 of those officers were female. This shows that the force does not represent society and it shows that there maybe some institutional racism within the force due to the lack of officers from ethnic minorities. Also, the force may discriminate against women due to the lack of female officers employed by the force. However, the fact that there is a lack of ethnic minorities may not be because of institutional racism. This is because forces will never be able to get a n equal proportion of white people and ethnic minorities as this would not represent society in the UK as there are a lot more white people within the UK than ethnic minorities. The percentage of ethnic minorities employed as police officers within the whole of the UK is only 6.7%. Police Forces are getting better at promoting diversity by the fact that they are getting slightly better at representing society, for example the Metropolitan Police in London have more ethnic minorities within them than all of the other forces within the UK. This is because the area covered by the Metropolitan Police has more ethnic minorities within that area than any of the other areas covered by Police Forces within the UK. All of the Uniformed Public Services must allow everyone to have equal opportunities under the Equality Act 2010.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission makes sure that Police Officers allow applicants equal opportunities by making sure that Police Forces abide by the Police Reform Act 2002.
What do the Uniformed Public Services say that their approach is on Equal Opportunities?
A diversity extract that the Metropolitan Police have displayed on their website is:
“We publish equality information (…) complying with the requirements of the Equality Act ”.
The Metropolitan Police have set out an official document to make sure this is met. This sets out the guidelines to do this. The Metropolitan Police are therefore claiming that they promote diversity and do everything they can to make sure institutional racism and other types of discrimination do not take place within their force. However, there are been cases in the Metropolitan Police where institutional racism has taken place, for example the Stephen Lawrence case which is still being investigated by the IPCC and the Mark Duggan case which is a recent example of where the media and family members of Mark Duggan are suggesting that the Metropolitan Police are still institutionally racist.
A diversity extract from HM Prison Service which is displayed on their website is:
“The National Offender Management Service is committed to fairness to all”. Again, HM Prison Service have an official document to make sure this is achieved and HM Prison Service is regularly monitored as Prisons are visited on a regular basis to make sure they are complying with this and to make sure that they are treating all prisoners fairly regardless of their race, religion, etc. Prison Officers have a duty of care towards their Prisoners.
A diversity extract from the Royal Air Force (RAF) which is displayed on their website is:
“The Royal Air Force is an inclusive employer which supports and values difference”.
This suggests that the RAF does not discriminate against someone because of their race, religion, etc. It also suggests that everyone has equal opportunities and anyone can join the RAF as no one is discriminated against. However, this isn’t necessarily true as women are not allowed to join some areas of the RAF and therefore, it could be said that the RAF discriminate against women.
How do the Uniformed Public Services make sure that people have Equal Opporunities regardless of their needs?
The Uniformed Public Services should allow people to have access to these rights as they should be allowed under the Human Rights Act 1998 to prevent people from being discriminated against. Furthermore, people should be allowed to join the service without being deprived of these rights as everyone should be given equal opportunities under statutes such as the Equality Act 2010, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Disability Discrimination Act 1996 and the Employment Equality Regulations 2003 and 2006. Also, by allowing service members access to these rights, it ensures that everyone is treated fairly and not discriminated against and it shows the community that the service does not discriminate building up trust between the service and the community. This is especially important for the Police as they have been viewed as being institutionally racist. However, there are still other things that the Uniformed Public Services could still do, for example regarding training, taking on more ethnic minorities using positive action and by making sure that the Human Rights Act 1998. By the Uniformed Public Services making adjustments such as the initiatives above, it ensures that the Uniformed Public Services are promoting diversity more. It ensures that no one is discriminates against and allows other personnel to see that everyone should be treated equally reducing discrimination and breaking down institutionally racist groups.
What are the recruitment Policies of the Uniformed Public Services
Some of the Uniformed Public Services on recruitment explain their policy on discrimination to applicants. For example, in the Police, officers must sign an agreement to pledge that they will not discriminate against people because of their race, religion, etc. In the Fire and Rescue Service, they explain their policy on discrimination and they explain to applicants how they provide support to people being discriminated against within the service. Applicants are made aware of the policy and if they do discriminate, the fire officer dealing with the case refers back to the policy explaining how the applicant agreed to it and has breached it. The Army focus to stamp out discrimination as they feel that it can affect someone’s performance. Therefore, they encourage people to make a complaint if they feel that they are discriminated against. All of the Uniformed Public Services follow legislation to make sure that discrimination is not tolerated, for example they follow the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and the Equality Act 2010. They also take positive action to ensure that their service is diverse to ensure that they don’t discriminate against people and to break down institutionally racist groups to ensure that personnel within that service don’t discriminate against people. Some of this positive action can be seen in the picture (right) when the Fire and Rescue Service were encouraging women to join as most of the service was made up of men. However, there have been times when these Uniformed Public Services have breached what they have said they will do to stamp out discrimination, for example in the Army, Cpl Anne-Marie was not taken seriously when she complained that she had been discriminated against and raped by many of her colleagues. All of her colleagues were male and there was a lack of women in her department. She had no privacy and she killed herself as no one would believe her complaint. In inquest was held revealing that her complaint was not taken seriously and a proper investigation was not carried out. She was also discriminated against.
Support for Police Officers:
Police Officers of different religions, sexual orientations, etc. are also supported by federations, for example the Gay Police Association.
There are some paper resources explaining the legislation within the Equal Opporunities Legislaion.
Thank you for listening :)