In 2016, the Home Affairs Committee has called for radical action to be taken “to tackle shocking under-representation of BME people in the police force in England and Wales.” North Yorkshire Police was among the lowest ranking counties, with only 1.2% BME officers employed in 2016.
North Yorkshire Police was struggling to attract a diversity of applicants because of the severe misrepresentation of the population it served. But in 2017, its in-house recruitment team has decided to take a bolder and braver approach to talent attraction. They realised they needed to shift applicants’ mindset and open them up to the countless benefits of working with the police force. They had to educate the younger public about their open and inclusive environment.
From open days and practical workshops to dedicated social media campaigns, North Yorkshire Police’s new student officer campaign has attracted 35% more applicants than the previous year, with a 15% diversity rate.
“Two years after we launched the new initiative, we are on track to becoming one of the first police forces in the UK to match their local demographic by 2021,” Johnathon Reardon, Talent Acquisition Advisor at North Yorkshire Police says. Johnathon is joining us at In-house Recruitment Live Manchester on 9th May 2019 to talk about the next steps in the journey. Ahead of his presentation, we sat down with Johnathon to dive into his topic a bit more.
For your chance to hear Johnathon’s story in full, you can register for free below but be quick, as spaces are limited!
You have gone from being one of the lowest represented police forces in the country to becoming one of the first to match their local demographic in just 2 years. What is next for North Yorkshire Police?
Following on from our successful student officer campaign, our next challenge is the retention piece. We have developed induction sessions and tailored our training programme to help support new hires in their roles by running cultural awareness weeks. For our officers, it helps to further embed them within the communities they are serving and familiarise them with the issues these people are facing to help foster an inclusive environment for all.
Are you struggling with public perceptions of the police force when attracting talent?
There’s a stereotype that police forces in general are not diverse, always recruiting the same typologies. We’re trying to move away from traditional style methods of recruitment and selection and change public perception for good. We are also educating our workforce and training over 100 of our senior managers on unconscious bias and positive action. We can achieve great things in recruitment if we collaborate.
But I think because our D&I portfolio really held up its level and because of the positive feedback from our recruitment campaigns, our reputation grew across the country and we’re now seen as a broad thinking organisation, really supportive of our workforce. People are now actively interested in transferring over to North Yorkshire Police across all ranks.
What about talent who wouldn’t normally consider a career with the police? How are you swaying them over?
Competition can be fierce, as we often feel were are falling short to ads from the military which offer great skills development programmes and travel opportunities as a bonus. But we’re focusing on our positives, we’re a very safe county to work in and we use that as a strength. Our teams go out to colleges and universities to engage with any students who suit our values and vision, so we can support them on their personal journey through our processes.
We always try to make ourselves approachable to people, showing them that our door is always open and they can always come in and speak to our Chief Constable.
What can we expect to learn from your talk at In-house Recruitment Live Manchester?
I’m going to present an honest and open account of our journey to becoming a more diverse and inclusive employer, bringing up case studies and talking about what we’ve learned along the way. I will share some of our successes but also the challenges we faced, so people can come away with tangible solutions at the end of it.