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Changes to top tier training must end 'echo chamber' selection, says NBPA

Currently, officers are invited to apply by Chiefs – and that is a limit for BAME officers according to the NBPA

The National black Police Association has given a cautious welcome to the root and branch review of senior selection by the College of Policing in a bid to improve numbers and diversity.

Changes revealed by the College will include ending personal selection by Chief Constables for the Senior Police National Assessment Centre.

It’s part of a review of processes for leadership training such as the Strategic Command Course that develops officers for senior roles including Chief Constable.

Currently, officers are invited to apply by Chiefs – and that is a limit for BAME officers according to the NBPA.

PSNI Insp Andy George, President, told Police Oracle: “The National Black Police Association welcomes the potential removal of this barrier and we feel that more needs to be done to develop national standards with community scrutiny at each part of the process.”

The group is set to meet College of Policing Chief Executive Andy Marsh to discuss how the reforms might take shape.

Concern has been mounting across policing that the talent pool created by the current system is too small to meet demands that include a high retirement rate.

Forces have had to resort to internal promotion or transfers from neighbouring forces to fill posts.

The College is understood to be ready for an open conversation with the NBPA.

Insp George said: “The results from the Senior Police National Assessment Centre were disappointing but do not tell the whole story in relation to the development and selection of senior leaders from ethnically diverse backgrounds.”

He believed it is part of a wider set of problems that includes a lack of mentoring and failings in support earlier in careers.

“The process for selecting senior leaders currently allows for Chief Constables to develop and select people they feel would make great Chief Officers which creates the environment for echo chambers and the promotion of people in their image,” he said.

“It also prevents senior officers and staff from speaking out as they are less likely to be given portfolios and projects that help raise their profile and develop them for promotion to Chief Officers.”

Insp George added: “The entire system needs a radical overhaul or we risk another generation of low representation and a subsequent erosion of trust and confidence in senior leaders.”

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