Police recruitment workshops caught up in discrimination debate

Recruitment sessions held by the British Transport Police (BTP) all across the country in recent weeks have attracted criticism amid concerns of discrimination.

According to reports, events held in London, Birmingham and Manchester geared at helping candidates with application forms and mock BTP tests were advertised as being open only to “women and Black/Minority Ethnic (BME) groups.”

The advertisements have sparked concerns that the BTP has been effectively ‘barring’ aspiring officers from white male backgrounds and members of the LGBT community from accessing potential job opportunities.

A report in the Peterborough Telegraph suggests that one 48-year-old white male applicant from the East of England successfully made it through the first stage of BTP’s recruitment process – only to be denied a place at a recruitment workshop at a later date.

The disgruntled job hunter told the newspaper he had been discriminated against.

He said: “I wanted to go so I could be as prepared as I can be for the assessment day.

“I understandably want to get the most knowledge and help and support to help me do the very best I can.

“I saw the workshop and thought it sounded crucial. But then I saw the small print saying it was not open to me. Not only did they refuse to let me attend a workshop, they said I could email questions only,” he added.

In response to the concerns raised, a spokesperson on behalf of BTP said that the workshops had been “specially designed” to speak directly to women and BME groups and “to increase the number of applications” from such individuals, who it is thought are currently misrepresented in the force.

Nevertheless, Simon Downey, Director of Capability and Resources at the BPT, said: “Every application we receive will be judged on their individual merits and no one will be discriminated against or favoured because of their ethnicity or gender.”