Managing Performance and Diversity

“Managing diversity is based on the concept that people should be valued as individuals for reasons related to business interests, as well as moral and social reasons”1. Diversity allows an organisation to broaden its horizon. According to CIPD “Managing diversity successfully will help organisations to nurture creativity and innovation and thereby to tap hidden capacity for growth and improved competitiveness”. Where diversity exists in a workplace, its employees will feel part of the organisation. They will know that they are being valued by the organisation and it will cater for their need.

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A happy workforce will only lead to a better workforce. Managing diversity will eliminate the problems will face in society today whether it be ethnicity, disability, age and so forth. Diversity is not the issue of HRM but rather the whole spectrum of an organisation. It is the issue of line managers, supervisors and board members, from top to bottom. Within the police force there is a lot of issues happening regarding diversity. The police force has been under immense scrutiny for the last few years.

The case of Stephen Lawrence case has been one of the most significant impact on the police force. It highlighted the problems within the police force and what it needed to do in order to become more trustworthy to the community it served. The Scarman report of 1982 included the following statement “there is widespread agreement that the composition of our police force must reflect the makeup of the society they serve”2. The labour force of UK is low compared with other European Countries. Within the public sector the employment figure is also low.

In a survey, which was carried out by the CIPD titled ‘Recruitment and Retention’; it found that “Retention difficulties during the last 12 months are reported to 71. 8% of responding organisations in comparison with 49. 8% in the 2002 survey. 83. 9% of the public service said they were finding retention a problem”3. And it is no great surprise that the police force are facing this problem too. Although the number of police is all time high, 136,3864, has there been degrading of the criteria that is required to become a police officer in order to meet the Government target?

Or is the case that they are more diverse hence people are joining the police force? From my point of view I think both have contributed in order to make the police force more diverse. Downgrading I believe the police have downgraded their standard in order to have a better chance of recruiting from a bigger pool. If they lower their skills, which are required in order to join the force, is this diversity or merely an organisation objective? I believe the labour market isn’t the driving agenda for equality and diversity in this sector.

Because of the negative aspect related to the police force people are reluctant to join them; this is certainly the case for ethnic minority and black people. The former commissioner to the Metropolitan Police, Sir Paul Condon said that there is a element of constitutional racism existing within the police force and this has been clearly found out by the recent BBC report on Panorama. Why should Asians and Black people join the police force when they are not respecting people who they serve? As Rossett and Bi (1994) said, “Diversity is linked with business priorities”, and I believe this is certainly the case for the police.

They are doing this in order to meet targets, which have been imposed on them by the Government rather than valuing diversity. Recently there has been massive advertisement with black people to join the force. They are targeting black and minority people. The normal starting salary when joining the police force is i?? 18 000, this is on par with big corporate salary for a graduate. This salary is high when compared with other professions. There are other benefits when joining the force in order to encourage the labour market to apply to them. Is the Police Diverse?

If we look at other side of the coin then coin then we can say that ‘yes’ the police are diverse and are trying to become more diverse. It is not just the police force that is embracing diversity but across whole range of organisations from private sector to public sector. The report of Stephen Lawrence Inquiry stated, “the Home Secretary and the Police Authorities policing plan should include target recruiting, progression and retention of ethnic staff”5. I think the police force are embracing diversity not just because there is a labour shortage but rather they are trying to reflect the society they serve.