UNCORRECTED TRANSCRIPT OF ORAL EVIDENCE
To be published as HC 617-iv

House of commons

oral EVIDENCE

TAKEN BEFORE THE

Home Affairs Committee

Leadership and standards in the police service

TUESDAY 23 April 2013

Dal Babu and Mike Fuller

Evidence heard in Public Questions 308 - 336

USE OF THE TRANSCRIPT

1.

This is an uncorrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee, and copies have been made available by the Vote Office for the use of Members and others.

2.

Any public use of, or reference to, the contents should make clear that neither witnesses nor Members have had the opportunity to correct the record. The transcript is not yet an approved formal record of these proceedings.

3.

Members who receive this for the purpose of correcting questions addressed by them to witnesses are asked to send corrections to the Committee Assistant.

4.

Prospective witnesses may receive this in preparation for any written or oral evidence they may in due course give to the Committee.

Oral Evidence

Taken before the Home Affairs Committee

on Tuesday 23 April 2013

Members present:

Keith Vaz (Chair)

Nicola Blackwood

Michael Ellis

Dr Julian Huppert

Steve McCabe

Mark Reckless

Chris Ruane

Mr David Winnick

________________

Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Dal Babu, Chief Superintendent (retired), and Mike Fuller, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, gave evidence.

Q308 Chair: Chief Inspector and Mr Babu, thank you very much for coming to give evidence to the Committee. Yesterday was the 20th anniversary of the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and those of us who attended the service heard some very powerful speeches about how things have changed and how things have not changed. Looking at the last 20 years and looking at the tragic death of Stephen Lawrence, did he die in vain as a result of his death? Have there been those changes in terms of diversity in the Met, Mr Babu?

Dal Babu: He did not die in vain in such tragic circumstances. Stephen Lawrence would have been 38. It was absolutely horrific how the case was dealt with at the time, and the police service has come a huge distance from how murders were then investigated. At that time there were no single murder squads. You would go to different CID offices. You would pluck individuals from those CID offices, and they would then be part of the CID team that would investigate a murder. We now have full-time murder investigation teams. They are much more professional. We have family liaison officers, which was one of the recommendations that came out of the Stephen Lawrence inquiry. I think, in terms of the investigation of the crimes, they are much more effective than they were at that time, and you can see that from the success rate of the murder investigations where frequently over 96% of the individuals who murder-

Q309 Chair: But what about in terms of the black community, in the BME community in London? Many complain that they are stopped and searched much more frequently than white people. It is now 10 times more likely, is it not?

Dal Babu: Yes. In terms of diversity of the police service I think there is still a considerable challenge. If you look at the proportion of BME police officers in the 30 years I have been in the police service, it has gone from 1% to 5% in 30 years. If you look at the number of police officers who are promoted to the chief ranks, that has gone down. At the time of the original investigation there were nine officers in ACPO, the Association of Chief Police Officers. At the time that Stephen Lawrence’s killers were convicted we had none in London and we had three throughout the country, so the numbers had gone down quite significantly. We now have four. If you look at every single area, whether it is at the very top or at the most junior ranks in terms of recruitment, in terms of specialist departments, there is still a big challenge.

Q310 Chair: Mr Fuller, you are an example of the success. You were the first black chief constable. You served for six years in Kent and on your appointment you said that the perception of the glass ceiling has finally been broken, yet since your appointment nobody else has been appointed and there are no black or Asian people on the Strategic Command Course. There are no ACPO-rank black or Asian people. It seems to have gone back to 1994, if you like.

Mike Fuller: Yes. That is disappointing. I was in the Met for 26 years and rose from cadet to deputy assistant commissioner and I was in the Specialist Crime Department and was involved in setting it up-I also had responsibility for writing the action plan, and this was before the Macpherson inquiry reported. The task I was given-and my promotion was delayed-was to come up with some ideas to improve the Met response both to crime investigation, which was my forte, but also, more generally, the relationship with the communities.

In a nutshell-and this is probably not doing it justice-I looked to America for some of the ideas; the idea of responding to critical instance and the police being aware that there were some crimes where, because of the racial nature and overtones, they had the ability to evoke tension within communities. To cut a long story short, we carried out training with staff that was led by DAC John Grieve. We introduced this concept of the golden hour. First aid training was introduced. Family liaison was introduced. One of the things that I suggested and recommended was the reviewing of murder investigations, which was resisted initially but was eventually accepted; so murder investigations were routinely reviewed following a medical model. I think a lot of those things that I just mentioned are still in place and have stood the test of time.

Q311 Chair: They have, but you are not dealing with one of the central issues, which is why have you been, in 2013, the only black chief constable this country has ever had? What has gone wrong since those marvellous words of yours, that the perception of the glass ceiling has finally been broken?

Mike Fuller: To a certain extent one should be asking the police service that and those who are involved in the selection of officers.

Q312 Chair: You think that is where the problem is?

Mike Fuller: Yes. I think it is because they have the ability to change things, but what I would say is there are things I feel that can be done and there is a model of good practice. My day job is the Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service. You will have noticed, just very quickly, since 2000 when they had 5.8% BME staff members, they now have 15%, in 2013, which is far higher than the police service.

Chair: Is that because of you?

Mike Fuller: It is not because of me at all, but the point is they have done some things that I did in Kent. They created an inclusive environment. They have looked at their promotion processes. There is an independent element. They have lots of support networks, which the organisation listens to, they raise issues about internal policies and the impact those polices are having on various groups. If you remember, Macpherson talked about unintended consequences. The CPS may have other failings, but at least their representation is very good.

Q313 Chair: You have, presumably, the number of chief prosecutors-

Mike Fuller: We have three chief Crown prosecutors.

Chair: Which would be the equivalent of a chief constable?

Mike Fuller: It would be in some respects.

Q314 Chair: But when you left Kent, having made an impact there and increased the number of BME officers, the number of BME officers went down. So what is the guarantee? Obviously you do not have this job for life as Chief Inspector of the CPS. When you leave that organisation the same thing might happen again.

Mike Fuller: That is always a risk, and it depends on the person at the time. One of the things I did was to make it quite clear that racism would not be tolerated, very much a zero-tolerance policy, and that has to come from the top and there has to be will from the top and the top management team and a governance mechanism as well, in terms of the governance of the police service. They have the ability to change all these things. The important thing is to sustain policies, because that has not happened in the past. The police service has often been very reactive to crises and introduced and done some very good things but not sustained them.

Q315 Chair: Mr Babu, you have left the force, of course, after 30 years of distinguished service, your last post being commander in Harrow. You may not have seen the comments made by the Commissioner last week to the Evening Standard when he said that we could have our first black chief within the next 10 years, but then you look at the pool of people at commander level and chief constable level and you do not see any black people there to choose from because this is obviously something that is progressional. Do you support the view that we should bring people in from outside, perhaps from America or elsewhere, at that level if we are going to change the nature of the Metropolitan Police and the other police forces?

Dal Babu: I am not a fan of direct entry. I think you need to have an understanding of the complexity of your communities and understand the complexity of policing. The difficulty and the challenges that we will have is, if individuals are brought in, how much confidence will the community have in, for example, an accountant who becomes a chief constable? Nothing against accountants, but I think there is a real challenge there about understanding the complexity of policing. I don’t think there is the conveyor belt for police officers from BME backgrounds. We have had some limited success on gender, and the police seem to be much more comfortable in dealing with gender.

Q316 Chair: Why are they more comfortable dealing with gender?

Dal Babu: Well, I think there are some real changes in the way we deal with domestic violence and the way we deal with rape allegations, which has come as a result of the way we deal with having women in senior positions. I am afraid that has not translated when it comes to minorities. There is a real business case that shows when you have people from different backgrounds you have that cultural intelligence that you can use from different groups, and then you can effect a real change in those individuals. I recall when I first joined the police service how we had four minority MPs and you, sir, were one of them. There has been a huge amount of progress if you look at the MPs across all the political parties. We just have not had that translated into the police service, and there is a danger that the police service will be seen as a Republican party that has not changed as society changes. I think that is a real challenge.

Q317 Chair: A final question for you: were you disappointed when ACPO did not accept your highly successful mentoring scheme that saw so many young black officers promoted? As you pointed out, it was a no-cost option. Eight out of the 11 officers who were promoted were promoted as a result of being part of that mentoring scheme. There are cheap ways of doing this, in other words.

Dal Babu: Absolutely. That was absolutely no cost. I was approached by a group of black and Asian inspectors who expressed concern about the fact that in the previous few years so few had been successful and a group of them wanted me to organise a boycott of the system, and I felt we should work with the system and see what we could do to try to move forward. People would come to my house. A number of officers were assisting with that, and we got eight out of the 11 through at no cost to the organisation. Now, when I suggested that scheme to the tripartite group, it was turned down, and what I was suggesting was that we extended that to ACPO and their Senior Command Course; and, of course, this year we have had nobody go on to the Senior Command Course. I was extremely surprised that that scheme was not accepted by ACPO.

Q318 Nicola Blackwood: Mr Babu, I just want to take you back to the comments you made about the comparison between gender recruitment and BME recruitment and your link with gender recruitment and domestic violence and rape cases. You said that there was an understanding of the business case for improving gender recruitment but not BME improvement. Do you mean that you think the police force, because they wanted to improve their handling of rape cases and domestic cases, needed more women in the force and therefore went about that more vigorously than recruiting BME candidates?

Dal Babu: Not entirely; I saw, by the fact we had more women in the police service and they became more senior and went into specialist roles, that they were able to give a better understanding of the issues around rape and domestic violence, and then, as a result of their being in the organisation, we changed our processes and procedures. It was a consequence of having more women in the organisation that led to-

Q319 Nicola Blackwood: Okay. But they did not then go about recruiting more women because they saw that outcome?

Dal Babu: That is not my understanding. My understanding is that once we had women in the organisation, women became more senior, were more challenging, expressed concerns about the way we dealt with domestic violence and rape, and as a result of that those processes and procedures were changed, which has led to a much more effective way of reducing domestic violence than we had achieved previously.

Q320 Mark Reckless: I should declare I am a member of the Kent Police Authority in which you were appointed, Mr Fuller, as our chief constable. Mr Babu, you mentioned that ACPO refused to accept your scheme for supporting minority promotions. I just wonder, Mr Fuller, when you had a role in ACPO, how extensive that was, and what do you think of ACPO’s record in this area?

Mike Fuller: I gave my views to ACPO. They were minority views, and I suppose to a certain extent people felt they were predictable. For me it wasn’t just about recruitment. It was having strategies to recruit, retain and develop staff. I wanted the issue of diversity tackled on many fronts. For some people that was too sophisticated. Certainly in Kent everyone was very accepting. We won lots of diversity awards. We always received an excellent grading from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, and we were fourth in the Stonewall Index. What I was looking to do was not crusading but to create a sustainable environment where everybody felt comfortable and they felt they belonged to the organisation, that we were focused on the key objectives that had been set by the Police Authority of reducing crime and building relationships with the community and everybody had a part to play in that, both within the force but also in terms of our relationship with communities.

It is the same principle I used when I set up Operation Trident to tackle gun crime in London. It is not a soft thing. The relationship with the black communities in particular in London was essential in gleaning intelligence. We went from having no intelligence on people who were responsible for multiple murders to literally being inundated 18 months later with over 3,000 pieces of intelligence. It is more sophisticated than just having a recruiting strategy.

Q321 Mark Reckless: On Trident, are you concerned about the reported winding-up of that programme?

Mike Fuller: Yes, I am because, in a nutshell, when we set it up we looked back over 30 years and I think every five years there had been a specialist unit of some sort to tackle either the crack or drug-dealing in London, where there was violent crime associated with it, and it was quite predictable. That would occur every five years. What I felt was needed was something sustained. It might be scaled down or scaled up, depending on the extent of the problem. What you would not want to do is lose any expertise or intelligence that had been built up over many years with the wave of a glove.

Q322 Mark Reckless: Although ACPO has failed to take up either of your ideas in this area, do you think there is scope for diversity with the new landscape of policing, with the elected police and crime commissioners appointing chief constables but also the chief constables on their own, or without the tripartite system, making appointments below that as well as the direct entry possibility? Will that open up the diversity at senior levels in policing?

Mike Fuller: My view is that it is about will. The will is there. The CPS has done it. It can be done. It is about the will of the people at the top and the people in governance of the service.

Dal Babu: I would say it is very much about police ownership. It is about police taking ownership. We hear the police talking about new legislation. I do not think it should be about new legislation. I think there is enough at the moment in terms of positive action to enable us to do things that will enhance the number of minorities and women in the organisation.

Q323 Mr Winnick: Reference has been made to the fact that it is 20 years since Stephen Lawrence was put to death. It is 45 years, or was last Saturday, since Enoch Powell made his outburst of "Rivers of Blood" speech, which I am sure has not been forgotten. I want to ask you how you found the situation at the time, Mr Fuller? I think you joined as a cadet in 1975. Mr Babu, you joined the Met in 1983. We have been told by other witnesses, police officers who are black, that the canteen culture at the time was, to say the least, very distasteful; remarks made, teasing and baiting. Perhaps "baiting" is a more appropriate word than "teasing". Has that basically changed, Mr Fuller or Mr Babu?

Mike Fuller: Yes, I think it has. Certainly when I left and we are talking three years ago, I did not see the open use of racist language that I saw commonly for a number of years when I started in the police. I also took heart from the fact that when I was in Kent the very junior officers would come to me with complaints of racism and police officers would make complaints, as opposed to when I started in the service I would hear racist language, complain about it and literally everybody in the canteen would say they had not heard it and would close ranks. So, I took heart from the fact, certainly in my last years in the service, that that practice seemed to be disappearing.

Mr Winnick: Would you say the same, Mr Babu?

Dal Babu: Yes. I think you make a very valid point, Mr Winnick, about the overt racism, and I think the levels are much more subtle now and what you do not see is that overt racism. When I joined I remember being physically attacked. I have been racially abused.

Mr Winnick: By fellow police officers?

Dal Babu: Yes, and it was acceptable and you would not be protected by the hierarchy. You had to stand your own ground. I think the challenge we now face is a more subtle level of discrimination.

Mr Winnick: Like-

Dal Babu: If you look at, for example, specialist departments, there should be no reason why minorities are not in specialist departments, and yet we see a huge absence. Specialist departments are virtually all white. In terms of promotion, you still see very few levels of promotion, and, in terms of entry into the organisation, you still see levels of practice that means that a high proportion of black and Asian officers fail at every single stage of recruitment, whether it is about vetting or whether it is around the selection tests. There is a real challenge around why we still have that high level of disproportionality, particularly of BME officers.

Mike Fuller: One of the things I did in Kent, and it was really to deal with either intended or unintended prejudice, was introduce an independent element in relation to promotion and selection processes. There would be somebody independent, an HR individual, who would oversee me, if I was doing the selection, or anybody else, and there was always an independent element involved in the selection. Interestingly, the CPS, coincidentally, do the same thing.

Q324 Mr Winnick: I have been looking at the tables of all the police forces in England and Wales. I find, for example, for the number of BME the percentage varies but not all that much, and the highest is 10% in the Met and 8.3% in the West Midlands. Does that surprise you at all? I mean, there are quite a number where it is certainly under 2%.

Dal Babu: There are some disappointing figures where you see a reduction in the number of minority officers, and I think what we see in the police service is a flurry of activity around equality issues and then it is not sustained. I don’t know if we are looking at the same figures, Mr Winnick, but what you will see if you look a year on is a number of forces where those numbers have reduced. I think that is quite disappointing when there is supposed to be a huge focus on diversity.

Q325 Mr Winnick: Finally, do you believe that the cuts to police budgets and the rest will have an adverse effect?

Dal Babu: It will potentially, because you now need a Certificate of Knowledge in Policing for which you are required to pay £1,000 if you want to become a police officer. In order to become a police officer you need to do that. You need to pay that money yourself. A lot of the colleges that are providing that are private enterprises. I am not entirely sure what their issues will be on diversity. There is also already evidence that there is a disproportionality of police officers who want to join the organisation. If I can just make this point about the myth that black and Asian people do not want to join the police service: 37% of the recruits who wanted to join the police service in 2012 in the London were from minority backgrounds. There is a danger that this myth has perpetuated about black and Asian people not wanting to join. I have had a fantastic career. It has given me a great many opportunities, as it has to Mr Fuller and there are lots of people like us who have had those opportunities, so people want to join.

Chair: Thank you. We just need to move on, because there are two more panels after this.

Q326 Steve McCabe: There are a number of different organisations that are helping black and minority ethnic youngsters get into politics and public affairs. They are supporting things like Uprising and Inspire. Why isn’t there something similar that is deliberately encouraging and assisting these youngsters to look at a career in the police?

Mike Fuller: I think you will find that a lot of the staff associations have worked very closely with BME communities in working with young people, fundraising, building relationships with them and encouraging them to join the police. Ultimately, because of good experiences I had with police officers, as well as one or two bad-not that I did anything wrong-I had a good impression of the police and a good relationship with police officers, and ultimately that is why I chose the police as a career. What we have tried to do is replicate that, I suppose. I was one of the founders of the Black Police Association, and that was set up as a support network because so many people were leaving the Met at the time. With the agreement of the Commissioner, this was set up as a support network because many of the minority officers were getting a hard time both from people within the service but also from members of the community in London. The support network looked at trying to retain those individuals, and there was a stage where more officers were leaving than joining, so it was quite critical. Ultimately, we were successful in retaining staff, and I think what is a shame is that there was this political element that also developed in terms of the support networks.

Q327 Michael Ellis: Gentlemen, what are we going to do about this issue? That is what I would like to focus in on, if we may, because we have heard the points that you have made. I want to see what we can do to rectify this injustice and this imbalance. What would you advise be done?

Dal Babu: I have a list here, having spoken to a number of colleagues, and I was advised to come with a list to-

Chair: Is it a long list?

Dal Babu: No, sir. It is a short list. First on the list is the effective collection of data. There are no baseline figures of where officers are. We have the figures of how many minority officers we have in the organisation, but across the 43-

Michael Ellis: Per county?

Dal Babu: Yes. Minorities officers as a whole across the 43 forces, but we do not have an indication of where those officers are.

Michael Ellis: Within the forces?

Dal Babu: Yes. In terms of specialist roles, in terms of-I mentioned earlier on there is a dearth of minority officers in specialist departments. When Lord Ouseley asked a question in the House of Lords about where those officers were and in what specialist departments, the Home Office was not able to answer that question.

Q328 Michael Ellis: All right. Mr Babu, is that a means that forces currently have at their disposal? If they could publish where black and minority ethnic officers are within their individual constabularies, do you feel that could help?

Dal Babu: Mr Ellis, the point I am making is we do not have that data.

Michael Ellis: But you would like that data?

Dal Babu: Yes, and once we have that data we are then in a position to move forward and say, "This is the challenge that we have". I think there are also issues around targets for specialist departments. There should be no reason why minority officers are not in specialist departments, but we do not have that. I think we need to look at cultural intelligence, cultural skills. Take language skills; where you have an area where you have a large Urdu speaking or a large Punjabi speaking population, I think we should be able to, in positive action, ask somebody for a language skill-it should be a desirable or essential skill- if we are going to have a police officer in that area. That would assist. I think we need to look at reviewing vetting procedures, because minority recruits are twice as likely at the moment to fail those processes. Internally, when they apply for specialist roles, they are then having some difficulties with enhanced vetting.

Q329 Michael Ellis: We would have to change vetting, then, across the board, though, wouldn’t we?

Dal Babu: Not necessarily, sir. I think it is about what is it, what questions are we asking, on vetting. So for example, if you have spent time abroad, or if you have relatives abroad, it is a much more complex vetting process. We need to look at how that process is implemented. The final thing I would say is that we need to create some non-executive roles for policing, where you actually have someone who is prepared to sit at the top table and ask some challenging questions. Because, if you look at the police service, with all the evidence that myself and Mr Fuller have given, we still have that reluctance for people within the police service to stand up and say, "Look, these are the challenges that we have."

Mike Fuller: My focus would be different, really. I am a product of what was called the special course, which is equivalent to the high-potential development scheme, and while my promotion was accelerated, it was not accelerated as fast as it could have been because I chose to go down the investigative route and be an investigator. But the point is that the high-potential development scheme-a bit of a mouthful-is a national scheme. The selection of people for that scheme is critical and important, and it is an internal means of promoting people who have been identified with the requisite potential to reach the top levels of the service. Now, I benefited from that. I thought it was a good scheme. The training and development was excellent, and I think greater focus should be given to that.

Q330 Michael Ellis: I am just looking to fire a laser, if you like, into this. What practical changes could, for example, the College of Policing, could individual police forces, the Government-what practical changes could they make to better proportion-

Chair: It sounds like an essay title. Brief answers, please.

Michael Ellis: This is the nub of the matter. That is why I am asking it.

Mike Fuller: The high-potential development scheme is important because the guarantee was only to chief inspector level. So, you were guaranteed promotion to that level, but not any higher, and clearly the desire and wish is to have more senior people from BME backgrounds at the top of the service. So, there is potential for changing those rules, which are national rules and guidance. Mentoring and coaching and development schemes have been referred to and they have generally been very successful. They were part of the cellular courses I did. The selection processes, where there is either conscious or unconscious bias, are critical, and one would want to be confident that, nationally, all the selection and promotion processes are free of bias; either that or have an independent element to reduce any conscious or unconscious bias in the selection scheme.

Q331 Nicola Blackwood: Both of you have said that the problem is not that BME communities do not want to go into the police service. Mr Fuller, you said that your own experience of the police was excellent, and that is why you wanted to go into the police.

Mike Fuller: Positive.

Nicola Blackwood: "Positive"; I hear you. I would not want to overstate it. We have had visitors who have argued that their own poor personal experiences of interactions with the police are acting as a barrier to the BME community wanting to enter the police. Now, we had a stat from a study of 37% BME applicants within the Met area, but that does not quite seem to match with the evidence we have had from other witnesses. Could you explain to us what could be done to try to address this particular cycle of different community attitudes to the police and what is, I think, a negative attitude?

Mike Fuller: I think the police service has to go out to the communities. When I joined, young black and Asian people were encouraged to visit police stations. It was quite a frightening thing to do as a young person, but those schemes encouraged that. I joined a scheme as a volunteer-type cadet scheme, where the cadets would go out and encourage young people into police stations, show them around, and overcome that fear and apprehension they may have. There are ways, in terms of outreach schemes, where that bridge can be built with members of the community.

Q332 Nicola Blackwood: That sort of general improvement of community relations-

Mike Fuller: I think that is a start.

Nicola Blackwood: -but that sort of outreach in terms of specific recruitment programmes?

Dal Babu: I suppose, if you are looking at bums on seats, effectively, I think we need to look at the obstacles that we have at the moment. If you look at the fact 37% of the applicants who overall want to come in-that is a huge number of individuals who want to join the organisation. So, I think it is about how you ensure that the selection processes-there is a disproportionality there, where more minorities fail at the initial selection process. There is a disproportionality in terms of vetting. I think it is about having an equality impact assessment on those processes. Now, the College of Policing and NPIA-its predecessor-were aware of these disproportionalities. I’m not aware of any work that has been done to look at why that disproportionality exists. So, we have a pool of individuals-you have referred to individuals who have given evidence who do not want to join the organisation. You will always find a group of individuals that, at any age range, are reluctant to join the police service.

Q333 Nicola Blackwood: My last question is what is wrong with direct entry, then, because obviously, it would present role models who would address some of the concerns that we have been hearing in the Committee; and you have already stated, Mr Babu, that you think that this has been a significant problem.

Dal Babu: If you look at where direct entry has occurred in the army and the prison service, that has not delivered great diversity. So, I think if you are linking direct entry to diversity, I am not aware of any organisation with direct entry that has that. But essentially, it is about managing risk, and it is about understanding the complexity of risk. I appreciate training can be given to individuals to ensure they do that. I was a gold firearms commander where two of my officers were shot dead, and I then had to manage the scene there and then subsequently arrange for the arrest of the culprits. That is not something you can learn overnight. That level of complexity comes with experience and comes with the ability to have made a few mistakes and to learn from those mistakes.

Mike Fuller: I mean, the issue is whether you need to have been at the bottom of the service to be able to manage very difficult operational situations. From my view and my experience, there are advantages, and clearly benefits and less risk, if somebody has had that experience, they have been tried and tested in an operational environment, and, more importantly, they have demonstrated very good judgment. Because it doesn’t matter what backgrounds the people come from; if they don’t demonstrate good judgment, then the public are at risk, and in managing firearms situations, violent demonstrations, people are expected to make quick decisions. If you have been a business man one day, and then you are in charge of a violent demonstration or a firearms situation the next, you need a basis of experience to fall back on, to be able to deal with that situation competently and demonstrate good judgment. I think that is where the risks are with direct entry. It is not that it cannot be done; the prison service do it, and the Army do it, but one needs an understanding of the complexity of the policing. It does create risks.

Q334 Nicola Blackwood: Yes. Do you think that there is more a risk internally, in terms of the attitude of serving officers to those coming in directly, rather than in terms of operationally? Because I can imagine a number of previous levels of job experience that might give you that operational experience, but I can imagine that there is more of an attitude problem among those serving, who might be uncomfortable with the idea.

Mike Fuller: Yes. Well, you can imagine in policing, if you are asking me to go into a burning house, into that firearms situation, into that violent demonstration, before I put my life at risk I would want to be confident that you have good judgment, you are experienced and you are making good decisions, which is what senior officers do on a regular basis. Your credibility would be all-important, and the risk is: would people who were direct entrants have the same credibility as people who were not?

Q335 Chris Ruane: I think that police officers should reflect the community that they police, and we have heard about gender and race. As a Welsh MP, we have language as well as an issue in Wales, but I have not heard anything about social class here today. I grew up in the ’60s and ’70s and spent 26 years on a council estate. I can recall 10 police officers who were recruited from my council estate back then, but I am not aware of that scale of recruitment today from that council estate. Has any analysis been done about the BME officers who are recruited-in fact, white officers as well-and what social class they come from? Is there that outreach? We have neighbourhood policing now, it should be easier to connect. Is there that outreach in schools-and you mentioned getting young people to come to the police station; is data being kept on that?

Mike Fuller: I can’t answer that.

Dal Babu: I will just mention that one of the obstacles might be the Certificate of Knowledge in Policing that you require; you need to pay £1,000 up front, and there is no guarantee that you will be accepted as a police officer.

Chris Ruane: £1,000?

Dal Babu: In order to complete-it is a new recruitment-a national recruitment system.

Chris Ruane: When was that instituted?

Dal Babu: It has been instituted by the College of Policing.

Chris Ruane: When?

Dal Babu: I do not know the exact date when it will start, but the College of Policing will own that system. So, it will be a national scheme.

Q336 Chair: We will write to the College of Policing about that. A very, very quick answer: a black Commissioner in 10 years, Mr Babu, yes or no? Not you, but do you think it is going to happen?

Dal Babu: Under the present processes, I can’t see that happening.

Chair: Mr Fuller?

Mike Fuller: I have no idea.

Chair: Good answer. Thank you very much indeed for coming.

Prepared 2nd May 2013