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Having more role models in the Met from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities will help to challenge perceptions of the police and encourage more diversity in the force, east London’s top police officer has said

Detective chief superintendent Stephen Clayman, East Area BCU commander, spoke to this paper about recruitment and the challenges in attracting people from black communities to join the Met.

He said the force should not underestimate the importance of role modelling.

“When someone sees someone from their own community as a police officer, whether they are in uniform, a detective, or a PCSO, it demonstrates that it is a job for everyone. I do hope that people see that. Because that’s the only way we are going to make inroads.”

Recent viral social media videos, such as British athlete Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos being stopped by officers in west London earlier this month, have led to criticism of the police.

Det Ch Supt Clayman said: “I think the press have focused on some of the viral videos and they are only seeing a small proportion. We do so much stuff every day which is great.

“It is a difficult time for police officers but that’s not taking away what a great career it is.” BAME

The Met has launched a police constable degree apprenticeship scheme in recent months, a three-year programme which allows people to be employed as an officer and progress towards completing a professional policing degree.

It is being delivered in partnership with four of the capital’s universities, including the University of East London.

Det Ch Supt Clayman said: “Apprenticeships are a brilliant mechanism. They are not the apprenticeships of old – I think there’s a bit of a stigma attached to the word apprenticeship.

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