The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has said that the public will not have confidence in the police unless there are more black and ethnic minority officers.
She said that Cheshire, Durham, Dyfed-Powys and North Yorkshire did not have a single black officer.
Mrs May said the proportion of black and Asian officers was “simply not good enough”.
Critics said funding cuts were restricting recruitment of officers.
Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick said:
Past recruitment campaigns have targeted minority groups, including extending our reach to neighbouring counties. We have also developed an action plan with the College of Policing to address the recruitment of ethnic minority officers in the future. That said, we do have a number of Asian and mixed race officers from PC to Superintendent rank, and black, Asian, Chinese and mixed race police staff.
Recruitment in North Yorkshire has several challenges including its small black population, the geographical size of the county, meaning people from out of the area have to travel far to get to work, and the cost of housing stock. This has not been helped by the reduction in starting salary for new police officers.
Recruitment is the only tool to help us address under-representation, however, recruitment opportunities will now be very limited as we move into a future with even greater cuts to the policing budget.
Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire said:
The Home Secretary is right that diversity in the police is a very serious issue, and one we have been aware of and trying to address for some time in North Yorkshire. The make-up of our county makes recruiting minorities particularly difficult, with less than 0.5% of our population being Black and less than 3.5% being BME. This means we have to look at a range of recruitment tactics, including for example, recruiting outside North Yorkshire to make sure we reach a diverse pool of potential candidates. Diversity will become increasingly important, but increasingly difficult, as police workforces shrink, but Chief Officers and I are committed to ensuring North Yorkshire Police is a diverse, welcoming organisation reflecting the best of British society.