South Yorkshire Police has disputed the latest Home Office figures which say that the force only has 3.3 per cent of police officers from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
The police force, which says that 4.8 per cent of their police officers are BME, is one of several police forces across the country that have contested the figures quoted by the home secretary, Theresa May.
South Yorkshire police Chief Constable David Crompton said: “Our black and minority ethnic (BME) representation has grown steadily in recent years, and we continue work to ensure those working within the force reflects the diversity of the communities we serve.
“We continue to do all we can to attract a more diverse workforce to South Yorkshire Police. In December 2014, we launched our ‘What it Takes’ campaign which sought to recruit more Special Constables and, in turn, we saw a marked increase in the amount of black and minority ethnic representation within our Special Constabulary.
“Now, nearly nine per cent of our Special Constables are BME which we believe will continue to rise.
“It also stands to reason that, when we are in a position to recruit police officers, many of our Special Constables will apply for positions, which should result in a further increase to our BME rate.”
According to the figures by the Home Office, South Yorkshire Police, which has over 2,500 officers, only has 86 which come from a black and minority ethnic background.
Mr Crompton added: “It is of course, our desire to have greater BME representation within the force, however due to the low recruitment levels which have been in place during austerity since 2009 our ability to recruit more police officers has been significantly restricted for several years.
“We have made positive progress in increasing the female representation within our force, and now nearly half of our police family is female. Notably we are unique in South Yorkshire in that both Assistant Chief Constables and the Deputy Chief Constable are women.”