CHARLES GRAHAM - It’s never that black and white...

OUR chief constable wants the thin blue line to be a little darker.

Sir Peter Fahy has expressed frustration at the lack of ethnic diversity in Greater Manchester Police and other forces around the country.

He this week bravely called for changes to recruitment to favour black and ethnic-minority officers to redress the balance.

He has denied this is positive descrimination, rather “a wider interpretation of employment law and the issues which can be taken into consideration when making selection decisions.

“This means we could set certain criteria for a post which is aimed at engaging with particular communities and would allow police forces to employ the very best person to do that.”

Quite some headway has been made in tackling gender imbalances in the police but representation of ethnic minorities does indeed trail several years behind.

And there does indeed need to be greater diversity in the police.

The community as a whole should be represented in its guardians and by doing so breaks down the “them and us” attitudes that can prevail in under-represented communities.

The way to go about tackling the problems is key though. Anything that smacks of tokenism or simply selecting someone for a job by the colour of their skin rather than their abilities and qualifications is going to backfire.

I wish Sir Peter well on his mission through this social and political minefield.