Critically examine the status of equal opportunities within the police service with reference to one or more of the following: gender, race, sexual orientation. .
Equal opportunities is not only a non-racist and non-sexist philosophy, it is a non-sexual orientation notion. In these three dimensions, race, gender and sexual orientation will be considered.
The conclusion of this essay is that from the three dimensions described, it would appear that despite British Society acknowledging these problems, British policing is, and will remain, a long way behind the search for the Holy Grail of equality, both within law enforcement and within the broader social life. Women, minority ethnic group members, and those of a different sexual orientation continue to be equal but separate: supported by the law but unable to obtain true and complete participation.
Equal opportunities legislation has been in existence in the United Kingdom for some time. This was aimed at improving the wage and job opportunities gap between male and female in the work place. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) 1972, the Sex Discrimination Act (SDA) 1975 and the Race Relations Act 1975 was framed in an effort to encourage employers to adhere to a code of practice in hiring and retention of employees, especially female and the ethnic minorities. The legislation sets out to prevent overt discrimination whilst at the same time ensuring that the majority do not perceive an unfair advantage accrues to the minority.
It was also for equality that the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the Commission for Racial equality (CRE) was formed to examine complaints of discrimination, mediate and, very occasionally, prosecute (Leishman, Loveday and Savage, 2000).
However there have been a recent spate of cases which throw this into question, giving the appearance that British police forces are not an equal opportunities employers themselves.