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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.
If this is the case we must look more carefully at the British police to see whether this inequality is really present. There are three basic types of discrimination that can prevent the practice of equal opportunities; those are on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation.
Under-representation of ethnic officers within British policing has always been a critical problem, which the Home Office and chief police officers have acknowledged but miserably failed to address.
"It is recognised that the police force is seen by many as not offering equal opportunities to minority groups. It is for this reason an equal apportioned recruitment drive was launched in order to boost the number of police in the Metropolitan Police Force from the ethnic minorities at the same time as reducing the numbers of unemployed. The initiative is aimed at the jobless in Haringey who are to be offered a 10-week training course just to prepare for the Metropolitan Police entrance test requirements (Flanagan, 1996: 2)."
There have been many studies that have indicated that there is discrimination in the police force leading to the compromising of equal opportunities, this was proven to be in existence concerning race when thirteen different police forces were studied (Flanagan, 1996).
Equal opportunities can be seen to escalate in importance as the higher up a hierarchy we look, the more apparent it becomes. Through closer examination of the rank structure it can reflect the true nature of its hypocrisy and the way in which promotion prospects and ethnic recruitment will be affected.
This makes the case of Chief Inspector Martin Harding who was the most senior black officer in the Greater Manchester Police and went on to claim racial discrimination. He was claiming that his career was held back whilst four other white colleagues all received promotion. He qualified before these colleagues and had undergone the assessments for promotion in 1992, waiting for an opportunity ever since then, it was after this that there appeared to be discrimination due to his race (Marks, 1996).
It is interesting to note that it was shortly after this he was promoted. When we consider equal opportunities it is also interesting to note he was claiming this not only on the grounds of race, but also on the grounds of sexual discrimination, alleging there to have been positive discrimination towards female colleagues. Despite his subsequent promotion he continued with the case so that he could make better sense of the inconsistencies regarding equal opportunities. He also went on to cite that he believed the reason he did get the promotion was directly due to his equal opportunities action.
The police force denied his claims, yet in man
Quotes talked about in this paper
- conferences Police Federation members argued that it was not appropriate to integrate women within the service for example: "Let us keep the ladies in their proper place. Pay them the same and give the same conditions but let them do the women's work and relieve us of it. (Mr Fairfield, Warwickshire Police Federation Conference debate 1976)" ...
- "sexual orientation" in their Equal Opportunities policy and despite the existence of the LGPA there is still considerable doubt about openly declaring ...
- 'held back', issue 500, Electronic Telegraph MILLWARD, D. STEELE, J. (2000), WPC's battle with Met ends in '£1m victory',
Names referenced in this research paper
Sarah Locker, Flanagan, Leishman, Martin Harding, Sergeant Hall, Stanko, Millward, Carol James, D. STEELE, Loveday, Mr Fairfield, Lundman, Holdaway, Bibliography Gordon, J.,
Organizations mentioned in this report
Metropolitan Police, Equal Opportunities Commission, British police, Greater Manchester Police, conferences Police Federation, Warwickshire Police Federation Conference, EPA, British Society, SDA, LGPA, Home Office, CRE, Oxford University, High Court, Norwich Crown Court, EOC,
Locations included in this term paper
London, United Kingdom, England, Wales, Newburn, Clarendon Press, BURKE, New York, Glasgow, Scotland, Britain,
Health Conditions included in this essay
Companies included in this report
Pearson Education Limited,
Keywords mentioned in this report
police, equal opportunities, police forces, the police, sexual orientation, police officers, Metropolitan Police, gay and lesbian, police service, Equal Opportunities Commission, gender, police authority, policing, Metropolitan Police Force, chief police officers, Greater Manchester Police, Warwickshire Police, Equal Pay Act, equal but separate, electronic telegraph, ethnic minorities, ethnic groups, race discrimination, recruitment, racial discrimination, homosexual, annual conference, Race Relations Act, gender and crime, lesbian and gay, minority ethnic, male and female, labour force, gender issue, ethnic minority, millward, Racial equality, gay community, Oxford University Press, minority groups, industrial tribunal, London, lesbian community, sexually explicit, liaison officer, Chief Inspector, Sussex Constabulary, Holy Grail, Norfolk Constabulary, harassment,