The Importance Of Diversity In The Australian Police

1574 Words 6 Pages
Criminologists have often criticised police for not reflecting society’s diversity in its staffing profile, but this is not really a significant issue as it does not impact on policing practices. Do you agree with this statement, why or why not?

Australia is a highly diverse country, that prides itself in being a place of acceptance and fairness. While that is correct for society, there is one place where diversity is lacking; the Australian police force. Consisting mainly of Anglo-Saxon, heterosexual males, the police has always been this way for a long period of time. But with the changing times, the police has been criticised for a lack of diversity in its staffing profile. With a small proportion of staff as women, or of an ethnic background,
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In 2003, the proportion of women made up “20.9% of all sworn police officers in Australia” (Boni, 2005 p. 2), and as of 2015, they make up “34% of the total staff in the Australian Federal Police”, excluding State police (Australian Federal Police, 2015). Even though, over time, the numbers of female staff in the police has grown, the police is still a male-dominated profession, with approximately a third of the force as men. This does not reflect the gender status of Australia, and in 2014, it was estimated that there were “11,692,500 males and 11,798,236 females” living in Australia (Australian Bureau of Statistics). Women and men have an almost equal population in Australia, therefore there should be a more equal spread of gender in the police force. Women can play a beneficial role, as they are more relatable to female victims of crime than a middle-aged male police officer, which can make these victims more uncomfortable or unwilling to report crimes to police or co-operate with the police as a result of the male-dominated force. Even with the benefits of women in the police force, the question still remains as to why there are so few women in the force. Research conducted by Byrne (2008, p. 14), suggests that a large proportion of both female and male recruits have some prejudicial beliefs regarding women in police. In a male-dominated profession, …show more content…
As the main population of the police force consists of caucasian people, there is fear among people of ethnic backgrounds that racism is rampant among the police. A study conducted by Murphy and Cherney (2010, p. 11) contains data to support the view that ethnic minorities are seriously more disappointed with police, and suggests that they are less likely to view the police force as procedurally fair, that they use distributive justice, to see the police as having legitimacy, and, therefore, would indicate that they would be less likely to co-operate with police. Some of the most at risk individuals are the youth of the ethnic minorities, who ‘grow up in Australia with a particularly negative relationship with authority figures’ (White, 2009). With the inclusion of the media adding more tension between the police and ethnic youth, by “identifying ‘racial’ background” (White, 2009) of this suspected of being involved in crime and criminal gangs, the need for police officers of ethnic diversity is apparent, in order to give young people of ethnic minority a better view of the police, and to give them a higher trust in the police force. Officers of ethnic diversity can have an effect on lowering the crime rate among groups of ethnic minority, as it lowers the already harsh stigma against the predominantly

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