City of London Police staff say being screamed at and bullying “framed as ‘banter’” make for a culture of discrimination that they dare not speak out about.
The force commissioned workplace experts Inclusive Employers to look at inclusion and diversity in the force in June 2020.
The study found staff from Asian/Asian British backgrounds were the least likely to feel respected at work than other ethnic groups.
White male staff were most satisfied compared to other groups.
The report says staff feel the City of London Police culture of discrimination is an issue but are afraid to report it and they are expected to “fall in line or be cast out”.
It states: “The most common theme in all the listening exercises was a culture of overt and covert discrimination.
“This discrimination happened to staff who ‘didn’t fit’ because of their job role e.g. police staff, staff who worked part time, Black, Asian and non-white majority staff, women, staff with disabilities.
“Bullying and offensive comments or behaviour are framed as ‘banter’ and excused as just part of the job.
“Staff don’t feel able to raise issues about offensive or excluding behaviour for fear of being ignored or victimised.
“Several respondents had experienced or witnessed senior staff screaming or shouting at staff, making people cry, and other bullying behaviour.
The report adds that support from managers is varied and some teams are more welcoming and inclusive than others.
It continues: “There were no comments to suggest that managers were trained to build inclusive teams that incorporated a diverse range of perspectives and skills.
“Many respondents felt that in-groups or cliques within the force make it difficult for staff who don’t ‘fit’ to succeed.
“Several respondents shared examples of when high performing staff were essentially frozen out of the in-group and then left the force.
“When reported, investigations weren’t transparent or were not carried out according to policy, or staff who raised complaints were ‘targeted’ for raising the issue.”
Some staff said they feel senior staff only care about discrimination when it is in the news and they are sceptical of diversity and inclusion programmes being done as lip service.
Other comments were made about the City of London Police culture of discrimination, suggesting the force would rather pay off staff who make complaints and start tribunals rather than address the issues.
Chair of the City of London Police Federation Mike Reed said it is sad to read the comments made during the study.
He said the survey highlights the progress the force needs to make to become a better workplace.
He added: “The role of the federation is to support all, regardless of individual characteristics and we will continue to do so to the best of our ability.
“The force does have a journey that it is embarking on to make it an employer of choice for all.
“It has a new Commissioner designate who is keen to continue with the work to deliver a more inclusive and reflective workforce for the City of London. We will work with her to deliver this vision.”
A spokesperson from the City of London Police said the survey made uncomfortable reading and prompted the need to focus more making sure all staff feel valued.
They also said the force has launched a new equality and inclusion strategy and various groups and advisers to deliver and check progress.
They added: “Developing and sustaining a diverse workforce is a priority for the City of London Police, and we’re confident this new strategy will help us achieve this.
“We want to create an inclusive culture within our force, that promotes and values diversity, and where officers and staff feel respected, regardless of background or protected characteristics.”