London, Nov. 6 (ANI): The number black and minority officers hired by the Scotland's eight police forces has gone lower than ever, with just 18 people from ethnic minorities having been hired in 2009 against 2,000 white officers.The forces hired the same number of black or minority ethnic (BME) people in 2007-8, but then there were only just over 800 new recruits overall, The Scotsman reports.Experts worry that low recruitment among minorities will hinder police efforts to combat terrorism effectively."We should be seeing the proportion of BME officers rise, not drop. We really need BME officers, officers who pick up cultural and language things that others might miss when dealing with minority offenders," said Dilawer Singh, a retired Strathclyde police inspector."For example, some officers sometimes misunderstand the body language of South Asians they are interviewing. They might mistake a shake of the head, which might mean agreement, for disagreement," he added.
Senior officers want to recruit more Scots Muslims to help gather intelligence on Islamic extremists.
"The figures are surprising, given that police have been making genuine and visible efforts to recruit among minority communities. There are still issues affecting the view of the police among Muslims, such as stops at airports, that need to be addressed," Osama Saeed, of the Scottish Islamic Foundation, said.
Scotland's biggest force Strathclyde Police has already admitted that just 1.28 per cent of its officers were BME as of 31 March, 2009. That is down from 1.74 per cent a year before.
A Scottish government spokesman said recruitment was a matter for individual forces, but added: "We support the police service in its aim to ensure that our forces are fully representative of the communities they serve." (ANI)