This is the fifth year of reporting our gender pay gap for the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire police forces (BCH). Legislation requires each of the three forces to report the gender pay gap separately, but we work jointly as a tri-force to identify and address actions to improve equality, diversity and inclusion, in addition to local activity within each force.
The breakdown in gender demographics for police officers and police staff shows that we continue to have a higher proportion of female police staff to males. There has been an increase in officer numbers in 2020/21 which has seen a 9.34% increase in the number of female officers employed in the force. In comparison there has been a 6.58% increase in the number of male officers this reporting year. Although females still represent a lower proportion, this increase is a step in the right direction to bridge this gap.
Breakdown of workforce
Looking at the female and male split at each officer rank, we have seen a consistent increase in the percentage of female constables in the last three years. In 2018/19, 34% of all constables were female. This increased to 36% in 2019/20 and has again increased to 37.1% in this reporting year. Within the senior rank proportion (Chief Inspector and above) females make up 36.96% of the population.
2020-2021 officer headcount
2019-2020 officer headcount
Senior officer - promotion progression
At our Chief Officer levels our female Assistant Chief Constable (ACC Jacqueline Sebire) has remained in post. Chief Superintendent (Chief Supt Julie Henderson), Detective Chief Superintendent (Det C. Supt Dee Perkins), Detective Superintendents (Det Supt Zara Brown & Det Supt Tracey Harrison) and Superintendent (Supt Jacqueline Whittred) also form part of our senior leadership team. We are pleased to say that this continues the trend of being able to have a positive female representation at the most senior ranks within our force.
Promotions processes across our three collaborated forces are the same for male and female officers. In 2020/21 the tri-force promotions resulted in the following female promotions taking place:
There was no promotions process run for the Chief Superintendent rank in this year.
At this rank there was one female applicant out of a total of 18 Bedfordshire Police applicants. This represented 6.67% of those who applied in Bedfordshire Police. This female was not successful in the boards. Eight people, 53.33% of those who applied, did not provide their gender information and none of them were successful in the process.
There were five female applicants in the Chief Inspector process out of a total of 17 Bedfordshire applicants. One female applicant passed of which represented a third of those who passed the boards. In this process, 41.18% of the applicants did not provide their gender information, this represented seven candidates. Out of this group, one of them passed and was successful in the process.
The gender pay gap
The median (the mid-point in the range) gender pay gap for police staff and police officers combined is 12.49%. The mean (the whole range expressed as an average) gender pay gap is 6.25%.
Compared to 2019-2020 data, the mean gender pay gap has closed by 2.66% and the median gender pay gap has widened by 1.06%.
When we split out the data for staff and officers we can see that:
The median (the mid-point in the range) pay gap for police staff is 5.63% and for police officers it is 1.09%.
The mean (the whole range expressed as an average) pay gap for staff is 6.88% and for officers it is 3.52%.
Compared to the 2019/20 data, the staff mean gender pay gap has decreased by 2% and the median staff gender pay gap has also decreased by 1%.
The officer only mean gender pay gap has increased by 3.52% and the median gender pay gap has increased by 1.09%.
Employee quartiles (staff and officers combined)
In this year there are no significant changes in the quartiles breakdowns but they are starting to show a change in our profiling. The key changes are the small increases in the Q2, Q3 and Q4 profiles which are continuing to show an increase in female promotion at the middle and senior ranks. Q1 shows a 2.83% decrease in the female proportion, showing we have more female constables than male constables.
The bonus gender pay gap
As has been stated before there is not a traditional bonus scheme for the police officer ranks, but there is Home Office national guidance introduced in 2003 that allows forces to make one-off bonus payments of between £50 and £500 when an officer has carried out work of an outstandingly demanding, unpleasant or important nature.
For the Firearms Unit, there is also a national agreement for bonus payments to be made as an agreed retention incentive. Though paid as a bonus payment in previous years, these are now being paid as a temporary targeted variable payment which has been introduced since 2017. This scheme allows forces to recognise specialist skills and to assist with retaining officers in these types of roles. For the purpose of reporting, they are still included in the gender pay gap figures. The value of these payments in this unit remains higher and can be up to a maximum total of £2,000 per officer annually. The situation remains unchanged that the majority of firearm officers tend to be male, and this continues to affect the bonus gender pay gap data.
Police staff are eligible to receive honoraria payments for work that is over and above their normal duties and/or of particular importance or quality and payments require formal sign off to review the reason for such payments.
Staff and officers combined
The median bonus gender pay gap has now closed and is 0%.
The mean bonus gender pay gap has increased slightly from 18.28% in 19/20 to 19.48% in this reporting year.
Number of recipient
% of males and females who received a bonus
The officer bonus median pay gap has remained at 0% and the mean bonus officer pay gap has closed significantly from 63.08% in the last reporting year and is now 36.86%.
The staff honoraria median pay gap was 40% in 19/20 and is now in favour of females at -45.82% and the mean bonus staff pay gap was -5.3% in 19/20 and is now -35.21%, also in favour of females.
Summary and key activities
Bedfordshire Police continues with the work already established to achieve a diverse workforce but recognises that there is always more that can be done. Our, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) strategy sets out the force vision and objectives going forward and we have a dedicated team supporting this across our workforce. It is our intention to continue our ongoing dialogue to better understand and overcome our barriers and to achieve an equal and representative work force at all levels. Future activity that we will be focusing on in the forthcoming years in relation to better representation and fair pay activity include:
To continue understanding reasons for underrepresentation in certain units and how we can encourage and support more female officers in this teams. Particular areas continue to include specialisms such as the Dog and Firearms units. Female representation in these areas is a national issue and work continues to support an increase.
The Becoming - Career Ready pilot programme launched in April 2022. It is a development programme specifically aimed at females in underrepresented groups in both officer and staff roles from across Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire forces.
There is the continued recruitment focus on attracting and retaining a more diverse workforce including providing support to those applicants who are underrepresented. We have seen an increase in female officer recruitment, with 41.5% of the new officers being female. This is well above the national average of 32.3%.
Through better data collection we will also understand the composition of gender pay in relation to ethnicity and the nine protected characteristics.
Work continues to champion female development and progression including activity co-ordinated through the Bedfordshire Women’s Network including an annual conference in March each year to mark International Women’s Day. We also had representation at the British Association of Women in Policing conference and one of our female volunteers received a Volunteer of the Year Award in June 2022.