Positive Action Recruitment Team

What is Positive Action?

Positive action is a strategy which seeks to level the playing field for under represented groups whilst maintaining standards for recruitment and promotion. It is a concept that has its origins in a Home Office initiative entitled 'Dismantling Barriers: To reflect the community we serve' which was published in 1999. The aim of the initiative is to achieve a representative police service that reflects the community it serves. The initiative was superseded five years later by the 'Breaking Through Action Plan' which sought to maintain the focus on the process of achieving a representative service.


Achieving a representative police service is vital for reasons of legitimacy and public confidence. Positive action seeks to achieve this aim by redressing the balance of disadvantage of under represented groups. It encourages the offer of support to those under represented groups seeking employment, lateral development and promotion within an organisation but stipulates that selection is based purely on the required skills and abilities of the candidate for the role.

It is a tool available to organisations seeking to increase the diversity of employees and has been available in policing for several years.

Karen Cummings

Positive action' means the steps that an employer can take to encourage people from under-represented groups to apply for employment, promotion or lateral development.This can include things such as assisting with identifying skills and any developmental areas, application assistance, interview preparation etc.

The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination on the basis of "protected characteristics"


Employers can take positive action if they think that people who share a particular characteristic suffer a disadvantage or if their participation in an activity is disproportionately low. Positive action provisions enable public sector organisations to take proportionate steps to help people overcome disadvantages and 'level the playing field' to achieve representation.

A representative police service is vital for policing legitimacy and public confidence. It supports increased community intelligence and more effective community engagement to fight crime.

The Positive Action Recruitment Team can be contacted via email at Positive.Action.Team@merseyside.pnn.police.uk

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