This is from 1980 – a year before the explosive riots of 1981, though the same year as the riot in St Paul’s, Bristol. There were lots of young unemployed people to tempt with a career in either the police or the army.
But there was equally some resistance to being part of the state machine, as it was then viewed. As for black youth, they either didn’t want to join (because of the SUS laws and pressure from within the community not to ‘sell out’) or the police just didn’t take them on.
Black police officers were a very rare sight at this time – and ethnic minority representation within the Metropolitan Police was at scandalously low levels.