National Black Police Association demand race inquiry at Met


I have written many articles on the increasing nature of Metropolitan Police Service racism in recent times. Today devastating news - another three police officers have been referred to the IPCC for allegedly racially abusing George Asare, a young Ghanaian shot and then tasered in Lewisham recently.

This brings to a total of 6 police officers currently being investigated for racism. The official and anecdotal evidence is that racism is spiralling dangerously out of control as a resurgent and unrestrained and institutional racism returns with a vengeance.

The National Black Police Association Charles Critchlow is so concerned that he has called for a public scrutiny by the Home affairs Select Committee. In a letter to the chair he expresses “…serious concern that Racism in the Police has gone unchecked as part of failure of Government and Police Leadership ...”.

I think this is right if we are to avoid further disturbances in the future.

The Commissioner has publically restated his commitment to tackling racism within the MPS pointing out that isolated incidents of racism do not a institutionally racist organisation make.

The problem with this analysis that only in the minds of the senior management board at Scotland Yard are these latest incidents seen in stupefying isolation.

The reality is that over the last four years London’s black communities have lost all confidence in the MPS. 300% increase in the use of the abusive power of stop and search has alienated huge section of our community.

Suspicious deaths in custody have increase in the same period by 100%.

The cases of Sean Rigg, Babar Ahmed, Commander Ali Dizaei, Smiley Culture, Mark Duggan, George Asare, phone hacking, the allegations that the police investigation into racist murder of Stephen Lawrence was derailed by police corruption, the brutal treatment of the United Friends and Family demonstration in October, the policing of the riots and subsequent mass arrest and criminalisation of London black youth have all contributed to a real haemorrhaging of trust and confidence in the police service.

The brutal and awful reality for a City like London result is that the MPS no longer enjoys the trust of many Black Londoners.

Add to this the most recent case where a 21 year old black man Mauro Demetre recorded police officer calling him a “n....r” and it becomes abundantly clear that we are at a crisis point.

None of these issues can be seen in isolation a criticism of the MPS made initially by the McPherson report that criticised the MPS for refusing to see the bigger picture in seeking to tackle racism.

The Mayor who is responsible for the MPS after the abolition of the Metropolitan Police Authority chose not to maintain the whole race equality policy monitoring infrastructure that the MPA had established as a priority. The announcement of the abolishment on the MPA in the summer of 2010 meant that its power and influence on these matters disappeared as the Mayor took increasing control up to its official recent abolition.

The signs were always there as Boris in the forward of the now largely forgotten and discredited Race and Faith report looking at the lack of promotion of black officers. Boris Johnson wrote, “I welcome Cindy Butts’ finding that the Met is not institutionally racist…” As a result the MPS and the Mayor determined that this issue was no longer a priority.

Over the last few years the MPS has surrounded itself with black community advisers that are frightened of their own shadow leaving them surrounded by people who are the virtual equivalent of nodding dogs.

Where are the public statements of concern or condemnation for the Scotland Yard Independent Advisory Group and Trident IAG? In my view both groups are now being used to legitimise police racism. They need to find the political courage to do the right thing and resign.

The Commissioner needs to understand the depth and seriousness of this crisis at the moment he is seeking to downplay and dismiss these concerns. That’s a catastrophic error and he needs to wake up to that fact and seek to restructure that relationship by using credible experience leadership. This is urgent because as he knows he has a whole slew of similarly appalling cases of police racism and brutality currently in court or under investigation and when they appear in the public domain he and the new Mayor better have a clear and credible response.

Lee Jasper

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