'I Want Black People To Trust The Met Police,' Says Sadiq Khan - Rugby and Daventry Radio Station Midlands UK            

‘I Want Black People To Trust The Met Police,’ Says Sadiq Khan

Written by on November 13, 2020

Article Published on Friday November 13, 2020 9:00 PM by

‘I Want Black People To Trust The Met Police,’ Says Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan:

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has appealed to Black Londoners to have confidence in his new action plan designed to rebuild trust with the Metropolitan Police.

Unveiled on Friday, the initiative addresses concerns over the use of police powers, including stop and search and the deployment of Taser guns. 

The Met’s relationship with Black communities was fraught long before the 1999 Macpherson report branded the force “institutionally racist”.

When these worries were raised with Khan, the mayor said he “gets it” and referenced his own life experiences of being routinely stopped and searched in London during his youth and crossing the road when he saw police officers.

“I understand scepticism, of course I do. I’m not naive. But it’s really important we get across that the police service, City Hall, Black Londoners are all on the same side,” he told HuffPost UK.

“You look at the numbers which don’t lie – you’re four times more likely to be stopped and searched if you’re a Black Londoner than a white one. There a number of differences with this action plan versus previous reviews and reports is that: this isn’t going to simply sit on shelves gathering dust like the Lammy Review, Windrush Review, Dame McGregor Smith review.

“This has buy-in from City Hall, police and Black communities with actions that start today. From today, you can only become a Met police officer if you live in London – that’s a difference. We’re also investing a huge amount in relation to involving Black Londoners when it comes to recruitment, training and scrutiny of the police service.

Khan has called for an immediate review of police road traffic stops in the capital and has asked the Met to launch a year-long pilot scheme looking at samples to identify any disproportionality relating to ethnicity.

The mayor’s plan also aims to ensure officers are not relying on the smell of cannabis alone when deciding to stop and search a person, with such incidents subjected to “London-wide scrutiny panels”.

Figures show Black people are almost four times more likely to be stopped and searched in the street than white people in London.

They are also six times more likely to be stopped in their vehicles, according to City Hall.

Speaking outside Brixton police station, in south London, after a foot patrol of the area on Friday afternoon, Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said the force is working with Khan and agrees with about 98% of his plan.

She announced an immediate return of a London residency requirement for most new recruits, meaning they will have to have lived in the capital for three of the past six years.

“I think it’s good for London and Londoners that the police service reflects and understands London,” she said.

The commissioner said she felt “very sorry” that trust of the police among Black communities is so low and admitted: “We need to do more to show people that we have zero tolerance of racism.”

“There are over 40,000 people in the Metropolitan Police Service and I have always said we are not free of racism, we are not free of bias or discrimination,” she said.

Black Lives Matter protests swept the capital following the death of George Floyd in the US on May 25.

The Met faced controversy and accusations of racial profiling following a series of incidents filmed and shared online, including the vehicle stop of Team GB athlete Bianca Williams and her Portuguese sprinter boyfriend Ricardo Dos Santos.

Five officers are being investigated for misconduct after they were pulled over while travelling with their baby in west London in July.

Dick described 46-year-old Floyd’s death after a policeman kneeled on his neck in Minneapolis, Minnesota as “utterly awful” but said UK policing is “entirely different”.

“I know there is more for us to do to gain the confidence of all of our communities.

“I want all of our communities to trust the Met, I want the Met to be the most trusted police service in the world,” she said. This comes after Dick denied that her force is institutionally racist during an interview with HuffPost UK in June.

“But sometimes things go wrong and we do, as you will see, where people have been thoroughly negligent, if they have been, or if this is an event where somebody has been badly injured because policing involves using force, then the Independent Office for Police Conduct will do their investigation, they will come to their conclusions and you see that officers, for example, I’m not talking about the videos we have seen this summer, but officers, for example, that display racism are sacked. 

“That’s what we do and quite right to.”

The Met said new recruits will be taught the history of the local area they will police and will learn the importance of “cultural awareness” during stop and search training, including “scenario-based role play”.

Scotland Yard has also reinstated access to body-worn video footage for community monitoring groups. 

The mayor said he recognised the progress made by the Met since the force was described as “institutionally racist” in Sir William Macpherson’s report following an inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence.

However, Khan added: “More must be done, and will be done through this action plan, properly to recognise and address the impact that some police tactics used disproportionately on Black people is having.

“This starts with involving communities and ensuring they have proper oversight and scrutiny of stop and search, the use of Tasers and the use of force, as well as in the training of new police officers so they can better understand the trauma that the disproportionate use of police powers can have on Black Londoners.”

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‘I Want Black People To Trust The Met Police,’ Says Sadiq Khan
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