Met Commissioner admits force ‘not free of discrimination, racism or bias’

The Canary

The Metropolitan Police commissioner has said she feels “very sorry” that trust among Black communities is so low, as she admitted her force “is not free of discrimination, racism or bias”.

Cressida Dick issued a statement as the force outlined plans for 40% of new recruits to be from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds (BAME) from 2022.

It comes as London mayor Sadiq Khan published an action plan to address concerns over the use of police powers affecting Black Londoners, including stop and search and the use of Tasers. It also comes after the mother of Stephen Lawrence argued “that there has been very little change” in the Metropolitan Police (MPS) since the death of her son.

Scrutiny

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. His 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.

The Met said the force is working with Khan on his plan and have immediately re-introduced the London residency requirement for most officers joining the force.

Trust is low

Dick said:

I recognise trust in the Met is still too low in some Black communities, as is their trust in many other institutions.

I feel very sorry about that. It is something I have worked to change and I commit now to stepping up that work further.

My top two operational priorities are reducing violence and increasing public confidence in the Met, particularly the confidence of Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities.

Actions are more important than words and, as I have said before, we can do more and we will.

The Met is not free of discrimination, racism or bias. I have always acknowledged that and do now again.

In the Met we have zero tolerance of racism.  My job is to continue to try to eliminate any such racism and discrimination, however it appears.

Baroness Lawrence

Not everyone agrees that Dick or the MPS have “zero tolerance of racism”. In a recent statement to the Undercover Policing Inquiry, baroness Doreen Lawrence – mother of the murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence – said that:

[Stephen’s] racist murderers… are still alive; not a single police officer was disciplined or sacked, rather they were promoted in their careers or are now enjoying their retirement; and many of those that spied upon Baroness Lawrence and her family have, to date, evaded proper scrutiny.

The statement continued:

The reality is that there has been very little change. What change there has been was forced upon the MPS. It has never welcomed it or embraced it. This year Ben Bowling, a professor of criminology at Kings College London, said British policing “remains institutionally racist”. He has accused the police of failing to deliver on promises to eradicate racism instead allowing “prejudice, thoughtlessness and racial stereotyping” to continue driving unequal treatment. Black and ethnic minority people are still over-policed and under-protected.

BLM

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

The MPS 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 she claimed UK policing is “entirely different”.

Bianca Williams
Team GB athlete Bianca Williams (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Disproportionate power

The MPS 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 by community monitoring groups to body-worn video footage.

The mayor said he recognised the progress made by the MPS since the force was described as “institutionally racist” in William Macpherson’s 1999 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.

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. We should learn from our history so we should remember that Ms Dick was the officer who had overall responsibility for those who executed of Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Station and that Mr Starmer was the DPP who refused to take action against them.

      1. The Met has “zero tolerance of racism”??? (Dick)
        “London’s police are the best in the world”??? (Khan)
        Wow, is it possible to be more complacent? Well I suppose it is. Ryan Colaço, Bianca Williams (and thousands more like these) may well disagree with these two statements.

        Khan wants a year long review of Stop & Search….that surely isn’t long enough? I think they should have a 13 year Public Inquiry, like the “Inquiry into Hyponatraemia-related Deaths”. This will ensure that no head of the Met ever has to answer why Stop & Search is still being used for the next 13 years (or more).

    2. Emailed to all involved dated 14.11.2020 on Taxi mess
      https://www.thecanary.co/
      link to post 14.11.2020
      Morning All staff of Govt + Lancashire Crime COM
      I represent some resident that asked me to investigate a police problem for them
      (off no right policing help given?)
      NONE of you have responded to me by -emails-or phone calls on this matter so I have moved the problem up a step To give you a chance again to reply and respond to the residents + Taxi firm involved in this matter of a crime being committed. And not investigated prosily right at the time of the crim happening when reported to Police Officer???
      Just to inform you all involved this has been emailed plus been posted on our local area websites for the people/resident of Nelson to read involved in this problem not being address by Govt people. Just to inform you all involved this has been emailed plus been posted on our local area websites for the people/resident of Nelson to read involved in this problem
      Met Commissioner admits force ‘not free of discrimination, racism or bias’s
      WELL Ms Cressida Dick Can you tell me WHY? You have not responded to me or the people involved in a crime I asked your help in by several emails on a possible racist matter with residents of mixed Migrant backgrounds in Lancashire /Pendle Nelson area. The incident involved damages to a taxi firms’ cars plus other residents’ cars including racist words No follow up by your Police Officer or any arrests made by them including no right help given out at the crime scene WHY?
      The local are Pendle Council Leader has not responded to the same email s sent you Ms Dicks nor as Lancashire Police forces has of yet why nor has our local are Tory M.P. Andrew Stephenson/Ms Priiti Patel Minister/Pendle leader Mr Mohammed Iqbal / also our Crime Com Mr Grunshaw that also was sent the same emails on this matter as was the Prime Minister Boris /No,10 for help None of you have responded as of yet WHY? NONE have contacted the firm or resident of NELSON Lancashire why?? You are all public servants to us all No matter what colour we are also for the mishandling of the problem by police Officers.
      What I wish to know now who is going to pay for the damaged cars that runs into £??? No finale figure yet X?? amount of car still being repaired after the crime. Also, Ms Dick plus all Govt members including local area Cllr involved in this area of Lancashire /Pendle/NELSON area Who is going to reimburse the Taxi firm for loss of earnings while car is off the road being repaired?
      So again, I will ask all involved in this matter with Lancashire/Pendle/ Nelson residents + local MIXED migrant people that have been let down badly here I believe Ms Dicks by our police force, Time to get this mess sorted out and communication started up with the residents/Taxi firm owner to bring this problem to a fast end now, remember the crime was committed full stop its the handling of the crime at fault here by police Officers at the time that also needs addressing now plus the bill for loss of earning plus damaged cars as well owned by both residents + Taxi firm.
      Therefore will you all reply to me that was asked to look into this matter for the residents of Nelson Lances not being addressed by local area Cllr or Police force right this is no way to keep the trust of police Officer if they are failing to look after the residents be them White or Black Migrants people they all have the same right within the U.K. areas no matter where they live Ms Dicks.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.