• Saturday, June 22, 2024

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Met Police faces criticism for ignoring racism accusation

A coalition of 26 racial justice organisations has criticised the Met police for refusing to accept the core finding of the Casey review

Photo: iStock

By: Pramod Thomas

A group of 26 racial justice organisations has expressed disapproval of the Metropolitan police for their refusal to acknowledge the central conclusion of the Casey review, which identifies the force as institutionally racist, reported The Guardian.

In an open letter addressed to Met commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, they criticised the recently launched New Met for London plan, stating that it represents a “missed opportunity” for the force to demonstrate significant transformation and take responsibility for their past mistakes and shortcomings.

Groups such as Inquest, StopWatch, Just for Kids Law, the Traveller Movement, and individuals such as Simon Woolley, the former chief executive of Operation Black Vote, have signed the letter which was coordinated by the Runnymede Trust.

The Casey review found the Met institutionally racist, sexist and homophobic and in need of radical reform.

The new policing plan for London launched by the Met focuses on community crime-fighting, culture change, and fixing its foundation. The force also committed to better deployment of officers, and to give them the training, equipment and tools they need to cut crime.

“The continued refusal to acknowledge the institutional nature of racism within the Met, alongside proposed plans for further expansion of the scale, practices, and tools it currently employs, will only further entrench disproportionalities in how black and minority ethnic Londoners are policed,” the open letter said.

The letter highlights a recent investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) into the death of a black man in police custody. Additionally, it mentions another incident that went viral on social media, where a black woman was arrested and detained by Met officers in Croydon in front of her young son.

She was falsely accused of not paying her bus fare. These events are seen as part of a broader pattern of ‘deep-seated failures’.

The letter demanded an equalities impact assessment regarding the utilization of databases, predictive policing algorithms, and surveillance technologies, including the gang violence matrix and facial recognition systems.

It urged for directing funds towards evidence-based strategies that address the underlying factors contributing to crime.

“We are at an absolute crisis point with regards to how black and minority ethnic communities are policed and there is a failure to offer an appropriate, crisis-level response. Our communities face punitive and punishing policing that has for decades stripped away confidence and consent,” Dr Shabna Begum, the interim co-chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

“Despite publishing an 80-page plan for reform, these proposals fail to inspire confidence in the feasibility of what feels like yet another series of promises, nor do they set out how the Met can be held accountable in any defined way.”

Begum expressed her deep ‘disappointment’ with the New Met for London plan, stating that it lacks a fresh and practical direction for the future.

“The commissioner and senior officers recently met with the Runnymede Trust and some signatories of this letter to discuss their concerns. We absolutely welcome further engagement with them. As we have set out in the plan they are responding to, we are determined to do this with communities, particularly those whose confidence in us is low as described,” a Met spokesperson told The Guardian.

“We’re determined to make the Met anti-racist, and indeed anti-discrimination in any form. We must transform the organisation, its systems, processes and culture to achieve this. We understand the concerns about our tactics and the disproportionate impact these have on black, Asian and minority ethnic Londoners.”

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