Met Police’s £366m makeover fails to acknowledge Institutional racism say Racial Justice bodies
Thirty of London’s most established and respected race campaigning bodies, research institutions, lawyers and parliamentary peers, have written an open letter to the recently appointed Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley, expressing serious concerns about his strategy for dealing with the institutional racism highlighted in the Casey review.
They have challenged the nature, drive and direction of the recently announced £366 million two year scheme, launched last week under the banner of ‘A New Met for London’, suggesting that it completely fails ‘to acknowledge the institutional nature of racism within the Met’.
Expansion the presence without addressing root causes will have adverse effects
The letter challenged the idea that ‘expanding the presence of neighbourhood ‘Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs)’. Increasing the presence and powers of any institution without addressing its fundamental issues as ‘clearly not [being] the solution’ adding that it ‘will only have adverse effects’.
Commissioner accused of being in denial about the institutional nature of racism within the force
The letter effectively charged the Commissioner with being in denial about the root issues contained in Baroness Casey’s Review into the Metropolitan Police published in March 2023, which found the institution to be ‘institutionally racist, misogynistic and homophobic.’ The review called for a ‘fundamental reset’ on the use of ‘stop and search’, which the report noted was disproportionately being used on blacks and minority communities in London – who were often left traumatised and humiliated by their experience.
Disconnect between the police and the communities it serves
The letter points out the ‘disconnect’ between the Met and the communities which it is supposed to be serving and that it is the Met’s responsibility ‘to ensure we all feel safe in our interactions with our police services before any expansion of police presence.’
The letter states:
‘…it is regrettable that you have persisted in offering an apology to our communities without accepting Casey’s core finding that the Metropolitan Police Service is institutionally racist. This was a missed opportunity for the Met to signal that it intends to do things differently, and acknowledge where the wrongdoing is rooted. The continued refusal to acknowledge the institutional nature of racism within the Met highlights the disconnect with the levels of hurt, anger and intergenerational trauma felt by our communities, and Black and minority ethnic Met Officers, because of the way they have been exposed to the Service’
The letter went on to address the issue of a much needed ‘culture change’ within the Met ‘ to ‘embed the values of policing by consent’ which it argued ‘must be achieved before any further police expansion, given that trust is a precursor to ‘policing by consent’. Crucially, the letter pointed out:
‘Putting resources and efforts into fixing foundations ‘by expanding policing equipment, tools and tactics, while the racialised systems and structures underpinning the Met still remain firmly intact, will only further entrench disproportionalities in how Black and minority ethnic Londoners are policed’