Open letter to the West Midlands Police Force, Crown Prosecution Services and Independent Office for Police Conduct regarding this video https://youtu.be/e9TOUaCmavQ.
We, the executive and members of BAME HUB UK NETWORK’S (CIC), wish to express our extreme outrage at the recent footage that has been made public of a young, fragile thirteen-year-old black minor being mauled, manhandled, dragged through the streets of Wolverhampton and physically overwhelmed by approximately FIVE adult police officers. It is undeniable that the methods of restraint were excessively inappropriate and have caused irreparable psychological, mental and emotional trauma to this young child, which would last him a lifetime, not to mention the physical bruising and scarring which has also obviously been inflicted. As a BAME community, we are daily and consistently appalled by the blatant systemic racism that rears its ugly head in the inside criminal justice system and Police Service and is rationalised, justified, and systematically excused. We demand a full enquiry and investigation into this travesty of justice as a matter of urgency.
As Britons, we are absolutely sick and tired of the bias, institutional racism, and stereotyping within the police force, and the worst is that nothing changes. The institutionalised racism, investigative shortfalls, massive mistakes, omissions and delay tactics have recently been exposed about the Stephen Lawrence case. It is tragic to see that there has been absolutely no change within the echelons of the Police Services, the Crown Prosecution Services and IOPC since 1993. The cases of po5Simeon Francis, Rashan Charles, Edson Da Costa, Mark Duggan, Zahid Mubarek and the more recent cases of Richard Okorogheye, Christopher Kapessa, to name just a few.
We have read a report of young black boys fighting on the streets of London and a police officer shouted out of the police vehicle that they should call them when they have finished stabbing each other. These flippant remarks blatantly made in public by police in-service paid with our “black” tax payments prove that black lives really don’t matter here in the UK. It also proves that black life is cheap, and absolutely no justice for lost black lives. We rage against these preconceptions and feel totally disempowered, disenfranchised and rendered impotent by this so-called democracy.
However, what can we expect here in the UK, when a deeply flawed study, led by Dr Tony Sewell, the chair of the Commission on Race and Ethnic disparities, found that there was evidence that “overt prejudice” exists in our society, but the same report ruled that there was no proof that the racism was structural or systemic? Once again, we need to express our disbelief and lack of confidence in the IOPC who recently has excused a police officer for telling a black man that he was stopped because he was black. There have been numerous cases of blatant racism reported to the IOPC over the decades since the Stephen Lawrence case, but the racism is still integrally perpetuated daily within the police force against officers within the police force who are ethnic minorities; how much more against the public. As a society, if the powers that be are in strong denial that racism even exists, then the problem can never be challenged, addressed and changed, and truly democratic society will be an elusive dream.
Our society desperately requires a holistic approach of diversity education and training, revamping and remodelling of our education system and the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission that will publicly and transparently address the injustices of the past- we have moved way past the tokenism of debates and reports about these deeply entrenched racist issues.
One of the BAME HUB UK NETWORK’S executive committee has spoken to young people, especially during the recruitment of police activities for this summer and was shocked to discover that the young people were extremely hesitant to join the police summer projects. They shared with her that they don’t trust the police at all. Therefore, they can’t join the police force; the police are perceived as their enemies, they believe that the police have nothing good to offer to black boys. What we have noted is that the first approach is to build trust between black boys and police. According to black boys, when the police stopped them, they both (police and young people) have a negative attitude towards each other because they hate each other. So black boys and girls would not expect anything positive forthcoming from the police as an institution and vice versa. They do not believe that a police officer could ever be an inspirational role model or that this would be a vocational profession they would pursue because the police have actively sown seeds of hatred and malice because of how they are treated.
We need to encourage many black people to join the police so that our young people can start seeing role models in the police force, and also once the police have had their mindset altered, they should facilitate workshops with our black youth to start to begin building a collaborative culture of trust which could lead to confidence in the police service.
We were not even surprised that the crime recently investigated of a young black male reported to ‘driving whilst black’ still is a thing in many police forces in the UK. To really remove this requires systemic change; the racist rot is so deeply entrenched,’ The force agreed with this and a further recommendation which has led to the officer receiving additional training in equality, diversity and inclusion.’ This is pathetic injustice! One officer trained?
The IOPC Regional Director Graham Beesley said in a feeble response: ‘This incident rightly raised concerns about public confidence in policing and not least from the black community.’To ensure that the police are held accountable for their actions, it was important to establish all of the circumstances and facts surrounding this incident.
”We examined the stop and search and found that there was room for improvement in some of the interactions with the man, who was justified in querying why he was stopped was on the grounds of his race.”
The IOPC is currently working on national learning recommendations concerning stop and search. This looks at how traffic stops are recorded and how the police can avoid using intelligence in a discriminatory way. During the investigation, the IOPC interviewed the complainant and both officers involved.
It also received statements from other police officers regarding local intelligence, reviewed stop and search records and an intelligence report completed at the time.
The time for change is now, the time for redress is now, and the time for reform is now; unless we as a society can acknowledge that deeply entrenched systemic and institutional racism exists, we will never be able to address it and embed the change and reform our society, and especially our police so desperately need.
We are looking forward to living in a culturally embracing society and tolerant of all colours and creeds.
Yours in Hope
On behalf of the Executive Committee and Members of BAME HUB UK NETWORK(CIC)