Will employing more BAME officers to the MET help relations?

Police Commissioner Cressida Dick recently stated that she would like to have more BAME officers working for the Metropolitan Police, and that in fact she would like 40% of new recruits to be from a BAME background.

So, would this help matters?

With statistics flying around recently about black people being more likely to be  stopped and fined for breaking COVID-19 lockdowns, with increased anger in  regards to black men being disproportionately stopped and searched, and with  high-profile cases involving black celebrities such as Bianca Williams and Wretch  32, her proposal looks like a simple solution.

Let me first explain the situations regarding Bianca Williams and Wretch 32, for  those who are not familiar with the stories.

Bianca Williams is an accomplished British sprinter who has medaled in the  Commonwealth Games. Bianca had been on the way home with her husband and  baby son, when the police pulled her over outside her door and proceeded to  handcuff her. This was filmed and caused outrage among the black community.

The officers were accused of racial profiling and being overly rough on Bianca and her husband. There are conversations about them being stopped often by police, which if substantiated would relate to racial profiling.

In the case of Wretch 32, five officers raided his house as part of a drug operation,  during which Millard Scott, his father, was shot with a taser whilst on the stairs and  the 62 year old man was seen falling down the stairs unconscious.

The officers left without pressing any charges and later Wretch 32 claimed that the  officers did not even search his home for any drugs.

With pressure building on the MET, Cressida Dick then announced that she does  not feel that the police force is racist.

Cressida proudly announced on TV that there are 5,000 BAME officers  serving in the Metropolitan Police, which she stated was the greatest number on any force in the UK. That’s around 15% of the total force, which is rather incredible, in my opinion.

So, back to the original question. Will employing more BAME officers improve  relations with the community?

Well, most of the newspapers seem to have insinuated that this in-depth look at the  Metropolitan police has stemmed from the George Floyd death, so it’s only fair we  compare them both.

In Minneapolis there are 800 police officers and although the percentage of  black officers is just over 9%, if we were to include all BAME officers the  percentage grows to over 20%.

What you need to take into account is that even with over 20% of BAME officers in  Minneapolis, black people still feel as though they are treated unfairly and the death of George Floyd still occurred.

It’s also worth pointing out that half of the officers directly involved in George Floyd’s death were what we in the UK would consider as being of BAME descent.

That would show to me that throwing more non-white officers at the problem isn’t  going to change that much in regards to the relations with the police or how the  black population would be treated.

What will improve relations between the police and the general public?

This is where everything gets very opinionated.

In my opinion, there is very little that can be done with this generation. We have all been indoctrinated in certain beliefs. This is shown in examples such as the fact that British people still call densely populated areas of BAME residents ‘ghettos’, or that black people are seen to be the biggest perpetrators of knife crimes despite a 2018 study showing that there was very little disproportion between ethnicities in relation to knife crime.

I will chat about knife crime later.

These myths about black people, and others like them, perpetuate what is an already serious issue – “systemic racism”. That too, I would like to discuss later.

Knife crime isn’t linked to black people, it’s linked to poverty. It isn’t stopped by  having more police of BAME on the streets and it would certainly not improve if

BAME officers are still using “stop and search” policies on their own. In fact, it may even escalate to the extent that we have a situation where BAME officers start considering themselves “blue” and viewing BAME members of the public as enemies.

I’m not saying that there isn’t a place for stop and search, but it needs to be  performed in a more geographic manner. If there’s a knife crime in an area, then  that area should be targeted for “stop and search” and that should include every  demographic, like what occur with speed cameras in roadways where there are frequent accidents. People will be able to accept that it is warranted under those  circumstances.

But when it comes to race relations, that needs to start now, with the media. Until we stop racist newspapers from highlighting the assumed or distorted inadequacies of BAME people nothing will change. Just today, I read about the Daily Mail  questioning the contradiction of Marcus Rashford buying an additional home,  against his stance against children going hungry – as if the two are associated!

Until newspapers stop attempting to inflame segregation or demeaning anything  positive a black person does, we will get no closer to understanding. Let me be  clear, this is not directed at any particular race, we are all guilty, black and white,  of being indoctrinated by the information we are fed.

Rant over!

Back to the relationship with the police and BAME communities. This isn’t going to  be solved overnight. This may take generations. But it can only occur if we start now, with the reeducation of our children.

So, I don’t agree that the MET should be looking at recruiting 40% of their new recruits from the BAME community. I think they should rather focus on recruiting good people in the police force and weeding out those who are having a detrimental effect on  community relations.

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