Saturday, 18 March 2017

UK Black Groups Launch Unprecedented Legal Action Against Racism in the Workplace







On the day of a national UK march against racism and in an unprecedented legal challenge, a number of high profile, national British African, Caribbean and Asian organisations have just filed a historic legal precedent in the Supreme Court to protect the employment rights of Black, Asian and minority ethnic professionals such as police officers, doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, solicitors, barristers, judges and magistrates.  

Over 100,000 BME professionals may be affected by the ruling.

In a historic case due to be heard before the UK Supreme Court on 4th May, the Metropolitan Police  Service are fighting to prevent an police officer, challenging her dismissal, by claiming that police disciplinary tribunals are protected by Judicial immunity. 

Police Misconduct tribunals are chaired by a lawyer appointed according to judicial appointment criteria. A decision by the Supreme Court is expected in September.

In addition, the UK Ministry of Justice (MOJ) is relying on the same argument, to argue that the three British Judges, currently suing the MOJ for race, sex discrimination and victimization, cannot bring their cases against the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) and that every decision taken by nominated Judges investigating misconduct is exempt from the Equality Act.  

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D Peter Herbert O.B.E., former Vice Chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, a Crown Court Recorder, and Immigration Judge, comments as Chair of Society of Black Lawyers,  

“This Amicus Curiae brief is a historic legal application summarising the institutional racism faced by BME professionals in a range of professional organisations including the police, medical, and legal profession. The action by the Metropolitan Police Service, supported by the Ministry of Justice would seek to restrict the principle of equality before the law and access to justice, undermining the Lawrence Inquiry recommendations in the process. The Supreme Court has to carefully examine the wider socio-economic consequences of their ruling in the case of P.” 
  
Ismet Rawat, President, of the Association of Muslim Lawyers said, 

“If the Supreme Court decides to extend Judicial Immunity to disciplinary tribunals within the police force there is a reasonable likelihood that it will seriously undermine the ability of many BME professionals to challenge discrimination of all forms. This will be a retrograde step at a time of increasing racism generally, Islamophobia in particular and sexism in post-Brexit UK and the post-Trump world.  


It is somewhat ironic that the highest court of the land, which is now aware of the absence of diversity in the Judiciary must itself decide on a case that goes to the heart of who is truly able to enjoy equality before the law.  BME organisations will be watching with interest.” 

Lee Jasper, Co Chair of BARAC UK and former Policing Director for London and former Equalities lead for the London Criminal Justice Board (2000-2008) said,  
  
“
This case marks the beginning of a post Brexit legal civil rights strategy that a number of national black organizations are actively considering one of whose important aims is to substantially reduce racism in the workplace. Black professionals are catching hell in the workplace and for some who suffer racism, equality law as its currently stands offers them little to no protection.  


Black professionals are important and serve as role models for a black community suffering close to 50% youth unemployment. When our young people see that Black professionals suffer unfair race discrimination, they become disenchanted, angry and alienated from society.   

If post Brexit anti discriminatory laws are now to determined here in the UK, then we say that our aim should be no less than to substantively reduce race discrimination in the workplace in a matter of years, not decades.  

We find in our experience, that wherever 'discretion' is allowed in employment grievance and disciplinary processes, there you will find discrimination. With Black graduate unemployment rising remorselessly now's the time to act. We want to establish the primacy of UK equalities legislation in all aspect of employment law, particularly the area of work place race complaints.”   

Viv Ahmun of the social movement Blaksox stated,  

“This is not some theoretical legal case restricted to so called BME professionals but will affect the aspirations and lives of all BME communities for generations to come. Our role models and professional leaders are crucially important to lift our whole community. It is pointless for the Government to back the review into the disproportionate BME prison population being conducted by David Lammy M.P. on the one hand whilst with the other it seeks to remove equality for those that seek to break through the racial barriers within British society.”

Simon Wooley, the Director of Operation Black Vote commented, 
  
“We must keep up the fight: This landmark case strikes at everything we care about; justice, equality and accountability. Any backsliding undermines all three, and in effect tells Black communities that we care little for your hard won civil rights. 

At a time when Parliament itself is failing to represent the diversity of BME communities and only 22% of race and religious discrimination cases are successful in the Employment 
Tribunal it is a disgrace that the Metropolitan Police and Justice 
Department are seeking to restrict that further by hiding behind 
Judicial immunity.”
This action is also supported by: 



For further information please contact: -

Info@societyofblacklawyers.co.uk; 
Info@blaksox.com; 

D Peter Herbert O.B.E. :  07973 794 946 
Viv Ahmun : Blaksox: 07985 395 166; 
Lee Jasper : 07984 181797; 

Ismet Rawat : 07852 146056 



Wednesday, 11 January 2017

#SarahReed #SayHerName #BlackLivesMatter @Justice4SLReed

Sarah Reed died in Holloway Prison on the 11th January 2016.
One Year On We Remember Her

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Monday, 19 December 2016

Armed Police Siege in Lambeth: Why We're Heading For Disaster.


Lambeth Police Service were involved in an 11 hours gun stand of in Dumbarton Road Lambeth on Sunday 19th December, just yards away from the Estate where Nathaniel Brophy was shot by police over a dispute about rent. Nathaniel was shot by police three times, once a in the back, after being seen brandishing a BB gun in August 2015.


That non-fatal shooting caused furore in the local community as the Lambeth Police Superintendent Richard Wood had failed to ensure to activate long-standing critical incident, community reassurance protocols, developed in partnership with communities over many years.

These were strategies and procedures that were developed as a result of many tragedies that have occurred in Lambeth over the last 40 years. These were the same strategies that were ditched in 2011 that led to the family of Mark Duggan and the entire Tottenham community being ignored and marginalised by the Metropolitan Police Service with such devastating and tragic consequences. 

Incidents such as deaths in custody, racial murders, police brutality, racism and corruption, these strategies were all designed to avoid aggressive, racist policing and correct community misinformation that can lead to civil disorder in the aftermath of such events.

In the aftermath of the Brophy shooting, we saw what happened to the Mark Duggan family occur again as it became apparent that all important community/police protocols were ignored.  

At this latest incident, one one from the community was contacted for advice by the Police or offered an all important scrutiny role to provide community reassurance.  

In relation to the Brophy incident, last year, an interim statement from IPCC Commissioner was issued in the immediate aftermath by Jennifer Izekor said:

“I would like to reassure the community in Clapham and the wider public that the IPCC will be conducting a thorough and comprehensive investigation into the events surrounding the shooting. Our investigators have already gathered statements from officers involved, carried out house-to-house enquiries, trawled the local area for CCTV and will now being reviewing statements and video footage to establish the events of that day.

“The IPCC has engaged with key community members and is updating them on the progress of the investigation. We have also engaged with the injured man’s family and will continue to do so.”

That’s the last we heard anything about this case. There are no updates on the IPCC web site, despite the fact that the community demanded of  Lambeth Police and the IPCC that the Brophy incident be used as a ‘learning moment’ so as to ensure, that the potentially serious mistakes that were made could be avoided in the future.  

Such is the disdain and contempt with which the Police and the IPCC views us, that both have failed to feedback any of the promised learning that they were so keen testify, was so important to them.

Despite their statements of commitment to ensuring community reassurance engagement and policies are implemented, all effective community communications in Lambeth have broken down.

This catastrophic failure, repeated across London, comes as a result of the closure of London’s borough based Police Consultative Group’s in 2015. As a result, decades of people’s blood, sweet and tears, tragic experiences fashioned into sensible pragmatic policies, demanded and fought for by communities, are now being routinely ignored by politicians and the police. 

It’s a ticking time bomb and a scandal. If we believe in the principle of police by consent and working in partnership then were this must be evidenced on the ground, otherwise we are headed for a repeat of 2011. 

This most recent armed policing stand off in Lambeth, once again sent alarm bells running and so I made some enquiries to see if the lessons explored with the non fatal shooting of Brophy and the commitments given by the IPCC had been followed up and implemented at this incident. 

The answer was very disappointing. Not a single person or community rep was contacted by Lambeth police to provide advice and support, despite promises made in the aftermath of Duggan and Brophy shootings to improve community communications.  

This degree of marginalization of both community and statutory partners by the police in Lambeth is quite profound. 

I asked the new body that replaced the elected community accountable police consultative groups, the local unelected, meets behind closed doors with confidential minutes, Lambeth Safer Neighborhood Board  and asked if they had they been contacted in relation to this ‘armed police stand off. 

I spoke with the Chair of Lambeth Safer Neighborhood Board Nick Mason OBE, this was his response. 

So there we have it, we have dozens of armed police in one of the most sensitive policing borough’s in London, doing what they please, how they like, with no accountability to Londoners.

I decided to speak to people in the local area where the gun siege took place. All said they had no idea what was going on and received no information from the police. They were informed about the incident by the press. 

This is entirely unacceptable and Lambeth Police, Lambeth Council and the Mayor must answer the very serious charge, that the failure to maintain a culture of real police accountability to communities is a threat to public order and the maintence of the Queens peace. 



In 2011 riots people tragically died. Getting this right can save peoples lives. 

These community reassurance critical incident policies have been informed by decades of painful experience, millions of hours of community conversations and lots of tears. 

This is far to important to be ignored until the fire next time.