Friday 17 February 2012

Press Release: Why it's time to close Operation Trident

17/2/2012 6.00am

Black Leaders condemn the launch of Trident “ anti gang unit” as a political stunt by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Three former high profile members of the Metropolitan Police Service
Operation Trident Independent Advisory Group have called on the existing
Group members to resign in protest at they describe as “the political hijacking
of Metropolitan Police Operational Command Unity Trident” by the Mayor
Boris Johnson.

Founded in 1999 Trident IAG is made up of members of London’s black
community and was established to exclusively tackle gun violence in black
communities. The IAG is the preeminent community police black consultative
forum in the capita and has been instrumental in helping to build community
trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police Service.

Lee Jasper founder member and former Chair of Trident IAG, Stafford Scott
Of Tottenham Broadwater Defence Campaign, set up in the wake of the
August 2012 disturbances and Viv Ahmun, former member of Boris Johnsons
Mayors Expert Advisory Group on youth violence, condemned the widening of
Tridents brief to tackle “ gang crime”.

Lee Jasper and former Policing Director for London and current Chair of the
London Race and Criminal Justice Consortium said:

“Boris Johnson has hijacked Operation Trident in naked political attempt to
co-opt London’s black community into his enforcement led war on gangs.
And yet under his leadership we have witnessed the worst deterioration of
police and black community relations seen in decades with massive increase
in stop and search and deaths in police custodies resulting in anger that
exploded onto the streets of London last summer.’
He added,
“ Central to the partnership ethos of Trident is the principle of policing by
consent. That principle is sacrosanct to maintaining community confidence
and support. The fact is that confidence and trust has been seriously eroded
by malign neglect of the Mayors Office and increasing levels of institutional
racism within the MPS. No one in London’s black community was properly
consulted about this changes and that includes the Trident IAG.
Trident and the MPS no longer enjoy that trust and confidence. This reality
can no longer be ignored.
Recently the Commissioner quite rightly stated that the MPS cannot deal with
this problem alone and highlighted the need for effective gang intervention
and diversion programmes. Not only does the Mayor have no real prevention
strategy, he has supported local authority public spending cuts that have led
to the sacking of thousands of youth workers and closing down of hundreds of
frontline youth projects. “
Youth violence is on the rise and the abysmal record of this mayor on an
issue, that was his supposed top political priority, has become a real issue.
Simply absorbing Trident into an all encompassing “ gang unit” constitutes a
real disaster for London. In this context the IAG cannot allow itself to be seen
to tacitly endorse a return to the discredited, aggressive and discriminatory
policing strategies of the past. It’s time the Mayor and MPS were forced to
take these matters seriously and I am calling on all members of the Trident
IAG to resign.”

Viv Ahmun commented:

“ Dealing with black youth violence and tackling gang culture in London has to
be done in genuine partnership with black communities and have a real focus
on prevention as well as enforcement.
This Mayor has taken three years to deliver a mentor scheme for a black boy
that has to date matched only 62 mentors. Ray Lewis, the Mayors lead on
Mentoring recently stated he was “disappointed” with the progress of the
scheme. That’s an understatement the black community is profoundly
At the same time I see local councils slashing funding to community
organisations at a grass roots level. These organisations working alongside
the police are the lifeblood of any effective police community partnership.
Boris Johnson has failed to balance his police led enforcement approach with
a multi agency intervention strategy that focuses on harm reduction,
prevention, diversion and rehabilitation.
This against a backdrop of rising tensions between black young people and
the police as a result of issues such as deaths in custody leads me to
conclude that its time for the IAG to stand down and resign forcing the Mayor
and the MPS to consult seriously or not at all. ’

Stafford Scott commented:

‘ Relations between black youth and the police are bad now and are about to
get a whole lot worse. The reality is you can’t police your way out of a ‘ gang
problem’. Deaths in police custody have enflamed police community tension. I
see this move as nothing more than a cynical election ploy by Boris.
 His anti gang policy is all about splintering doors and media opportunities.
We can’t allow Boris to assimilate the Trident IAG into giving a green light to
his heavy handed indiscriminate policy of mass arrests in the run up to the
Queens Jubilee and the Olympics.
 The Trident IAG have been ignored and marginalized and should resign. They
should all reconsider their positions and refuse to go along with this ill thought
out strategy that will intensify the mass criminalization of black youth in

For more information contact:

Lee Jasper 07984 181797
Viv Ahmun 07985 395166
Stafford Scott 07830 133076
(All three are available for press interviews)