Monday, 23 April 2012

Seize The Time: 21st May, featuring John Carlos, Doreen Lawrence & Janet Alder.

"How can you ask someone to live in the world and not have something to say about injustice." John Carlos

For further details about this event please email:

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Revelation calls MPS Commissioner’s commitment to rooting out discrimination into question - Lee Jasper exclusive

Bernard Hogan-Howe

MPS Commissioner’s commitment to rooting out discrimination called into question after reports that he reinstated ‘ racist’ officer.

The commitment of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service to tackling racism is being called into question, as sources within the MPS provided evidence that he had previously reinstated a police officer accused of racism.

There is already widespread disenchantment from Met police officers who are desperate to challenge the racism of their colleagues but who doubt the commitment of senior officers, including the Commissioner to take real action.

MPS Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe, while he was an Assistant Commissioner with the MPS, overturned a decision to sack a police traffic officer (who had been reported by a fellow officer) for racially abusing a black man whilst on traffic patrol in London.

It is said that having been overtaken by a black man with dreadlocks the officer forced the man to stop before delivering a volley of racist abuse. The man was not arrested or charged with any offence. A fellow officer in the police car at the time was so shocked by the severity of the abuse that he reported the incident to his senior officers

At a subsequent internal disciplinary hearing the officer was found guilty and it was recommended that he be sacked with immediate effect. The officer appealed against the decision and that appeal was then heard by the then Assistant Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe. He overturned that decision citing the fact that although the officer had some 15 years in the job he had not had any ‘ race relations’ training.

With the Commissioner having responded to recent cases highlighting the racist behavior of his officers by setting out his total commitment to opposing racism, this case will call into question that commitment. Reported in the Guardian, the Commissioner made public his commitment to tackling racism within the police service.

He stated:

"I will not stand for any racism or racists."
"We have a duty to challenge or report any behaviour by colleagues which is less than the high standard demanded by the service and Londoners themselves," he said. "You cannot avoid that duty. Nor can I."

That commitment must now be called into question as a result of what appears to be his personal decision to overturn the decision taken by fellow officers to sack the PC concerned.

Questions need to be asked about how many MPS officers found guilty of racism through the MPS disciplinary process have been subsequently reinstated?

Further there must be full disclosure of how many times similar decisions were personally taken by Commissioner Howe whilst employed at the MPS and as Chief Constable for Merseyside?

With the MPS in the grip of a ‘race crisis’ this new evidence will seriously call into question the Commissioner’s personal and professional commitment to tackle racism in the MPS.
With the trust and confidence of London communities rocked by recent revelations and a now growing crisis of confidence of officers within the Met the situation is becoming critical.

This is just one of a series of cases not yet in the public domain that will emerge over the coming weeks, that is bound to further damage the beleaguered reputation of the MPS with Londoners. 

Lee Jasper

Monday, 9 April 2012

Race and Policing: Why Mayor of London Boris Johnson has to go.

Police search black youth
(photo: Guardian)

Having had over 30 years experience dealing with the issue of race and policing I speak with some authority on this subject. The parlous state of police black community relations is the worst I have ever known it and that is not just my view. Every single black commentator of note, has of late, pointed to this disastrous state of affairs. The responsibility for this lies with the Labour and Conservative parties, both of whom failed to recognise the importance of maintaining pressure on the police to fully implement the Stephen Lawrence Macpherson report recommendations. 

The latest race crisis facing the MPS is profound and deeply disturbing. It represents the most significant political challenge facing London today.

Most of us would have read with horror the growing number of race cases in the media that have placed this issue on the top of the political agenda. The inconvenient truth is that there are many more cases that are at least as bad as these not yet in the public domain because of legal or other considerations.

One particularly horrendous case, involves a young black policeman who endured a racist nightmare whilst off duty at the hands of his ‘colleagues’.

These cases will emerge over the course of the next few months. This will continue to escalate the anxiety and concern. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan Howe should be concerned: I predict that this could well lead to his sacking and being the fall guy for his masters’ political failures.

The National Black Police Association has called for the Prime Minister to ‘get a grip ‘of the issue of racism in policing. The Metropolitan Black Police Association is equally as critical: calling for the reinstatement of the Home Office Stephen Lawrence Steering Group that focused on monitoring the recommendations of the seminal McPherson Report.

I want to stress that given my past associations, as far as I am concerned this is not a party political issue. It was the Labour Government that first made the mistake of beginning the dismantling of the Stephen Lawrence monitoring framework under former Home Secretary Charles Clarke.

He had responded to political pressure from Chief Constables, the right wing press and all were engaged in a rearguard action to reject the label ‘institutional racism.’  Not only did I criticise this decision at the time, but the man who agreed to establish the Stephen Lawrence public inquiry, former Home Secretary Jack Straw, has subsequently admitted that on reflection he believes this was a serious mistake.

Of course the attack on the concept of institutional racism was facilitated by one of their own then picked up by Prime Minister David Cameron. Equalities Human Rights Commission Chair Sir Trevor Phillips, whose legacy will be remembered for his catastrophic agreement to abolish the Commission for Race Equality, was the poster boy for those arguing there was an over emphasis on race issues. . In a speech in January 2009 Phillips stated that the term ‘institutional racism’ levelled against the Metropolitan Police by the Macpherson Report into Stephen Lawrence's death was no longer appropriate.

"The use of the term was incendiary," he said. "It rocked the foundations of the police service and caused widespread anguish in government.”

No doubt Trevor will be elevated to the House of Lords as payment for his services to racism and keeping his mouth shut whilst the Government and the Mayor drive a coach and horses through the Equality Act and decimate the Commissions funding. The Phillips legacy to race relations will be to leave the country in a worse state than he found it.

We have a growing tradition within black communities of a posse of Black Anglo Saxons led by Trevor that ruthlessly seek personal influence and career progression by saying those things that the right wing would love to say, but lack the guts too do so for fear of being branded racist. So they employ people who look like us to fly their racist kites providing cover and credibility for their eager racism.

Rarely in our history have there been so many black people who are so willing, so eager to betray their communities for celebrity and mammon.

What Phillips comments unleashed was a virulent and sustained attack on the reality of multiculturalism in general and race equality policies specifically. The resultant political environment led to politicians, local authorities and police forces all over the country scaling back their policy priorities regarding race issues.

Whilst in office as Kens Policing Director I kept all the pressure I could on the MPS: insisting that despite Clarke and Phillips they retained their focus on implementing the McPherson report recommendations. With a progressive and fantastically racially diverse Metropolitan Police Authority and a progressive Mayor we made reasonable progress but in my mind this was always going to be a 20-year programme of reform.

The forthcoming Mayoral elections provide an opportunity to hold former Mayor Boris Johnson to account for his epic failures on race issues particularly on policing.

In 2008 during the post election euphoria, Boris and the London Tories were infected by their own racist propaganda. The racist hysterical media smear campaign manufactured by the Boris Johnson campaign led by Lynton Crosby, prosecuted by Andrew Gilligan and printed by the London Evening Standard, resulted in Boris, in an act of great hubris determining that Ken Livingstone’s strong focus on race equality was nothing more than ‘ethnic group pandering’ a left wing idiocy that was both divisive and counterproductive.

The result was that Johnson dismantled or simply disregarded racism as a real issue for London. Boris Johnson’s most dangerous delusion was that racism was simply the ‘grievance politics’ of blacks with ‘huge chips on their shoulders’ or ‘special group pleading’.

In one of the most diverse cities in the world this was a critical and profoundly political error that cost London and the entire country dear. Boris’s ignorance and naivety led him to believe that simply focusing on the policing of youth violence would be enough to win over a black community that was rocked by the rising levels of youth violence.  His failure and betrayal of the black community on this issue alone should be enough to see him lose the Mayoral election.

His sole preventative measure of note was his mentoring scheme for black boys. This has been a miserable and desperate failure, described as such even by his personal supporters. This and his over reliance on the use of stop and search and his cavalier attitude to black men dying in police custody should result in him losing every single black and progressive white vote in London.

The fact is that institutional racism is the cultural default setting for British institutions and the reason for this calamitous state of affairs is the rampant return of institutional racism. Without significant and constant political pressure to reform, the Policing Empire strikes back. What this abrogation of political responsibility born of ideological prejudice has produced is a black community that now perceives itself as subject to an unremitting wall of racism, by an army of occupation that now characterises the MPS policing of parts of London. Such an acute failure to both appreciate and understand the fraught history of relations of black communities and accept the reality of institutional racism within the service is an error of catastrophic proportions. 

Neither the current Mayor, nor the Commissioner, Prime Minister or the Home Secretary believe that the MPS nor British policing in general is in any way systemically racist preferring the ‘few rotten apples’ analysis.

When considered in this light, Boris’s failure to recognise rising black community concerns about the eye watering rise of stop and search rates that he specifically requested and the huge rise in suspicious deaths of black men in police custody, such malign neglect is simply criminal. We should remember that Boris had plenty of warning of rising tensions both in private and public prior to the August riots. As such, Boris’s failure on race can be seen as the most serious and ultimately tragic political error of his term of office.

Boris’s blind spot on racism indirectly resulted in people losing their lives in London during the riots and elsewhere and shops and businesses being burnt to the ground as Boris, dangerously oblivious to these issues sauntered on with his 6th form debating style of chummy bravado. The fact is Boris was and remains out of touch with multicultural London and therefore out of touch with reality. To adopt a famous quote: ‘If a man is tired of multicultural London, he is tired of life itself.’

Boris had no credible political adviser or advice from the black community. That’s because after the Ray Lewis debacle (ironically Lewis became a victim of the climate of racism Boris’s campaign had engendered) he decided that he would not have any black advisor at all, despite being urged to do so. He felt that it was unnecessary as our community could be bought off cheaply and to a certain extent, at least for the first 2 years, he was right. However, his failure to do so would ultimately cost London and the country dear.

Boris Johnson and Ray Lewis
Boris Johnson and Ray Lewis. (Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The real improvements in police and back community relations made since the publication of the Macpherson report have been squandered by the former Labour and current Tory led governments and a Mayor who shares this cross party ideological blind spot on race.  

In a multicultural city like London such wilful ignorance is fatal. The Commissioner and the incoming Mayor have to accept that the MPS remains institutionally racist and reinstate all the focus on restoring trust and confidence as a top priority.

It is a fact that, had Ken been in office, I would have met with the Duggan family, co-ordinated the IPCC response and organised public meetings with community leaders from Tottenham to provide reassurance and support. I believe that such an intervention would have averted the riots. This is exactly what we did and more when Roger Sylvester died in Tottenham after being arrested. We even insisted that the MPA paid the Sylvester’s legal expenses.

Mark Duggan

 The Mayoral elections in London are an important opportunity to debate these issues. Mayoral candidates should be ruthlessly pressed as to where they stand on the issue of London’s multiculturality, racism and racial disadvantage. 

Such is the depth of the current crisis that I believe that if another critical ‘policing incident’ occurs on the streets then London and the country could see further widespread unrest. The word on the street is not ‘if’ but when.

This Coalition Government and the former Mayor Boris Johnson’s ideological blind spot on race issues in general has become hugely problematic in relation to policing.

Their expressed belief is that institutional racism is no longer an issue for the MPS. In the last four years in London Boris failed to address this issue and that trend was accelerated during the last two years following the general election.

This has contributed to an unrestrained and now resurgent culture of institutional racism in the MPS. There are many more cases that are not yet in the public domain.

In the last four years in London stop and search rates have increased by over 300%. Deaths in custody rates have increased by 100% and suspicious deaths of black men by 120%. There are less black senior officers today than there were in 2007. Add to this the phone hacking scandal, the shootings of Mark Duggan and George Asare and the allegations that the investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence was derailed by a corrupt officer; and the whole issue of the riots and any fool can see why things as bad as they are .

As a result the relationship between black communities and the Metropolitan Police Service is at crisis point. Not content with destroying the Macpherson legacy this Mayor is drastically cutting the finding to the borough Police Consultative Group's that were created after the 1980's disturbances as recommended by Lord Scarman. It is beyond belief that so much damage could have been done in four years. 

Whilst sections of the right wing press and the Tories feel that they can usefully ignore these issues as a means of securing short-term electoral support from some Londoners, this has and will come at enormous cost to Londoners in the long term. London’s demography demands that tackling racism is and will always remain a priority.

When taken in the context of the naked political attempt by Boris through his useless deputy Kit Malthouse to scale back the MPS inquiry into phone hacking, the revolving door at the Commissioner’s Office, institutional racism, the failure to maintain a focus on tackling racism, all lead us to the inescapable reality of the emerging and deeply damaging culture of political interference in policing.

Those who disagree with this should maybe find another city where political ignorance and personal ambition does not come at such enormous cost: like Henley. I can almost guarantee that if we repeat the arcane stupidity of party ideology coming at the expense of multicultural common sense, London will descend into a racially divided quagmire of conflict and violence. That process has already begun and has been amplified and refracted through the lens of austerity. We need a Mayor who can act in the longer term interests of London, not one who cannot see past his own career ambitions and ideological prejudice.

I don’t want my children fighting the battles of the 1980’s. I do not want them to suffer the kind of racial disadvantage that reduces them to third class citizens in a first class city. I don’t want to see relations and conflict with the police and the black community militarised .I don’t want to see a descent into ghettos of inner city inequality brought on by cuts, surrounded by wealthy gated communities with police officers policing the symptoms of poverty and racism and criminalising both black and poor white communities.

The ultimate logic of my position is that the failed Mayor Boris Johnson has to go, for the reasons above and the need to send a clear message to Prime Minister Cameron that social and economic injustice of the cuts is unacceptable and that in multicultural London, race equality is ignored at his peril.

Any new Mayor should:

  1. Accept that institutional racism is the core problem. (This is the key question all candidates should be asked in the run up to the Mayoral elections).

  1. The new incoming Mayor must commit to supporting the call on Government for a public inquiry into all suspicious deaths in custody as called for by the victims support group, the United Friends and Family Campaign. If they refuse the new incoming Mayor should hold a London inquiry.  

  1. The new Mayor must re-establish all the MPA race equality policy boards within the Mayors Office including public consultative forums that were all abolished when Boris Johnson took control of the MPS and abolished the Metropolitan Police Authority. 

  1. Introduce a robust annually published race equality-policing plan that targets racism and disproportionality with clear targets for black police recruitment, promotion and a reduction in all areas of racial disproportionality regarding policing.

  1. To restore confidence, the new elected Mayor should establish an accountable and diverse Policing Board for London with genuine experienced and credible members. 

  1. Establish an independent London Police Monitoring Group that can monitor and challenge police abuses of power, support informed community consultation and promote good practise in building effective police community relations in London.

  1. That the new Mayor who has the power to appoint the Policing Commissioner for London allows for democratic elections as a means of improving public confidence.

Lee Jasper

Friday, 6 April 2012

Black Londoners to hold largest Mayoral hustings

Black Londoners to hold largest Mayoral hustings [2.7391304347826]

In what is likely to be one of the largest Mayoral Hustings during this often acrimonious contest a coalition of Black leaders including church and business leaders, activists, faith group's others will be hosting a rally/hustings to help decide who will be next Mayor for London. Given that BME communities across the capital make up a third of all Londoners if our collective vote could be a deciding factor.

With issues ranging from transport, policing, young people, the socio economic regeneration of London alongside a discussion on health, wellbeing and planning permission this event is earmarked to be a watershed for Black Britain to decide who best matches their aspirations for London’s future.

Help us make this an event that not only demonstrates that our communities demand a say in the governance of our capital, but also right across the country.

We need all of you to be there to send an unequivocal message that we demand to be listened to; we demand greater social and racial justice.

Register here to reserve your place

Date: Thursday 12th April 2012
Address: The Gourmet Theatre, Ruach Minsitries, 197-199 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7HY
Doors open: 6.00pm

Racism in Police Force spirals dangerously out of control

Image Detail
Police 'apprehend' a man in London. (photo by workerspower uk)

I have written many articles on the increasing nature of Metropolitan Police Service racism in recent times. Today devastating news: another three police officers have been referred to the IPCC for allegedly racially abusing George Asare, a young Ghanaian, first tasered and then, apparently inexplicably shot, in Lewisham South London recently.

This makes a total of 10 cases of racism referred to the IPCC and 5 police officers who are suspended and are currently being investigated for racism. The official and anecdotal evidence is that racism is spiralling dangerously out of control as resurgent and unrestrained institutional racism returns with a vengeance.

Charles Crichlow
The National Black Police Association's Charles Crichlow is so concerned that he has called for a public scrutiny by the Home affairs Select Committee. In a letter to the chair he expresses “serious concern that Racism in the Police has gone unchecked as part of failure of Government and Police Leadership...”

I think this is right if we are to avoid further disturbances in the future the Commissioner and the former Mayor need to stop denying the reality of institutional racism.

The Commissioner has publically restated his commitment to tackling racism within the MPS, pointing out that isolated incidents of racism do not make an institutionally racist organisation.

The problem with this analysis is that it is only in the minds of the senior management board at Scotland Yard, that these latest incidents are seen in stupefying isolation.

The reality is that over the last four years London’s black communities have lost all confidence in the MPS.

A 300% increase in the use of the abusive power of poor quality stop and search has alienated huge sections of our community.

Suspicious deaths in custody have increased in the same period by 100%.

The cases of Sean Rigg, Babar Ahmed, Commander Ali Dizaei, Smiley Culture, Mark Duggan, George Asare, phone hacking, the allegations that the police investigation into the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence was derailed by police corruption, the brutal treatment of the United Friends and Family demonstration in October, the policing of the riots and subsequent mass arrest and criminalisation of London black youth:  all these issues have contributed to a real haemorrhaging of trust and confidence in the police service.

This brutal and awful reality of this terrible state of affairs for a multicultural city like London is the simple truth that the MPS no longer enjoys the trust of many Black Londoners.

Add to this the most recent cases of a 21 year old black man Mauro Demetrio who recorded a police officer calling him a “nigger”, coming on top of all the other issues raised here, it becomes abundantly clear that we are at a crisis point.

None of these issues can be seen in isolation. A criticism of the MPS, made initially by the McPherson report, criticised the MPS for refusing to see the bigger picture in seeking to tackle racism.

The Mayor of London, who is responsible for the MPS after the abolition of the Metropolitan Police Authority, chose not to maintain the whole race equality policy monitoring infrastructure that the MPA had established as a priority.

The announcement of the abolishment of the MPA in the summer of 2010 meant that its’ power and influence on these matters disappeared as the Mayor took increasing control leading up to its official recent abolition.

The signs were always there.  In the foreword of the now largely forgotten and discredited Race and Faith report, after looking at the lack of promotion of black officers, Boris Johnson wrote, “I welcome Cindy Butts’ finding that the Met is not institutionally racist…” The fact was that the Cindy Butts report had concluded no such thing. 

The Mayor in his eagerness to dismiss race simply added that sentence to the report without the agreement or consent of the inquiry panel.

Let’s not forget that Bob Purkiss a member of the initial inquiry team resigned, citing political interference from the Mayor’s Office, who had insisted that the report came to this conclusion despite those responsible refusing to do so. 

As a result the MPS and the Mayor determined that this issue was no longer a priority.

Over the last few years the MPS has surrounded itself with black community advisers that are frightened of their own shadow, leaving them surrounded by people who are the virtual equivalent of nodding dogs.

Where are the public statements of concern or condemnation for the Scotland Yard Independent Advisory Group and Trident IAG? In my view both groups are now being used to legitimise police racism. They need to find the political courage to do the right thing and resign.

Boris’s ideological opposition to race equality led him to prematurely dismiss the reality of institutional racism in the MPS, it blinded him to a growing crisis of confidence and when the crunch came and riots exploded in the streets of the capital he was chasing Bullwinkle in the Rocky Mountains.

Whilst London burned, Boris was asked by a journalist if he intends to return to London. His response and I quote: "I am not going to come back at the moment because I have complete confidence in the police…"
The Commissioner and the new Mayor need to understand the depth and seriousness of this crisis. At the moment they are seeking to downplay and dismiss these concerns.  That is a catastrophic error and they need to wake up to that fact and seek to restructure that relationship by using credible and experienced leadership.

This is urgent because, as he knows, he has a whole slew of similarly appalling cases of police racism and brutality currently in court or under investigation.  

When they appear in the public domain he and the new Mayor better have a clear and credible response.

Lee Jasper

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Occupy Faith UK: Peaceful meeting at Royal Courts of Justice this Saturday

OHM@Jutsice Occupy Faith Launch Event
Royal Courts of Justice
Strand London WC2A 2LL
Underground Station
Underground Station  Temple.


Saturday 7th April at 12.00 - Location: Royal Courts of Justice


All that is required to Occupy is people and places. Across the globe and in the UK the Occupy movement pursues socially progressive solutions to human needs and social justice for the 99% who are the nations least wealthy. We should unite in challenging the system, because if we are complacent, we are complicit in allowing injustice to happen.

Faith groups have been sources of moral reasoning an
d beautiful narrative for thousands of years, own property across the nation, and represent 45 million UK citizens. 

In order for the Occupy movement to claim to represent the 99% there needs to be a constructive dialogue with local communities, including faith groups, to develop an understanding of their concerns and seek their assistance in providing solutions. The only way for faith groups to continue to claim to be a source of moral authority, is to open its doors and encourage their members to engage in the good work that Occupy has been doing in highlighting economic and social injustices.

Occupy Faith UK are dedicated to combining faith cultures and resistance cultures in support of the Occupy movement to make a joint stand against social & economic injustice, class culture, racism and oppression. 

We are planning to gather as a peaceful crowd outside the Royal Courts of Justice at 12.00 on Saturday the 7th April and will have a few speakers and performers, discussing issues of justice in the UK, after which we will chant ohm together. The effect of a mass chant can be pleasant in itself as a meditation, in a healing spirit we will be trying to bring justice to life. This is to show the benefits of coming together as a community. After the chant we hope to have a few musicians and participate in a Scriptural Reasoning on justice.

We will also be revealing more about our plans to hold a Pilgrimage for Justice walk from St Paul's to Canterbury Cathedral over the coming summer and this is open to everyone to join us. We are planning to undertake this event from the 7th till the 23rd of June, stopping off at important locations and developing discussions and general assemblies to feed into a conference in Canterbury.  It will take the support of many people to make this work, and we hope to generate some here. 

Come and join us, invite your friends, publicise this event via your networks and remember - Everyone is welcome!

Black Economics Conference 2012

For further information go to:

Accelerate Commercial & Economic Growth (ACE)
Saturday, 12 May, 2012

Venue: The Dominion Centre, 9 The Broadway, High Road, Woodgreen, London, N22 6DS

Aim of the Conference:
- To Celebrate Black Entrepreneurship while Inspiring & Motivating Others including Young People
- To Note the Commercial Value of the Black Pound, and where it is going
- Solutions to Accelerate Economic Progress with Business Options & Methods
This event will be a positive day with - Speakers/Debates, Exhibition/Market Place, Teen Workshops,
Business Options for Wealth and a Fashion Show

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Boris Johnson & MPS: black communities at crisis point

During the tenure of Boris Johnson and his erstwhile Deputy Kit Malthouse relations between London’s black communities and the Metropolitan Police Service have reached crisis point.

Each day that tension increases as the former Mayor and current Commissioner struggle to find an adequate political and professional response to the huge issues that now face London.

The case of Mauro Demetrio, a 21 yr old black man who recorded the most foul and repugnant racist abuse reminiscent of the 1950’s Deep South Jim Crow racism of Birmingham Alabama, has created a profound sense of anger in black communities.

Image Detail
Birmingham, Alabama desegregation campaign. (Photo: Amistad Digital Resource)

Luckily this brave young man recorded abuse that has anecdotally become increasingly routine over the last four years. The general consensus among black communities is that, had he not had the foresight to record the conversation, the outcome would have been a dismissed police complaint and a charge for some trumped up crime.

More worryingly is the fact that neither the Crown Prosecution Service nor the MPS saw fit to begin criminal or disciplinary proceedings against the officer concerned PC Alex MacFarlane. 

Why for example was not every single officer concerned with this case suspended and interviewed? Any that were aware of what happened are as guilty as MacFarlane. As far as the CPS is concerned the initial decision not to take action was disgraceful and immediate action should be taken to put disciplinary charges to those who were involved in this ludicrous decision.

The damage to confidence is palpable. How can black people trust that the police are committed to tackling racism when all the evidence points to rampant institutional racism?  We have witnessed coordinated misinformation campaigns smearing the victims of deaths in custody, police and press corruption, black men being tasered and shot, racially abused and black children assaulted?

All this, in the context of little or no justice and no political or professional accountability.

Now we hear of the case of a 15yr old black boy who is said to have been assaulted by PC Joe Harington in the custody area of an east London police station, the very same one that the arrested Mauro Demetrio was taken to.

This reveals a pervasive culture of institutional racism that has been unrestrained and given a green light by Boris Johnson. His personal failure to recognise and accept in policy terms the reality of multicultural London has been tragic.

He has failed to tackle gun and knife crime, failed to deliver his much vaunted Mayoral Fund, failed to implement his proposals on a mentoring scheme over the last 2 years, despite lots of warnings that relations with the police were in total meltdown. Stop and search rates have increased by 300% over the last four years and suspicious deaths in custody by a 100%.

Boris Johnson’s abysmal failure to recognise what was in plain sight, meant he did not recognise the potential significance of the shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham last year despite being warned time and time again. The riots were entirely preventable and swift and effective intervention by the Mayors’ Office and the MPS was essential. Both made a critical series of errors that demonstrated just how out of touch Boris, Kit and the Commissioner were.

Image Detail
Photo: The Guardian
Their collective failures to understand, be in touch with and maintain effective communication with London’s black community, along with the Mayors ideological blind spot on race, resulted in him dismissing as politically motivated those critical voices, like mine, who predicted the riot some months earlier.

That critical error by the Mayor to invest time and resources in addressing black communities’ concerns allowed anger to build. Unbelievably, once the announcement that the Metropolitan Police Authority was being disbanded, all of the policy monitoring infrastructure related to the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry recommendations were abolished.

There was a clear absence of political pressure on the MPS to tackle racism. Johnson went so far as to say at the publication of the controversial Race and Faith Report that the MPS was no longer ‘institutionally racist’.

I put these points to Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse at one of his recent community consultations: his view was that he did not recognise my analysis of the situation. He told me that police community relations were nowhere near as bad as I described. He advised me to speak to the Black Police Association who would tell me the ‘good things we are doing’. I did speak with them and they agreed with me that relations were in a parlous state.

Commissioner Hogan Howe (Photo: Guardian.)
I asked the same of Commissioner Hogan Howe a few weeks ago during an online Q&A session. He responded by saying that he disagreed with my view and relations although difficult, were not strained. These comments illustrate what happens when there is strategic political failure to grasp the importance of race equality policy and anti racist leadership.

For a multicultural and diverse city like London, the failure to understand and be in touch with all sections of London’s communities is absolutely vital. Johnson’s failure in this regard has been monumental. He has single handedly degraded policing race policy priorities and police and black community relations, destroying years of progress made.  Today any gains made have been pushed back and the issues that informed them inflamed and regressed. This acute political failure has cost London and the country dear and I fear things are about to get much worse after these recent incidents.

Lee Jasper