Sector response to Baroness Casey's review of the Metropolitan Police Service
Baroness Casey’s scathing report yet again evidences the deep-seated culture of institutionalised racism, misogyny and homophobia which runs through the Metropolitan Police Force. This is not new information, our communities have been victims to it for decades. It continues to put women and minoritised people at risk every day.
Like Macpherson 24 years ago, Casey’s report identifies the same issues and reaches the same conclusions, that the Metropolitan Police Force is institutionally violent and discriminatory.
And despite ongoing and unresolved concerns about the use of the police’s existing powers, our government continues to grant them more. A swathe of deeply regressive pieces of legislation, introduced in the last two years, together give police broader, more discretionary powers and increased access to tasers, whilst rolling back protections for people to defend their rights. Concurrently, the Shadow Cabinet is promising to be “the party of law and order”, pledging to increase police and community support officers. We all deserve to feel safe in our communities. Community policing requires trust first, as a precondition, in order to be successful. Increasing powers and the presence of an extremely problematic institution, without addressing its fundamental issues, is clearly not the solution. We reject any expansion of the scope of the Metropolitan Police Force, including increased neighbourhood or frontline policing, in the current context.
We recall in recent memory the murder of Sarah Everard by a Met officer; the deaths of Chris Kaba and Oladeji Omishore following contact with Met officers; the grotesque treatment of Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry by Met officers; Child Q and the hundreds of children strip searched by Met officers; the way in which groups of Met officers have been exposed demeaning their LGBTQ+, Muslim and Jewish colleagues, while “joking” about raping female colleagues, killing black children and beating spouses.
The UK has a long tradition of ‘policing by consent’. However it is increasingly clear that our communities do not consent to the violent, predatory and discriminatory policing that we are currently offered. The culture and standards of policing are inextricably linked to the powers they hold. Minoritised communities have repeatedly borne the brunt of these grave misuses of police powers for generations. If we are to seriously reckon with the findings of Baroness Casey’s report, we have to start with the powers the police hold. We stand united in our call for the roll back of the policing powers of the Metropolitan Police Force.
Years of austerity have ravaged our public services and support systems. Rather than continue to increase the power and presence of a broken institution, including in our children’s schools, we call for significant and sustained investment into community-based solutions which tackle the root causes of crime; eradicating poverty, access to good education, housing and health care and the equality of opportunity for all. If the government seriously wants to keep communities safe, they must action the non-expansive recommendations outlined in Casey’s report, roll back police powers, and invest in community-led systems for justice and accountability.
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