Tag Archives: Met

Police who stop-searched UK athletes could lose their jobs

Remember when Metropolitan Police officers dragged UK sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner out of their car and away from their three-month-old child on false claims that they could smell cannabis?

Nearly two years after the incident, five officers involved will face gross misconduct charges that could lead to them being sacked. Another officer will face a charge of misconduct.

It is understood that a disciplinary panel will also consider whether racial discrimination played any part in the actions of some of the officers, who deny wrongdoing and insist they will contest the charges.

This Site reported on the incident when it happened.

Ms Williams and her partner Ricardo Dos Santos were stopped at 1.20pm on July 4, 2020 in Maida Vale, north-west London, by officers from the Met’s Territorial Support Group. He was driving and she was in the back with their child.

Reports of a police statement at the time claimed,

The Met said the vehicle had blacked-out windows and was “driving suspiciously”, including being on the wrong side of the road. It said when officers indicated for it to stop, the car sped off. Officers caught up with the vehicle when it stopped on Lanhill Road, but the driver initially refused to get out of the car, the Met said.

The occupants, a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were detained for the purposes of a search under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the statement continued. After nothing was found on their person or in the vehicle, no arrests were made and the pair were released.

It was also alleged that the officers justified their search by claiming they could smell cannabis.

Both athletes are trained by the former Olympic champion Linford Christie, who accused police of institutional racism, and they also said they believed racism played a part in the incident.

In a statement, Christie asked,

“Can Cressida Dick [then Met Police Commissioner, who spoke in support of her officers’ behaviour] or anyone please explain to me what justification the Met Police officers had in assaulting the driver, taking a mother away from her baby all without one piece of PPE and then calling the sniffer dog unit to check the car over?

“Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which led to such a violent confrontation and finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test?

“This is not the first time this has happened (second time in two months) and I’m sure it won’t be the last but this type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or normalised any long #BLM #MetPoliceRacist.”

A few days later, the Met referred the incident to the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which has taken two years to deliver its findings.

This Writer’s personal opinion is that I would want access to every piece of evidence used in the case, when the disciplinary panel comes to hear it, because I simply don’t trust the institutions involved to make a correct decision without public supervision.

I have grave doubts about the reasons the Met gave to justify chasing, stopping and searching these athletes’ car, and there is also the matter of the distress caused to them as they were separated from their very young child.

The IOPC’s recommendation is a step in the right direction. But will it be a case of one step forward, two steps back?

Source: Police who handcuffed Bianca Williams to face gross misconduct charge | UK news | The Guardian

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Child Q: is ‘lack of urgency’ minister waiting for inquiry to get police off the hook?

Kit Malthouse: does he look like he cares about anything?

Policing minister Kit Malthouse has been – rightly – slammed for repeatedly saying the Government must wait for the outcome of a police watchdog report into the traumatic strip search of a black schoolgirl.

In December 2020, police – two male, two female – were called by teachers at a secondary school in Hackney, who believed a girl was carrying drugs because they could smell cannabis.

She was subjected to what seems clearly a deliberately humiliating strip-search. She was made to strip naked, to spread her legs, to use her hands to spread her buttock cheeks and then to cough.

She was menstruating. According to family members, the police insisted that she take off the bloody pad and would not let her go to the toilet to clean up. Then they made her reuse the same pad.

No drugs were found, yet the rumour spread around the school that this perfectly innocent girl was a drug dealer.

The experience left the girl traumatised, in therapy and self-harming.

Answering an urgent question in Parliament, Malthouse condemned the “distressing” incident, saying she “could have been any one of our relatives”.

But he insisted that the government had to wait for a report into the incident, on which the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has already been working for 10 months.

He said the police officers involved had a right to “due process”, which is all well and good – but justice delayed is justice denied, and doesn’t Child Q have a right to justice?

And despite a safeguarding review into the matter producing a series of recommendations for the Government and police to act upon, Malthouse insisted there was doubt whether the police have a specific problem or a systemic problem relating to their policies and practices.

“It is the role of the independent police watchdog – the Independent Office for Police Conduct – to investigate serious matters involving the police and the IOPC has said it has been investigating the actions of the Metropolitan police in this particular case,” he said.

“We must let the IOPC conclude its work. We would, of course, expect any findings to be acted upon swiftly but it’s vital that we don’t prejudge the IOPC’s investigations or prejudice due process – so it would be wrong for me to make any comment on the case in question at this time.”

This Writer wonders whether Malthouse is simply hoping the IOPC will find a way to exonerate the officers involved (one of whom, it seems, was male – in a gross violation of police rules).

And he did not respond to a call to publish data on the number of times children are strip-searched. Why not?

Other MPs saw matters differently – not that he should not comment until the inquiry had been completed but that he should life a finger or two to bring the matter to that conclusion:

Labour MP for Eltham, Clive Efford, criticised Mr Malthouse for having a “wait and see attitude”, and said: “I feel like we’ve woken the minister from an afternoon nap to come in and make this statement”.

He added: “There’s a complete lack of urgency in his approach. It is quite clear that there are areas now where the Government can act; why isn’t the minister coming to this house to explain to us just exactly what he’s going to do, rather than this wait and see attitude?”

It seems clear that Malthouse’s fellow Tories felt no need to enact justice for Child Q. Only one Conservative MP turned up to the discussion – Jackie Doyle-Price – and her contribution was to ask what the minister would do to ensure the Metropolitan Police changes its practices.

Underlying this lack of activity there must be the same question that underlies the reasons for the humiliation and trauma of the strip-search of a menstruating teenage girl.

Is it because she is black?

Source: Child Q: Minister slammed for ‘lack of urgency’ over police strip-search of Black girl

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After black girl was strip-searched at school, can the Tories really deny structural racism?

No to racism: but Boris Johnson is widely-held to be a huge racist himself, so his government’s response to accusations of structural racism in the UK’s institutions may not be a surprise.

Let’s set the scene:

One investigation by the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership has happened and its report has formed the basis of news coverage. Another, by the Independent Office of Police Conduct, was started in May and is in the process of being finalised. The three officers directly involved – one of whom, it appears, was male – remain on full duties. Why?

This incident occurred in December 2020, when police – two male, two female – were called by teachers at a secondary school in Hackney, who believed she was carrying drugs because they could smell cannabis.

She was then subjected to what seems clearly a deliberately humiliating strip-search. Labour MP Diane Abbott puts it straight:

She was made to strip naked, to spread her legs, to use her hands to spread her buttock cheeks and then to cough. She was menstruating. According to family members, the police insisted that she take off the bloody pad and would not let her go to the toilet to clean up. Then they made her reuse the same pad.

No drugs were found, yet the rumour spread around the school that this perfectly innocent girl was a drug dealer. Her mother told the local child safeguarding review that the experience had left her daughter traumatised. Her aunt added: “I see the change from a happy-go-lucky girl to a timid recluse that hardly speaks to me.” She said the girl was now in therapy and that she self-harms.

The search took place without the presence of an appropriate adult – a person to safeguard the interests, rights, entitlements and welfare of children who are suspected of a criminal offence, by ensuring that they are treated in a fair and just manner and are able to participate effectively. Teachers were outside the room and parents of the girl, known as Child Q, knew nothing about the incident at the time.

The report by the City & Hackney Safeguarding Children Partnership (CHSCP) contains the following further findings:

  • The police officers involved should have contacted superior officers for permission before carrying out the strip-search; there is no evidence that this happened.
  • The person conducting the search must be of the same sex as the person being searched; if three police officers are under investigation but only two of those who arrived at the school were female, then we must question whether a male officer was involved.
  • Searches involving exposure of intimate parts of the body must not be conducted as a routine extension of a less thorough search, simply because nothing is found in the course of the initial search; this one was.
  • Searches involving exposure of intimate parts of the body may be carried out only at a nearby police station or other nearby location which is out of public view (but not a police vehicle); it appears this one was not.
  • It is likely that school staff knew a further search of Child Q would be undertaken by the attending officers, but it is unlikely that the school was informed by the attending police officers of the intention to strip-search Child Q.
  • It is likely that the importance of the Appropriate Adult role was insufficiently explained to either Child Q or the school staff present.
  • There is no evidence that Child Q was resistant to the search undertaken by school staff or that there were any indicators in her behaviour that she might be hiding drugs on her person.

We now discover that the IOPC investigation began in May last year – 10 months ago – after a referral from the Met to check whether “legislation, policies and procedures” were followed. The three officers concerned were informed that they were being investigated for misconduct.

One wonders why it has taken 10 months – so far – and still failed to come to a conclusion.

In such situations – where discrimination has been alleged – statutory guidance calls for an investigation into gross misconduct, rather than just misconduct – and this has now been requested by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

There is so much wrong with this case that it is hard to know where to start.

Paramount must be the question of whether Child Q would have suffered anything like the same traumatic experience if she had been white.

The CHSCP report makes it clear that “racism (whether deliberate or not) was likely to have been an influencing factor in the decision to undertake a strip search”.

And this all came into public knowledge right before the government announced its response to an inquiry that found that there is no structural racism in the UK’s institutions.

The document, ironically (it seems) entitled Inclusive Britain, took a panning from the pundits on the BBC’s Politics Live yesterday. This is a seven-minute clip but it is well worth watching in full:

 

The report contains 70 recommendations but they are vague: the government will stop using the acronym “BAME” (Black And Minority Ethnic), it will create a few panels and do some research, have some pilot schemes and create some frameworks.

Stella Creasy’s comment from the top of this article was taken from this discussion. She made it clear that after what happened to Child Q, politicians “pontificating about whether or not we have an issue with structural racism doesn’t feel very real”.

The report, as Ms Creasy said, does not accord with what people in communities are saying.

Its measures do nothing to deal with racism but are simply “tinkering round so the government can feel like it is doing something”.

And apparently it even denies that slavery happened!

Given the humiliation and traumatisation of Child Q because of a smell, one cannot see this as anything but another slap in the face of people who suffer racism – and of those of us who want to end it.

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Are the #MetPolice and #SueGray conspiring to keep #BorisJohnson in office?

Appropriate: this is an image from a while ago but it seems relevant, as Boris Johnson seems to be slithering out of the Partygate accusations with the aid of his college colleague Cressida Dick and his employee Sue Gray.

It’s a question that deserves to be asked.

First we thought Cabinet Office civil servant Sue Gray was going to publish her report into alleged Covid-19 lockdown-breaking parties at 10 Downing Street early this week – possibly even on Monday.

She didn’t.

Then the Metropolitan Police, under its Commissioner Cressida Dick (who went to the same university college as Boris Johnson), announced that after spending weeks saying it would not investigate the parties because they happened more than a year ago, it had now decided that it would.

Gray then hesitated, claiming she wanted to produce a report that could be published in full, as soon as Johnson received it.

And now the plods are saying they don’t want it to contain any information that could prejudice their inquiries.

The statement reads: “For the events the Met is investigating, we asked for minimal reference to be made in the Cabinet Office report.

“The Met did not ask for any limitations on other events in the report, or for the report to be delayed, but we have had ongoing contact with the Cabinet Office, including on the content of the report, to avoid any prejudice to our investigation.”

We may be justified in asking, if there was no request to delay the report, then where is it?

But the devil’s in the detail, of course. The main objective of the report is to tell us whether the alleged parties actually happened, whether Boris Johnson attended any of them, and whether he lied about them.

We know the answer to all three questions is yes; we just need it in official form.

But (again) with a criminal investigation taking place, the Met might wish to charge Johnson with a crime if police find that he attended such parties and a statement that he had done so, from the Cabinet Office, may be seen as prejudicial to its investigation.

So Ms Gray, it seems, is hamstrung and the report is delayed.

She could have published her report on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday, when the Met wasn’t putting any conditions on it, but didn’t, and now she has lost her chance because of an organisation that wouldn’t be bothered to do anything when it was first asked.

That’s why this seems to be a premeditated delaying tactic.

It isn’t good enough; we should expect better from our national institutions.

If the police had investigated when they were first told to, they would have been finished by now and there would be no obstacle to the report being published.

If Sue Gray had published her report during the window of opportunity that was wide open for her between (let’s be honest) January 20 and today (January 28) any stipulations the police had would have been academic.

They have let us down. And when I say “us”, I mean they have let down everybody in the United Kingdom.

Now we must wait, presumably while Ms Dick shifts through the overwhelmingly-damning evidence, looking for an excuse to let her college buddy Boris off the hook.

Tory MPs who know that their chances of being re-elected depend on Johnson’s near-magical abilities as a confidence trickster, hoodwinking voters into thinking he is worth electing, will be hoping that we all forget about his lies and the treachery of the parties he hosted while the rest of us sat in isolation, watching our relatives and loved ones die without even being able to sit in the same room with them.

They’ll get their wish if the media, also run by Tories, decide to ease the pressure.

So, the future of the United Kingdom – whether we continue to be run by a disreputable Tory liar – will be decided by disreputable Tory liars (remember, they all told us he would be a good prime minister, back in 2019).

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Everard murderer was known to police colleagues as ‘The Rapist’. How long can Cressida Dick stay in post?

Cressida Dick: Platitudes outside a court must not save her from the consequences of her failure to root out corruption and crime among her officers.

How did a man who was nicknamed ‘The Rapist’ three years before joining the Metropolitan Police manage to pass its vetting process, let alone get into a position where he could kidnap, rape and murder Sarah Everard?

Those are the questions that should be forcing Met Commissioner Cressida Dick out of her job now, yet she seems secure in her post. For how long?

Wayne Couzens, who last week admitted raping and murdering Sarah Everard, was given the unsavoury nickname by colleagues at the Civil Nuclear Constabulary, which he joined in 2011, because he made some female colleagues feel uncomfortable, according to the Evening Standard.

The paper also reported that Kent Police took no action in 2015 after it was alleged that he had been seen driving around Dover, naked from the waist down.

And the Met – which he joined in 2018 – received further accusations of indecent exposure by Couzens on two further occasions. Neither of them were investigated properly in the days before he kidnapped, raped and murdered Ms Everard.

We’ve heard this story before: it isn’t such a long time since PC (yes, he’s still on the force) Oliver Banfield was convicted of assaulting a woman while she was walking home – just as Sarah Everard was when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered. His colleagues on the Warwickshire force had initially ignored the complaint and would have done nothing about it if the victim had not found CCTV footage that could be used as evidence.

The BBC has reported that the Independent Office for Police Conduct said a total of 12 gross misconduct or misconduct notices had so far been served on police officers from multiple forces in relation to the Couzens case, including about the handling of two separate claims that Couzens had indecently exposed himself; the Banfield case wasn’t a single instance of police turning a blind eye to the crimes of fellow officers – it is an epidemic.

Ms Everard’s murder sparked a wave of protest across the UK that was put down mercilessly by police forces – most notably the Met and Avon and Somerset Constabulary. An independent Parliamentary committee has found that both forces breached the fundamental rights of protesters but neither has accepted the finding and nothing will be done to improve procedures.

Indeed, women across the UK have cause to be even more concerned that the Tory government is bringing in a law to reform criminal investigations and justice – that will put women like Sarah Everard in even more danger.

Two-faced Cressida Dick, who presided over the Met Police throughout, and who supported police in their despicable mishandling of the Sarah Everard vigil, hypocritically voiced platitudes of regret over the murder and anger over the crimes of her now-former officer after attending court.

She said she felt “sickened, angered and devastated” by the crimes: “They are dreadful and everyone in policing feels betrayed.

“Sarah was a fantastic, talented young woman with her whole life ahead of her and that has been snatched away.”

But that hasn’t saved her from the court of public opinion:

This Writer is willing to suggest that public confidence in the Met – and in policing in general – has never fallen so low (although it will fall further if the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is allowed to become law in its current form).

Dick has presided over a quantum plunge in the reputation of the police, ignoring one scandal after another and allowing her force to become a cesspit of corruption and crime.

Meanwhile, the successful investigation of crimes against the public has suffered. How can it not? We can’t trust the police to do their job and we’re living in fear that they will commit crimes against us themselves.

It is a poisonous situation and Cressida Dick has done much to create it.

How long are we going to allow her to continue worsening it?

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Cressida Dick and Met police ‘institutionally corrupt’ in hindering Daniel Morgan murder inquiry

Cressida Dick: next time I publish an image of her I want it to be the mugshot taken after she is arrested.

How will the police be reformed after the damning report on the murder of a private detective – who had been investigating police corruption?

And how can we trust any measures when the current Metropolitan Police Commissioner actively participated in the corrupt cover-up of what happened to Daniel Morgan – and the current Home Secretary wanted to edit the independent report on this fiasco before the public could see it?

Do we all know the story? Morgan’s body was found in a south London car park in 1987, an axe buried in his head. He had been investigating police corruption.

To date, no fewer than five investigations have been conducted into the murder. Nobody has been convicted.

In 2013, then-Home Secretary Theresa May launched an independent inquiry to examine “police involvement in Daniel Morgan’s murder, the role played by police corruption in protecting those responsible for the murder from being brought to justice, and the failure to confront that corruption”.

It also looked into “the incidence of connections between private investigators, police officers and journalists at the News of the World and other parts of the media, and alleged corruption involved in the linkages between them”.

When the inquiry panel tried to publish its report in May, current Home Secretary Priti Patel tried to interfere, saying she needed to see it and may need to censor any part of it that she could claim might affect national security or human rights obligations.

She had no right to do so. The panel objected in the strongest possible terms and Patel had to back down. The report has been published in full today (June 15).

It reveals that the Metropolitan Police is “institutionally corrupt” and singles out Met Commissioner Cressida Dick for personal censure.

Panel chairman Baroness Nuala O’Loan said the Met’s first objective in its approach to the inquiry was to “protect itself” for failing to acknowledge its many failings since Daniel Morgan’s murder in 1987.

Its handling of the investigation into Morgan’s death was “institutionally corrupt” and placed concerns about its reputation above its duty to investigate the murder properly.

The Met deliberately misled the public and Morgan’s grieving family.

It delayed handing over vital documents to the inquiry panel, thereby hindering its own work. An investigation that was not expected to take long ended up being stretched out over eight years.

Then-Assistant Commissioner Cressida Dick – along with her successors after she was promoted – was responsible for refusing to provide access to this information and never provided a reasonable explanation.

The inquiry panel’s report states [boldings mine]:

“The family of Daniel Morgan suffered grievously as a consequence of the failure to bring his [killer] to justice, the unwarranted assurances which they were given, the misinformation which was put into the public domain, and the denial of failings in investigation, including failing to acknowledge professional [in]competence, individuals’ venal* behaviour, and managerial and organisational failures.

“The Metropolitan Police also repeatedly failed to take a fresh, thorough and critical look at past failings.

“Concealing or denying failings, for the sake of the organisation’s public image, is dishonesty on the part of the organisation for reputational benefit and constitutes a form of institutional corruption.”

“The Metropolitan Police were not honest in their dealings with Daniel Morgan’s family, or the public. The family and the public are owed an apology.”

A statement by Morgan’s family condemned “a culture of corruption and cover up in the Metropolitan Police, an institutionalised corruption that has permeated successive regimes in the Metropolitan Police and beyond to this day.

The independent panel made a number of recommendations which include:

  • Law enforcement agencies should be subjected to a newly created “statutory duty of candour”.
  • Metropolitan Police should properly vet employees and have “adequate and effective processes” to establish whether any officers and staff are “currently engaged in crime.”
  • The force should make sure it has the necessary resources to tackle corrupt behaviour among its officers and to ensure police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct is also sufficiently resourced to investigate such matters.
  • An investigation should be carried out by another police watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), looking at police practices and procedures to determine whether “sufficient resources” are available to protect police whistleblowers.

I have absolutely no confidence that any of these recommendations will be honoured by those concerned.

Patel has made a statement in Parliament, saying she has demanded a full response to the report from Dick. I have no confidence that anything these two cook up between them will bear any relationship to the facts; they will try to mislead us again.

If Patel could be trusted to do her job properly, she would have already demanded the suspension of Dick and every other police officer involved in this 34-years-long corrupt cover-up – all of them.

She would then invite law enforcement officers from a completely different place – possibly even from a different country, because I don’t think anybody here can be trusted to be honest – to investigate their roles and determine whether and what criminal charges should be levelled against them.

This is a most serious matter; we are seeing corruption at the heart of the police and government – of an ingrained, institutional nature.

And the Tories – themselves proven to be institutionally corrupt over the last two years of Boris Johnson’s government – are entirely unfit to tackle it.

*Showing or motivated by an inclination towards being bribed; corrupt.

Source: Daniel Morgan murder: Met chief censured for hampering corruption inquiry | Daniel Morgan | The Guardian

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Dawn Butler: where’s Starmer’s support for his MP, as campaign to get Cressida #DickOut of Met Police begins

Struck dumb: faced with clear racism against a Labour MP by the police he so staunchly supports, what does Keir Starmer do? He HESITATES.

Public support for Labour MP Dawn Butler is growing, along with a campaign for the removal of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick – but her own party leader, Keir Starmer, is silent. Why?

Starmer – a former Director of Public Prosecutions and a staunch supporter of the police – has been on the social media since the car in which Ms Butler was travelling was stopped under false pretences by police yesterday (August 9). So have many of his right-wing – sorry, centrist – lieutenants. But they haven’t had a word to say about it.

The new New Labour leader has been struggling with his attitude to racism after his many attempts to end the anti-Semitism controversy in the Labour Party came unstuck when confronted by the facts, and after his comments about Black Lives Matter showed him up as a hypocrite.

Now, faced with a clear example of police racism and the racial profiling of his MP, Starmer is hesitating. Would he really rather side with the racists?

Perhaps he would feel more comfortable siding with the liars who have crawled out from the virtual woodwork of the social media to attack Ms Butler with false claims that she “flipped” the video she took of the incident and that her passenger was white (and not black). But these have been shown to be nonsense:

Perhaps Mr Starmer would feel more comfortable siding with Tory London mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey, who doesn’t seem to understand institutional racism…

… and whose attitude to racial profiling changes according to whatever he thinks is politically expedient:

Starmer’s silence is deafening – and the commentariat is flagging it up:

This is far from the first incident involving the police targeting cars with black drivers and passengers – in fact, black people are far more likely to be stopped and searched for flimsy reasons than white people. One of the excuses offered to Ms Butler was that tinted rear windows may be illegal (the law says they’re not) and this is an old favourite among the Met stop-and-search gang.

Ms Butler herself has pointed out that it is 20 years since the Macpherson Report labelled the Met Police as “institutionally racist” but nothing has been done to change the situation.

So now a campaign has sprung up online to remove current Met Commissioner, Cressida Dick – under whose control the current situation has worsened:

Oh, and are we interested in the difference between the way the police treated Ms Butler – an MP – and the way they treated Dominic Cummings, who is only an MP’s advisor?

UPDATE 5.45pm, August 10: Starmer has finally broken his silence on Twitter – although it really wasn’t worth the wait. You can see his comment here, along with some responses to it.

I’m particularly drawn to the reply that states: “You were too sh*t scared to make a public comment because you hadn’t focus grouped it. Jesus. Spineless.” It sums up Starmer in a nutshell.

Other comments assert that Labour staffers – for whom Starmer has apparently shown support – have carried out racial profiling on some of the party’s black MPs.

This is a pathetic showing from a weak man who is unfit to lead.

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Met police refers itself to police watchdog over stop-and-search of athletes’ car

That was quick.

This Writer only published Vox Political‘s story about the Metropolitan police targeting black athletes Ricardo dos Santos, Bianca Williams and their three-month-old baby for a stop/search a couple of hours ago, and already the case has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct!

If you want something to happen, get me to write about it.

But seriously…

It actually took several days and the threat of a court case for this matter to be referred to the IOPC, and This Writer is concerned that we’ll see another stitch-up.

The IOPC blotted its copy book with its whitewashing of the relationship between Boris Johnson and Jennifer Arcuri, and I fear that any investigation of this case will go the same way.

It occur to me that, if the IOPC – and the police in general – want us to accept any verdict on this, we’ll have to see all the evidence when the report comes in.

That seems the best way to ensure fairness. Don’t you agree?

The Metropolitan Police has referred itself to the police watchdog over the actions of its officers in a stop and search involving athlete Bianca Williams.

The 26-year-old Team GB sprinter was dragged from the vehicle and handcuffed in Maida Vale, West London on Saturday along with partner Ricardo dos Santos, a Portuguese 400m runner, in front of their three month-old-son.

The athlete has since accused the Met of racial profiling – telling LBC radio she believes they were stopped because the car is all black and her partner is a black man. “There is no other reason,” she added.

Source: Bianca Williams: Metropolitan Police refers itself to watchdog after stopping Team GB athlete’s car | The Independent

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Are you convinced by the Met police’s excuse for incident with Linford Christie athletes?

I’m not.

The Metropolitan Police say they were well within their rights to stop – and handcuff – athletes Ricardo dos Santos and Bianca Williams while their three-month-old son was left in their car.

Linford Christie – yes, that Linford Christie, the UK’s most successful sprinter, and a mentor of both athletes – posted video of the incident on Twitter. It’s quite disturbing:

He also posted a statement:

“Two of my athletes were stopped by the police today [July 4], both international athletes, both parents of a three month old baby who was with them and both handcuffed outside of their home,” he wrote.

“Can Cressida Dick or anyone please explain to me what justication the Met Police officers had in assaulting the driver, taking a mother away from her baby all without one piece of PPE and then calling the sniffer dog unit to check the car over?

“Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which led to such a violent confrontation and finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test?

“This is not the first time this has happened (second time in two months) and I’m sure it won’t be the last but this type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or normalised any long #BLM #MetPoliceRacist.”

Now here’s the Met’s rationalisation:

The stop took place at about 1.25pm and was executed by the Territorial Support Group, which was patrolling the area in response to an increase in violence involving weapons.

The Met said the vehicle had blacked-out windows and was “driving suspiciously”, including being on the wrong side of the road. It said when officers indicated for it to stop, the car sped off. Officers caught up with the vehicle when it stopped on Lanhill Road, but the driver initially refused to get out of the car, the Met said.

The occupants, a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were detained for the purposes of a search under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the statement continued. After nothing was found on their person or in the vehicle, no arrests were made and the pair were released.

Has anyone seen evidence that these athletes were driving on the wrong side of the road? I haven’t.

And the “blacked-out windows” excuse has been used on black people before – and been found to be false, with the tints found to be within legal levels.

“The car sped off.” Did it, though? If you’re travelling in a built-up area – in London! – and the police turn up behind you, telling you to stop, it seems unlikely that’ you’re going to get too far. Maybe that’s just my impression.

Linford Christie is, of course, intimately familiar with institutional racism, after he won Olympic Gold in the 100m in August 1992 and the press belittled the achievement – he was only the second British athlete to manage it since Harold Abrahams in 1924 – by cultivating an unhealthy obsession with his euphemistically-titled “lunchbox”.

I think there’s more to this than the Met have admitted and the facts should come out.

Why did police really stop this car?

Was it because the occupants were black?

Reports say the couple are seriously considering taking the Met to court and I think they should. Agreed?

Source: Met police deny misconduct after Linford Christie athletes stopped | UK news | The Guardian

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Police who took selfies next to black women’s dead bodies prove the Met is institutionally racist

Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry: after ignoring reports that they were missing, police who attended when the bodies were found took selfies with them and sent the images to members of the public.

I’m sure you all remember the wave of horror and outrage at the double murder of two black women in Wembley Park, London, earlier this month and the utter indifference of the police who had been told they were missing.

No?

That’s because there wasn’t one – mostly because it wasn’t reported.

Now it has emerged that police officers who were directed to the bodies by the boyfriend of one of the victims – who had gone out to find them himself after the Metropolitan police showed no interest – took selfies of themselves with the bodies and sent the images to members of the public.

Read the end of the above paragraph again.

Instead of carrying out their duty in a reasonable and responsible way, police officers thought it would be a giggle to take photos of themselves with the bodies of murdered black women, and to then send those images to friends – and not just friends in the police, which would have been bad enough, but members of the general public.

There is only one conclusion to be drawn: These were racists who considered Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry to be less than human because of the colour of their skin, and that their dead bodies were therefore playthings to be treated with contempt.

Met police commissioner Cressida Dick has claimed her entire force would condemn this behaviour – but that is not what we see.

We see a police service that is racist to the core.

This is not an isolated incident. It is a symptom of a general pattern of behaviour for which Dick must take responsibility. The organisation she heads is institutionally racist and a figurehead of the systemic racism that plagues the United Kingdom.

For those who aren’t familiar with the details – and I imagine that’s most of you – let’s run over them:

The mother of two sisters murdered in a park said her grief had “been taken to another place” after two officers were suspended amid allegations they took selfies next to their bodies.

Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry were stabbed to death at a park in Wembley earlier this month. Ms Smallman, 27, had been with friends celebrating Ms Henry’s 46th birthday at the park on the evening of 5 June. Detectives believe they were killed by a stranger who repeatedly stabbed them in the early hours of 6 June – their bodies were not found until the following day.

Mina Smallman has complained about the Met’s initial response – saying she had to organise a search for her daughters.

Mrs Smallman said she had coordinated a search operation on weekend her daughters died and it was Nicole’s boyfriend, Adam, who found the sisters’ bodies and the murder weapon.

She says the police were “making assumptions” when they didn’t immediately respond when the sisters were first reported missing.

It’s actually worse than that. Did these women die because police refused to take action?

“I knew instantly why they didn’t care. They didn’t care because they looked at my daughter’s address and thought they knew who she was.

“A black woman who lives on a council estate.”

Speaking to the BBC, Mrs Smallman, the former Archdeacon of Southend, said the pictures “dehumanised” her children.

Mrs Smallman said she was told the photos showed the girls’ faces and she fears the images will appear on the internet.

“This has taken our grief to another place,” she said.

“If ever we needed an example of how toxic it has become, those police officers felt so safe, so untouchable, that they felt they could take photographs of dead black girls and send them on.

“It speaks volumes of the ethos that runs through the Metropolitan Police.”

The Met said two officers had been arrested on suspicion of misconduct in public office and suspended from duty.

No-one has been charged with the murders.

Here‘s what Dick had to say for herself:

Dame Cressida said: “I don’t know all the details but if it is as it appears to be then it is shocking.

“It is disgusting and the whole of the Met would condemn what has happened here.

How has this culture been allowed to fester? I’d suggest it happened in the same way Dick was able to shrug off questions about institutional racism in the BBC’s report:

Asked if she accepted criticism that there may have been an element of institutional racism in the police response to the double murder, Dame Cressida said: “This is a horrible, horrible double murder of two beautiful young women.

“My heart goes out to their family. It is just appalling.

“We have an enormous investigation, very well resourced and using all the expertise not just in London but all across the country and beyond.”

That’s not an answer to the question.

Was she unable to answer it?

We all know that, after she became Met Commissioner in 2017, Dick called for “tougher sentences” to be applied to “teenage thugs” in London who she emphasised as being “black” and “Asian”, although there is no strong racial characteristic to the crimes she was highlighting.

So, if she is trying to claim that there isn’t any racism in the Met, perhaps it’s along the same lines as the subject of this poem:

We need a root and branch reform of the Met. It is no good attacking symptoms – it’s time to rid ourselves of the cause.

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