Black Networks, we’re watching you

As the new Met Commissioner interviews begin, I cast my mind back to this day last week. The Alliance Police Accountability event hosted by community stalwart, hip-hop referencing, OG Policing critic, Mr Lee Jasper had concluded and I had a few observations.

If you say Jasper’s name three times, he will appear and make the police account for their actions. Or inaction, striking fear (and quite rightly so) into policing and holding those in power to account. The Black cohort also fear him, not because of what he was saying, but because the belief in what he was saying is a crisis of conscience for most of us.

Last week’s panel by the APA was highly anticipated as is the appointment of the Met Commissioner. It was great to see the line up, complete with Black policing representation or rather there was supposed to be.

The absence of any MetBPA representation was noticed and whilst Lee mentioned in his greeting about tube delays, it wasn’t a good look..not at this crucial stage.

They are supposed to be the bridge between the community and the police, but you can’t do that if you aren’t there.

Again, for y’all in the back and sat around the table..They are supposed to be the bridge between the community and the police, but you can’t do that if you aren’t there!

The lack of Metropolitan Black Police representation was really sad to see, especially as we had just heard of the passing of Ronald Hope, the Met’s first Black Inspector, who in death made more of an impact than them.

Leroy Logan retired Superintendent and ex- MetBPA Chair was there though, this man reps for his people all the time, train delays or not..retired or not. Accountability is applicable to the Black networks too. 

The shameless infighting in March which spilled out onto Twitter saw a turf-war played out for all to see where two Black male police representatives were attacking another Black network. 

This pitiful public power play over who would speak on behalf of the disgruntled Black cohort in the Met was disgusting. 

Just who are you speaking for? The NBPA Chair and Met BPA stools tag teaming each other and openly attacking a Black female officer looked like an instruction manual to the Police of how to further marginalise and disrespect our Black women, was a pathetic pissing contest. 

We had just seen Chris Rock run his mouth about Jada and get corrected by Will and now they come in with their foolishness. It was even referenced in the event, as dividing the internal Black communities! Because their turf war brought us closer together hasn’t it?

It wasn’t a good look…and didn’t inspire trust and confidence but was a prime example of low flying egos and male fragility. It’s already a hard knock life for the internal and external Black communities, show some class please.

Our internal and external communities are watching the Met, the incoming new Commissioner and we are watching the Black Policing networks too! 

The Met Police Chief interview panel has denied us any opportunity to shout “tokenism” and roll our eyes, because there isn’t one Black face on there. We can only hope and pray that some conversations were had beforehand and that the right questions will be asked of the candidates and they can address what is most pressing for us.

ICYMI The Police Race Action Plan basically reads like a list of how to treat Black people like human beings. It’s a  simple ask really considering the collective history of raising these issues repeatedly and for the first time in a long time and considering the controversies of late, it is welcomed. But no one should be patting themselves on the back just yet.

The Independent Scrutiny Panel that was launched sounds encouraging. Abimbola Johnson spoke with conviction on the APA panel and I don’t think there is anyone that doubts that the panel will hold all Police chiefs feet to the fire. 

The fire that has been further stoked with the admission by the Met, that Oladeji Adeyemi Omishore, the Black man who experienced a mental health crisis on Chelsea Bridge, was NOT carrying a screwdriver as reported to police when he was tasered and was retrieved from the Thames. Dead.

We watched the footage as an officer tasered Oladeji and read in disgust the thin blue liners and union flag wavers attempts to deny institutional racism because a Black man had pulled the trigger.

Paul Wilson, another MetBPA ex-Chairman author of “Rocking the Boat” was cited at last week’s event as saying how Black officers who failed to challenge or blindly adhered to some police processes, upheld racist policies and were not exempt from upholding Institutional racism because they were Black.

But just how is an institution that is still denying institutional racism, amidst the deaths, the hard stops, the deaths in custody, going to begin to be anti-racist?

Let’s see…over to you Commissioner.

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