Policing our communities

Leaders discuss policing of London’s Black communities

(From left to right) David Lammy MP, Community activist, Stafford Scott, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, Leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor

Community figures held a “historic” meeting with senior leaders in Tottenham this week as they discussed the policing of Black communities in London.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Haringey Council Leader, Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, and David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, joined influential community members at Tottenham Town Hall to hear their views and pave a way forward together.

Issues discussed included the use of stop and search, and the need for trust and police accountability.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “It’s appalling that Black people still face racism, prejudice and discrimination in our city. I meet regularly with Londoners to discuss their experiences and to understand the strength of feeling arising from the issues impacting upon our Black communities, and I was back in Tottenham to hear first-hand the concerns of the community.

“Much more needs to be done to improve relations between the police and Black communities. This is why I have commissioned work on an action plan to improve confidence, transparency and accountability. It is vital that our police service retains the trust and confidence of the communities it serves, so every Londoner, regardless of skin colour, background or postcode, can feel safe.”

Cllr Joseph Ejiofor, Leader of Haringey Council, said: “This was an important meeting where I shared first-hand testimony with the Mayor and the Metropolitan Police that my own experience of policing in Haringey was identical to that of many other members of the Black community in Haringey.

“At the meeting, genuine concerns about the use of force, restraint, and stop and search by the police against Black people, were raised. Furthermore, local concerns about the accountability of the police to the community must not only be heard, but must also be addressed.

“Having heard the Mayor commit to looking seriously at the actions he can take to find new ways of bringing the police and the community together, I left the meeting with a sense of hope that things can be better, and a sense of expectation that we can achieve the change we so desperately need.”

David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, said: “The meeting was a chance to hear from residents and leading campaigners in Tottenham who are deeply concerned about the way our community is being policed.  I’m grateful that we have a constructive forum in which the community can share these concerns with people in positions of authority and bring substantive proposals to the table. 

“I’m hopeful that the Mayor of London and the Metropolitan police seriously consider these proposals in the weeks ahead, so that we can tackle disproportionate policing and the use of police force.  Only then can we begin to rebuild trust between the Black community and the authorities they rely on for protection.”

Stafford Scott, a local resident in Haringey, said: “In many ways this was a historic meeting where we were able to speak candidly about the institutional racism that was identified 20 years ago, and today’s policing of London’s Black communities, with politicians who not only resembled us but who also understood us. 

“We hope that as a result of this meeting having taken place, the Met will listen to and act on the community’s concerns about police practices. This includes the disproportionate use of stop and search, use of handcuffs and the threat of, or actual use of Tasers on Black people. 

“We look forward to continuing working with the Mayor, MP and the Local Authority to develop new forms of open, democratic and effective community engagement forums and processes that supports meaningful community participation right across the borough.”

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