The police has an issue with black folk and young black men in particular. The dislike is mutual as we have been able to witness during last summer’s riots as a disproportionate amount of rioters were young men of colour. While both police and politicians keep sticking their heads in the sand a 10th complaint regarding race and police abuse has been submitted to the Police Complaints Commission within three weeks. The tragic issue is that since Stephen Lawrence’s murder and the Macpherson inquiry that followed concluding that the Metropolitan Police is institutionally racist, these matters should have been relics of a murky past. Sadly they aren’t.
Although the British Isles are by no means without problems when it comes to race discrimination as a Dark Fairy from Continental Europe I can tell you, of all the countries of the ‘Old World’ the UK deals best with race relations. Yet, the police of The Greatest City On Earth remains institutionally racist. Why doesn’t the token inclusivity of the Metropolitan Police seem able to penetrate the soul of the institution?
One believes the world is how one views and experiences it. As a police officer I can imagine that you’re predominately dealing with the nasty side of society: Crime and its effect on people. Therefore I can imagine you mainly have eyes for what is wrong in the world. If you witness that crime is disproportionately committed by men of colour then your argument might be that therefore most men of colour are involved in crime rather than arguing that despite the disproportionality the vast majority of black males are law abiding citizens.
A question I wish to pose is in what way the level of education of police officers is linked to institutional racism within the Metropolitan Police. A quick search on the net informs us that to join the Metropolitan Police as a constable there are no educational requirements. Although it’s claimed the selection process is thorough, in theory one can be thick as sh*t and still be able join the force. I am aware that lack of education does not necessarily indicate a lack of intellectual capability, however, there are very few other jobs with that amount of responsibility to the public accompanied with a more than decent pay package that require so little on the educational front. A recent study conducted by a team of researchers led by psychologist Gordon Hodson from Brock University in Ontario links low intelligence with socially conservative ideologies and prejudiced attitudes. If one hears a BNP or EDL supporter utter their views on the multicultural society and the world in general, one is forced to conclude that these are by no means the sharpest pencils in the societal pack.
The Metropolitan Police display a front of inclusivity. Yet, despite the active recruiting of women and people of colour the latest complaints regarding police abuse based on race discrimination are a sign that the Met has still a long way to go. Now, we don’t tend to hear about the good the Met might be doing and about those police officers who are doing a good job and aim to serve their community. However, even former senior Scotland Yard officer and London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick speaks of endemic racism within the Metropolitan Police.
Complaints referred to the Police Complaints Commission regarding racial abuse are only the tip of the iceberg as these are issues we actually hear of. The Met is a public service and its staff is quite generously paid from tax-payers’ money. People of colour are members of the public and tax-payers too. It’s is more than high time that the police and politicians seriously address this issue. Not only to strengthen relations with those the Met is supposed to be serving, but also that events like last summer’s riots and the run-up to it can be foreseen by the police themselves and avoided. Otherwise in Maggie’s words; I so want my money back, ’cause why do I need to provide your wages if you don’t respect me and my brothers and sisters.