Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Its going to be a long hot summer.

Dear Mayor of London, 

27th July 2016. 

This is an open letter to you. I'm not sure you'll even see or even read it, but it's a genuine attempt to avoid the continuing deterioration of Met Police/Black community relationships over this summer. 

In my experience in dealing with thousands off demonstrations over the last 30 years, I find the police, when faced with an information vacuum, have a tendency to let their worst fears haunt them, and as a result, can adopt aggressive policing tactics. I've seen the wrong tactical options and decisions, chosen by inexperienced, sometimes racist, senior Police officers cause mayhem on more than one occasion. 

As you may know, I've been Head Steward for some of the largest and most militant demo's in the UK and again in my opinion, and backed up with formal confidence surveys, the level of distrust between the Metropolitan Police Service and black youth has now become almost endemic. Public trust and satisfaction surveys show a year on year decline in the extent to which black people have trust and confidence in the Met. 

Currently, those figures in the major London boroughs of Brent, Lambeth, Hackney, Newham, Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Lewisham, Greenwich, Croydon, Southall, Westminster RBKC are London's most multicultural boroughs are the lowest on record. Ask them if you don't believe me. 
Now, I know that the Met Commissioner, you Mayor of London and your Deputy Mayor for Policing Sophie Linden are all concerned and an emergency meeting has been conveyed. 
The Met believes, as a result of their lack of community engagement and the race prejudice, that the Black Lives Matter Movement US has become ' terrorist' in nature as a direct result of the recent shootings of police officers. 

Of course, they're wrong, but sharing intelligence with the Pentagon has reinforced their view that Black Lives Matter UK, or elements within its ranks or close to it are planning major attacks on police. The recent Hyde Park fiasco reinforced that view. It appears when they saw the size of the crowd, they overreacted and they had no-one on the ground to talk to, nor did they have anyone they could call. 
In the ensuing panic, chaos broke out and fight broke out where two youths were unfortunately stabbed. 
As a result, all Met Police leave has been cancelled and they are in danger of allowing their uninformed fears dictate their operational tactics. 

Good advice is in short supply and as a result of their decision to dismantle the McPherson Inquiry policy and monitoring forums, they are now operating in an information vacuum. As a result, they are making huge contingency plans for serious disorder focussing on the events below. 
Reparations March, Mark Duggan March, and Notting Hill Carnival. 
The other day the Daily Mail, ran an article from out of nowhere, citing me as an 'anti-police rabble rouser' citing my critique of policing tactics at Hyde Park and my comment that its look like a ' long hot the summer'

I was referring to the fact that if the wrong policing tactics, aggressive rude, violent policing predominates, then this summer will be long. In the context of the on going racially profiling and criminalisation of black youth, you can not expect black young people to face racist policing Mon to Friday and make exceptions for Sat and Sunday. 

Upping the ante at these demonstrations is a classic Police mistake that results from the Met refusing to engage with hard core activists with credibility, on the ground in their communities and instead surrounding themselves with complaint black people with little to no experience of demonstrations or the history of tactical policing options used over the years. 

The Mayor seems to have no one of credibility giving him this advice so here it is for free. 
I would advise that you too stand down the TSG and abandon the offensive policing tactics currently being put into place at New Scotland Yard. I would advise that ensure that you are personally engaged with this issue and that any move by the Met to move towards offensive policing is authorised buy you after proper consolation. 

I would convene a number of black credible representatives (not me I know I am persona non grata ) who can be called upon at these events, to respond to any escalation of tensions or critical incidents. I would insist that these people are deployed to assist and inform your community liaison on the ground at each of these events. 
I would avoid having those with out expertise, credibility and community authority, they cant help you. These are fig leaves for Met Police indiscretions, for which they are usually paid very well. Choose wisely on this. 

Given the global rising tensions around police/black communities in the US, the targeting of EU capitals for terror-related attacks, the general, historic. but now acute distrust of London's black communities in the Met, alongside the perceptible rise in racism and hate crime in the UK and the recent death in police custody of Mzee Mohammad, my strong advice Mr. Mayor is avoid taking as sacrosanct alone. the operational advice and intelligence offered by the Met.
I say you should triangulate the information. 

Under the current Met Police Commissioner, the institution has abandoned its commitment to race equality and declared itself a 'post racist institution' in July 2009. 

As a result of this catastrophic error the Met has now lost both its corporate memory, best practices and as a consequence of age, some of its most experienced senior officers. 

The other worrying fact Mr Mayor, is that we have the lowest number of experienced 'street craft' officers and the highest number of probationer officers than at any other time in Met history. You may recall that Lord Scarman quoted the information vacuum and the high number of Probationers Constables on the streets unaccompanied by experienced officers as key reasons why Brixton 86 occurred. 

The Met, left to their own devices, will always police according to their fears. That's the danger, compounded by the failure to maintain effective communication with black communities and its most ardent critics. 

This, in addition to a retreat from local real police accountability and the ethos of policing by consent, set against the closure of the borough based Consultative Groups, has all resulted in a total breakdown in communication. which is why local Police Consultative Groups were initially recommended by Lord Scarman after the 1986 Brixton uprisings . 

Your predecessor Boris abolished them, largely I suspect because of people like me, consistency challenging and holding senior officers feet to the fire. 

I once predicted disturbances in January 2011 after the death n police custody of Smiley Culture. I was ignored, ridiculed and summarily dismissed by your predecessor, Boris Johnson and in August 2011 the country exploded after the police shooting of Mark Duggan. 

Boris was on his summer holidays in the Algarve at the time. I did a Sky TV interview on the evening of the protest amid the anarchy and demanded to know where the Mayor was while London was burning. 

He was forced to return to London immediately. 

Take note and enjoy your summer holidays Mr.Mayor 


Warm regards