Police Reform or Remain as Norm

27th July 2023

The Police Storm, Reform or Remain as Norm


I have waited a fair few weeks for the dust to settle on this topic, but it is behoved of me to hold institutions and individuals that receive funding from the public purse to account. We need to shine a bright light on issues that should never be brushed under the carpet.

The Metropolitan Police has been making the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons. It appears to be cyclical, every few years we hear of issues relating to the Met and the Black community, especially around stop and search. But now the landscape has shifted with the horrendous murder of Sarah Everard by a serving Police officer Mr Wayne Couzens. Women too now look on with caution, are they safe in the hands of the Police?

The recent Casey report, where Louise Casey had a moral responsibility to report the truth, which was a forensic report looking at every relevant set of data available to allow her work to be more informed.

This latest report lays bare the claim of racism, misogyny, and homophobia at the doorstep of the new Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, It proposes some recommendations for the force to fix itself, yes, fix itself!  But how can the force fix itself, if it is riddled with a dangerous insidious disease?

The Scarman report after the riots, the McPherson report after the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and many other reviews, reports, and recommendations for the force to change its culture and processes, but yet now, in 2023 we are still talking about the failings of the Metropolitan Police.

The claim of racism is something that has beset the force over a long period, despite some outreach community initiatives and much lip service which clearly has not led to enough tangible progress or change. I know this because over the years, my family have complained and challenged behaviours on many occasions. We have also participated as part of committees and groups that have sought to bring about change at the Met. We have not been alone on this, so has these conversations been in vain? Have they just fallen on deaf or ignorant ears?

Harry and Meghan

Investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence


On Wednesday 13th July 2023, I visited the Houses of Parliament. This was not my first visit, but it was my first observation of a debate held in the Westminster Hall. I entered through the Cromwell Green entrance where visitors are required to enter, it was a strict airport styled entrance – top security as you would expect. It wasn’t as intimidating as I had expected though, even though I witnessed many officers with guns hanging by their side on my walk towards the gates. Smiling and helpful staff allowed the time to ensure I was directed to my destination point with accuracy.

I was heading for the debate in the Westminster Hall entitled ‘Metropolitan Police investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence’. For most, if not all the debates there will be some available seating for the public to observe and witness proceedings. I arrived early to ensure I could be seated. Briefly I walked around the public spaces to take in the atmosphere of the massive estate. I then headed for the café for a quick coffee before the debate at 14.30hrs.

I was invited to follow the doorman, where he pointed out the required seating area for the public. The first face that I see on entering the hall, and already seated, is that of Baroness Doreen Lawrence, I smile and say hi before taking a seat. The eyes of Baroness Lawrence appear to have maintained a steely concentrated gaze over the years, one that shows that she is deep in her thoughts, focussed on her objective, whilst at the same time representing a protective mechanism against isms and folly. However, thirty years have now passed since the murder of Stephen, and although the work and fight continues, her demeanour indicates equilibrium and embedded serenity.

The MP for Eltham, Clive Efford began proceedings by setting out the rationale for the debate, and reiterating key points of the case. He spoke too of the BBC investigatory reporter who uncovered new information pertaining to the Stephen Lawrence investigation for the public to digest. Janet Daby, Marsha De Cordova, Abena Oppong-Asare, Dawn Butler, Kate Osamor, Anne McLaughlin, and Sarah Jones. All MP’s made powerful statements and comments to support the request for a further inquiry into the Mets handling of the case. We look forward to hearing about the next steps from this debate.

Harry and Meghan

Behaviours that have gone unpunished…

If you saw the BBC special report on the 26th June 2023, or have taken the time to study the case you will understand why a further investigation has been called for. We cannot simply allow this to be brushed under the carpet. How can, and why should the BBC be doing the job of the police?

Behaviours that have gone unpunished and unchallenged for years, behaviours which have meant others have just walked on by instead of challenging. They have created accepted norms which will be difficult to change, and now Sir Mark Rowley wants to row back against the repeated label of ‘Institutional racism’. What does this mean if you’re dismissing the label?

Reshape, Reform, Re-structure, or just polite words?

The Met needs to be reformed, that I feel is the only way we can have a better, stronger, and more together force to protect and serve all the public equally. If you take an elastic band and stretch it and then let it go it will always return to the original shape. If you stretch the elastic band too much it will snap and become useless. The function of the elastic band is to keep things together. I use this example as it best describes the Met, and possibly other forces around the country. Report after report has been carried out but still yet the Met, just like the elastic band reverts to common type, its original shape, culture, procedures, behaviours and mind-set remains static. So what can we do if it is no longer able to serve and protect in the way the public expects?

This is why we must hold the Metropolitan Police accountable, and we all have a duty, or at least the freedom to make your voices heard too. No longer is it just black people complaining and challenging, it is women, many women and other minority groups too. So for the first time we bear witness to other groupings joining in and understanding that something needs to be done.


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 27th July 2023


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