Ali Hassan Ali, previously stationed in the Central North Basic Command Unit in Islington, started working for the Met in 2019.
He joined the force wanting a change from his day job at National rail–and a role that would contribute to making a difference in the lives of young people.
But the 40-year-old said increasing violent crime in London made him want to do more. He said although he “loved” working for the Met it was “20 years behind”.
He said: “There is a culture that needs to change for sure and that culture that everyone talks about is embodied in some inspectors and its preventing officers like me from being happy for long and preventing them from connecting with communities we should be serving.”
“Some people who have really supported me in this job will know that I’m critical of the organisation because I care. It’s not because I’m one of those people who’s trying to make money off of it but I care for them to change things,” he added.
Although he agreed with the force’s plan to increase the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic officers, he said without a change in culture you could see more people leaving.
As the country gears to step into the next phase of the roadmap out of lockdown next month, Mr Ali said he’s focused on making change.
His initiative, dubbed ‘Chapter 1’, was set up during the pandemic and aims to “break the circuit” between young people and crime.
“I saw a lot of cases where young people felt they have to carry knives or they’re in gangs because of various reasons and I was just so tired of seeing these youngsters–who are really smart when I talk to them–suddenly having knives on them resorting to violence.
“So I just wanted to divert them and guide them and say, ‘look, you can do better than this, is this life worth it’,” he told the Standard.
Despite his departure, he said as well as working closely with councils he understands how “crucial” it is to find ways his organisation can work with the police in some capacity.
Chapter 1 is set on expanding its team including bringing in more women who can engage with the girls, who are “often under the radar.”
During the course of the pandemic, it was revealed that girls as young as 14 were being used by gangs and many were coerced to carry contraband for ‘elders’.
1,200 online grooming crimes were recorded by police across the UK during the April to June lockdown period while the National Youth Agency reported in June that there was an increased concern around the use of girls for gang activity.
A statement from the Met Police has said: “We are devoting huge resources into doing everything within our power to minimise violence - It is our priority and can affect anyone from any background.“But we simply cannot do this alone: Everyone has a role to play.
“Community leaders, businesses, politicians, youth workers, parents and teachers – quite literally anybody and everybody.
“There are several incredible initiatives ongoing in the Met all aimed at supporting young people, including the KickOff@3 football scheme and various programmes that officers from across London are embedded in on a local level.
“We also have safer schools officers, our Volunteer Police Cadet programme, and our youth engagement teams which all work to build strong relationships with young people and provide support and guidance,” they added.