Priti Patel ‘must consult young Londoners’ over new Met Police chief

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Priti Patel ‘must consult young Londoners’ over new Met Police chief
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Justice campaigners have written to Priti Patel demanding young people and ethnic minorities are consulted over Dame Cressida Dick’s replacement as Commissioner to restore faith in Scotland Yard.

Nina Champion, representing 170 grassroots organisations, told the Home Secretary there had been a “long history of poor relations” between the Metropolitan Police and London’s diverse communities, particularly around stop-and-search.

Ms Champion, of the Criminal Justice Alliance, and Action for Race Equality’s Jeremy Crook, wrote in a joint open letter: “The new Commissioner will need to acknowledge past harms and start a process of reconciliation.

“Trust won’t be rebuilt overnight, but effective leadership is crucial to set the right tone needed to begin that process as a matter of urgency.”

They added: “In light of this, we would like a commitment that the recruitment process will involve people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities who have experienced policing, and that their views will be considered and valued.

“There are many community groups in London who work with young people on issues around policing who could be engaged in designing a process in which they would have some meaningful input.”

Last week, the Met was embroiled in a new race storm.

Five officers involved in the July 2020 search of Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos in Maida Vale were charged with gross misconduct.

Dame Cressida Dick resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner in a shock move earlier this year (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)
Dame Cressida Dick resigned as Metropolitan Police Commissioner in a shock move earlier this year (Victoria Jones/PA) (PA Wire)

Other recent scandals include the murder of Sarah Everard, 33, by PC Wayne Couzens, WhatsApp exchanges between officers at Charing Cross and the unjustified strip-search of 15-year-old black schoolgirl Child Q in Hackney.

Two constables were also jailed for sharing images of the bodies of murder victims Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry on WhatsApp.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Ms Williams’ case showed the need for Dame Cressida’s successor to draw up a “more effective plan to tackle the serious cultural issues” within the force to regain trust.

Sir Stephen House is acting Commissioner until a permanent successor is appointed in the summer. The closing date for applications is May 4.

An advert for the role states: “It has become evident that significant and sustained improvements need to be made within the Met to restore public confidence and legitimacy in the largest police force in the UK.

“This will require inspirational leadership to deliver a demonstrably more professional police force, that better reflects the diversity of London itself.”

A Met spokesman said it was working hard to rebuild trust and confidence within communities but the recruitment of the next Commissioner was a matter for the Home Office.

A Home Office spokesman said: “The Home Secretary has been clear that efforts to recruit a new Commissioner would commence as quickly as possible, however the priority will be to select the very best person to lead the country’s largest police force and make London an even safer place to live and work.

“The Metropolitan Police’s culture, including allegations of racism, has rightly come under scrutiny recently.

“We will make clear to its new commissioner that all officers and members of the public must be treated fairly and without prejudice, no matter their race or background.

“We have launched the public advertisement and the selection process will follow fair and open principles.”

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