Since the renewed BLM movement swung into action, one its brightest spotlights has been fixated on the police force.
For the first time, calls to “defund the police” have reached the mainstream and people are discussing what could happen if less funding was allocated to the police, and more was placed into community services who could pick up some of their work.
One of the major reasons for this are repeated assertions that the police are institutionally racist.
This was declared an official fact in 1997, in the Macpherson report into the murder of Stephen Lawerence found London’s Metropolitan Police force to be “instiutionally racist”.
But despite high-ranking ex-police officers, like Leroy Logan, stating nothing has changed, Met Police commissioner Cressida Dick denied last week that it was the case.
In a ITV debate yesterday, Black writer Chanté Joseph outlined to Helen Ball, the assistant commissioner of the Met Police why adding more ‘diversity’ to their ranks didn’t solve anything.
During the programme, titlted Stephen Lawrence: Has Britain Changed?, Joseph said:
I think policing as an entire institution is just rotten to the core.
It’s not an issue of bad apples, the whole tree is rotten. Our whole justice system is rotten. The way that we prosecute white people and Black people for the same crime but a Black person will get a longer sentence.
The whole institution is wrong and more police officers of colour doesn’t change anything. You still have a racist institution, you just have an agent of racism that is Black.
Ball disagreed, saying that “very many people” are “interested in joining us” which didn’t quite address Joseph’s point, which was not that Black individuals don’t want to join the police, but that the police are racist.
Ball was quickly met with a response from Joseph who asked:
I just wonder why so many ex-Black police officers are now writing these really damning books [about] their experiences in the police force and the police institution if having more Black police officers is a good thing for our communities.
Within policing itself they’re being subjected to racism, it doesn’t make any sense.
Black police officers have condemned the police as institutionally racist in recent weeks, including author Kevin Maxwell, who wrote about his experiences in 'Forced Out'.
“Recruiting Black, brown and gay people for the sake of it is never going to work,” Maxwell said in a recent interview with The Face.
“You need to recruit people who want to be cops. But the most important thing I said to The Guardian, what I do stand by 100 per cent, is you don’t want to recruit people just to look different. You want to recruit people to think different. More black and brown or LGBTQ+ faces isn’t alone going to solve the issues of racism and homophobia”.
His comments appear to back up Joseph’s remarks, which are being praised on social media.
She was praised for pointing out that people of colour can be made “agents of racism”.
The entire programme seemed to be a thought-provoking watch.
Too bad some people were still watching the football...