Siobhan Benita

Siobhan Benita: Investigate whether Met Police still institutionally racist

Siobhan Benita, Lib Dem Candidate for Mayor of London, has called on the Mayor of London to investigate whether or not the Met Police is still instiutionally racist.

The Macpherson Report, in 1999, used that label to describe the force following an enquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence. Twenty-one years later and the Black Lives Matter protests in London are still expressing grievances about the disproportionate targeting of BAME communities by the police.

Sadiq Khan has recently announced plans to review the Met Police's use of stop and search and other practices. But Siobhan Benita has described the plan as reactive and claims they do not go far enough.

Siobhan Benita, Lib Dem Candidate for Mayor of London, said:

"These hastily drawn up plans are reactive and disingenuous. During his term as Mayor, Khan has supported the introduction of controversial facial recognition technology and increased the use of stop and search across the capital - both of which unfairly target black Londoners and both of which I and others have opposed.

"In a recent interview, he refused to acknowledge the Met Police may still be institutionally racist - any review that does not investigate whether or not the force still deserves this label will be inadequate.

"In the past four years, we have seen the biggest breakdown in trust between police and communities in London in a generation. Even during the Coronavirus pandemic, we've seen a disproportionate targeting of BAME communities for lockdown fines. If we're to take systemic racism in Britain seriously, we must be prepared to ask the question: is the Met Police still institutionally racist?"

Following the announcement of a City Hall review into London's statues and public realm, Benita added:

"Being a good ally goes beyond speaking up during moments of protest and public outcry. I called for a deep-dive review into London's structural inequality back in February. Where was the Mayor's acknowledgement of this issue then?

"His announcement to review statues and the public realm is clearly in direct response to what happened in Bristol. We need a much bigger and wide-ranging review, looking into City Hall and how all of its responsibilities contributes to systemic racism in the capital. I will be watching closely to ensure that these announcements are not just another PR opportunity for the Mayor."

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