19 July 2023

Mother of murdered sisters calls for more black Met officers in communities

19 July 2023

The mother of two murdered sisters has called for more black officers to be deployed by the Metropolitan Police in local communities.

Mina Smallman said action rather than words was needed to signify progress, and again called on senior Met officials to accept the term “institutionally racist”.

It comes after the Met announced plans to overhaul the force with a £366 million two-year scheme, dubbed A New Met for London.

The police have got to stop thinking their main task is to cover up the misdemeanours. We know that there’s a problem – let us work with you and let us in

It includes an increased emphasis on neighbourhood policing in a bid to rebuild public trust, moving 240 officers from central to local teams, and using terrorist-style tactics to catch the 100 worst predators targeting women in London.

Speaking at the launch of the Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) in London on Wednesday, Ms Smallman said “we have to celebrate any movement that will help support women”, but added: “I think they need to welcome police officers of colour into that work that they’re doing, because they know the communities and grew up with them.

“The police have got to stop thinking their main task is to cover up the misdemeanours. We know that there’s a problem – let us work with you and let us in.”

Ms Smallman’s daughters, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, were stabbed to death while celebrating a birthday in a park in Wembley, north-west London, in June 2020.

Former Met constables Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis were jailed for two years and nine months in December 2021 for sharing photographs of the women’s bodies on WhatsApp, before the force was placed in special measures last June.

A review by Baroness Casey, published in March, found the force to be institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic after a series of scandals, including the murder of Sarah Everard by a serving officer and Pc David Carrick being unmasked as a serial rapist.

Ms Smallman said: “The evidence is there. Blood, sweat and tears are poured into these reports, only for them to eventually be put on the shelf and gather dust.”

She said she had spoken to Met Assistant Commissioner Louisa Rolfe, who attended the launch, about accepting the term “institutionally racist”, after repeatedly calling on Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to do so.

The APA will see black community organisations and individuals across the UK working collaboratively over an initial three-year period to fight racism, misogyny and homophobia, including through the construction of an anti-racist policing charter.

Lee Jasper, chairman of the APA, said: “We intend to scientifically scrutinise the implementation and effectiveness of these plans, and make sure our communities are aware of how well or not the Met is doing in relation to their rollout.”

Also speaking at the launch, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour MP for Streatham, said Lambeth had the lowest trust and confidence in policing of all London boroughs, owing to a disproportionate use of stop and search in the area, adding black people in London were “over-policed as citizens and under-policed as victims”.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox