In my role as Deputy Chairman of the Southwark Police Independent Advisory Group (IAG) at London , I participated in sessions to view body worn videos and offer commentary. I am happy to report that the majority of the examples shown to me have included police officers successfully interacting with suspects in a friendly and courteous manner, acting professionally and sometimes with humor.
But on June 3rd, I observed a stop and search on a busy main road outside my home and wondered: "How many plainclothes police does it take to stop (in two unmarked cars) a young black moped? " Answer: eight. Although the officers were professional, there were too many of them. Was it necessary to handcuff the boy while they searched him? The biker looked terrified. He was innocent. Nothing was found. The eightofficers left.
The blacks were watching. Then an older black man approached the young boy and asked him if he was okay. The biker nodded, pulled himself together and continued on his way. The good work of screening and screening officers is undermined by bad apples who are aggressive or, in the example I gave, exaggerated.
While we do not want officers to be attacked in the performance of their duties, tensions and mistrust in some sections of our communities run deep. It may help if the The Metropolitan Police have become more proactive by improving the profiles of their community groups , such as AGIs, community watch groups(stop and search), safer neighborhood signs and safer neighborhood bo ards.
Instead, they were instructed by the Mayor of London to pass a valuable time in setting up a new group called police meet signs, when they need to ensure that the groups are fully representative of their local communities. The Met must promote all of these groups in the community as important forums in which citizens come face to face with the police and can have a productive dialogue with them.