Tuesday, 9 June 2015

The Met - Policing London .

In this Fly on the Wall Documentary , makers filmed with the MPS for 18 months and it is a warts and all telling of modern policing on the streets of London.

The opening moments of this first episode made me quite emotional. I am proud to  have lived in the Capital and can safely say I am happy to be protected by the Metropolitan Police. Having worked in and lived close to Tottenham, the first episode resonated with me strongly, having been in spitting distance of the violence sparked by the Mark Duggan Death, it was wonderful to see the Commissioner engaging with the local community and attempting to help a cabbie who had been robbed, breaking off the interview to take his staff officer to hunt down the culprit was wonderful television. An Arrest at every rank, including commissioner is quite a feat!

The calm demeanour of the featured Firearms officers in this documentary gave me confidence in the training offered before guns are placed in the hands of police. In times when the U.S. police are under extreme scrutiny this opportunity to compare and contrast the roles of coppers here in Blighty was welcome and I strongly recommend this programme for any U.S. Friends wondering how law and order can be enforced when only a select few, carry weapons as a matter of course.

Kudos to all who allowed themselves to be filmed during the result of the Duggan Public inquest, I think the programme showed exactly the tensions felt between Police and Ethnic Groups in the capital and the unrest that could have exploded. I was alarmed by the reaction to the police statement at the Lawful Killing ruling.  The family response was of course emotional and angry and that is natural but I was most interested by reaction to the Black Borough Commander who to my mind was composed, fair and correct in his summation that even now the whole issue in Tottenham boils down to Race which is sad, engagement with him to improve matters seemed impossible in the face of the preconceptions of the crowd. His comments were saddest to me that as a black man , that he feels that the issues run too deep to be totally healed and that violence will always boil over in the borough I called home for several years. I pray that this programme shows that the police care about how they are perceived as the message here was positive despite the massive mountain to climb to ensure trust in the Force is felt across all ethnic boundaries.

I was really pleased to see the successful policing Strategy of the Splash festival in Brixton, the fact that no violent crime occurred was testament to the community engagement and measured approach of those who actually understand and support peace in the most diverse ethnic London Boroughs . In all the inflammatory situations that officers were placed in, there was order and a quiet authority that for me at least bred confidence in the Met. It is starkly contrasted by the video footage I was directed to today  by a friend in America of a U.S. Officer from Texas terrorising a young black Teenage girl.

Telling statistics : 48,000 responses by armed police in London in four years, 23 bullets fired and two people killed by police in that time.  Comparison to the USA in recent months alone reveal that the Met's measured response works.

Well done BBC for this honest and enlightening documentary! I look forward to the rest of the Episodes!

May London one day be as idyllic as this photo.

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