Met Police chief Cressida Dick has insisted that London’s force is not institutionally racist but said the phrase Black Lives Matter a ‘very important one’
Met Police chief Cressida Dick has insisted that London’s force is not institutionally racist but said the phrase Black Lives Matter is a ‘very important one’.
Protests have erupted across the capital in recent weeks, with many demonstrators claiming police forces in Britain have unfairly targeted Black people.
Commissioner Dick insisted that ‘Black lives do matter and should matter to us all’ but said her force is not racist.
She told HuffPost UK: ‘Over the last few weeks, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, I’ve become much better informed about the Black Lives Matter movement and multiple events –but in particular the appalling video of George Floyd’s death.
She added: ‘The phrase Black Lives Matter is a very important one. Black lives do matter and should matter to us all, obviously, and in this city of all cities and my police – which I believe is the best in the world and is here to bring justice, prevent crime and keep people safe.’
Protests in London – and across the UK – were sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the US, who died when white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds despite his desperate pleas that he ‘can’t breathe’.
He passed out and later died in Minneapolis on May 25.
His death is largely seen as a symbol of systemic racism against Black people, especially in police forces, and sparked world-wide protests.
Protests have erupted across the capital in recent weeks, with many demonstrators claiming police forces in Britain have unfairly targeted Black people. Pictured: A protester in London last weekend
A man wearing a mask raises his fist during a Black Lives Matter protest in London last Sunday
In the UK, police have been accused of taking controversial actions against Black men.
One such example was when police tasered rapper Wretch 32’s 62-year-old father Millard Scott causing him to fall down a flight of stairs.
Scotland Yard said an internal investigation has already found officers did nothing wrong.
The Macpherson Report in 1999, following the murder of Stephen Lawrence, branded the Metropolitan Police institutionally racist.
Commissioner Dick last year said the report had ‘defined my generation of policing’ and said the Met is now ‘utterly different’.
The capital this week saw waves of lockdown-defying raves.
A woman holds a banner during a Black Lives Matter protest in London last Sunday
People take part in a Black Lives Matter protest in London last weekend
A massive block party took place in West Kilburn yesterday afternoon before moving to Maida Vale where riot police with shields and truncheons battled hundreds of revellers who threw missiles at them.
Raves were seen in Brixton and Notting Hill earlier this week. Both turned violent and led to police injuries.
Commissioner Dick said ‘consequences will follow’ for those who attack officers and damage property.
She wrote in The Sun that it has been a ‘very difficult week’ in the capital, with officers coming under attack as they tried to break up crowds.
She said: ‘The officers I met this week were poised to deal with whatever they faced. Hundreds ready in full kit, should there be a violent or aggressive crowd to deal with.
Police speaking with revellers as illegal raves break out across the UK this week
Revellers packed Maida Vale after a crowd marched from a party in West Kilburn yesterday
‘My message to those involved in thuggery and criminal damage is consequences will follow.’
Dame Cressida earlier said the force had a ‘duty’ to stop unlawful music events during the Covid-19 pandemic and vowed: ‘We will be prepared this weekend.’
She said police were on the lookout for illegal parties after dozens of officers were injured in violent scenes in Brixton on Wednesday evening and in Notting Hill on Thursday.
Police speaking with revellers wearing face masks as illegal raves break out across the UK
The commissioner said: ‘We have seen some large numbers of people completely flouting the health regulations, seeming not to care at all about their own or their families’ health and wanting to have large parties.
‘It is hot. Some people have drunk far too much. Some people are just angry and aggressive and some people are plain violent.
‘We will be prepared this weekend. We have officers all over London working hard again to try to keep the peace and to protect our public from violence and disorder.’
She suggested the number of police injuries is now ‘heading up to 140-odd officers’ in the past three weeks, including those hurt during BLM protests.