Defunding The London Metropolitan Police Isn't Such a Radical Idea
Wayne Couzens isn't an outlier, the culture of policemen abusing women and terrorizing people of colour is far more widespread than we realize.
Yesterday, Wayne Couzens, a former officer with the metropolitan police was convicted of the murder of Sarah Everard, a young woman who was walking back home from visiting a friend.
As is her wont, the head of the London metropolitan police, Cressida Dick released the following statement following the pronouncement of whole life sentences by the judge at the old bailey.
I am absolutely horrified that this man used his position of trust to deceive and coerce Sarah and I know you all are too… what he did was unthinkable and appalling."
She continued: "He has very considerably added to the sense of insecurity that many have in our cities, perhaps particularly women. I am absolutely sickened… this man has brought shame on the Met. We have been rocked.
I recognize that a precious bond of trust has been damaged. I will do everything in my power to ensure we learn any lessons. There are no words that can fully express the fury and overwhelming sadness that we all feel about what happened to Sarah. I am so sorry.
Reading the transcript of Cressida Dick's statement, you would be forgiven for thinking that Wayne Couzens was a one-off, a complete outlier in an otherwise fully functional police force, working to protect millions of Londoners, of whom women and people of colour make up a significant number, right?
Since the conviction of PC Couzens, several women have tweeted their experiences at the hands of the police. I have taken the liberty of embedding their tweets to this article to give readers a slight idea of the extent to which the police force is staffed by monsters.
The Tweets from Dr. Jessica Taylor, who is a chartered psychologist and a PhD holder in forensic psychology made other women post their experiences at the hands of male police officers.
James O' Brien, a prominent radio talk show host in London put forth the issues of the complete erosion of trust in the police force to a serving officer and the advice that the policeman gave was simply beyond extraordinary:
The Met Police has said people should run away and call 999 if they feel in danger when stopped by a lone person claiming to be an officer.
The force has urged people to try to get help if they believe the person who stopped them is not genuine.
However, if that doesn't happen and you do find yourself in an interaction with a sole police officer and you are on your own, it is entirely reasonable for you to seek further reassurance of that officer's identity and intentions," the force said.
The spokesperson added that people who get stopped should ask "where are your colleagues, where have you come from, why are you here and exactly why are you stopping or talking to me?"
But the issue here is that if you are a Black or a Brown man in London, you don't have the luxury of running away from the police.
" To do a runner" in the eyes of everyone is seen as a presumption of guilt and that gives the authorities the latitude to act as untoward as they want.
Back in July 2005, in the immediate aftermath of the London bombings, a Brazilian immigrant by the name of Jean Charles de Menezes was walking to the train station dressed in appropriate clothes for the season and based on the CCTV footage had no idea that he was being followed by the police.
And yet he was shot in the head, mistaken for a terrorist, who looked nothing like him.
The information disseminated to the wider public was that he was dressed in winter clothing and he was running away from the police, when no such thing happened.
There also was the case of Mark Duggan, a young Black man from Tottenham, North London, whose execution by the metropolitan police in August 2011 sparked the worst riots in Britain for generations.
We can never forget the case of Stephen Lawrence, a young Black teenager who was murdered by five racist thugs in 1993. Police inertia and corruption led to the suspects walking away scot-free at the first trial. It took an inquiry into police incompetence and a change in law to finally ensure that a conviction was achieved in 2012, nineteen years after the original crime took place.
Given what we know about the police as it relates to their institutional failings and their profound inability to serve the public, we are impelled to ask the all important question, isn't it time defund the metropolitan police?
The annual budget for the MPS is 3.24 billion pounds, which is drawn exclusively from the public coffers.
If you are a young woman or a person of colour living in one of the most vibrant and important cities in the world, it's only natural to be aggrieved by the spate of physical and sexual abuse from those meant to be protecting them.
It was the comedian, Chris Rock, who said in his tambourine stand up that there are professions that are not allowed to have bad eggs.
The police force is one of them.
And yet, what have seen are a high number of officers, flagrantly abusing their powers at every turn with impunity.
The time to put a stop to the abuse of women is now, the time to defund the metropolitan police is now.