The Mayor of London has repeated his commitment to build trust between the police and black communities after a Labour MP accused the Metropolitan Police of racially profiling her. Dawn Butler, who represents Brent Central, said police remain “institutionally racist” after officers stopped her and a friend while they...
The Mayor of London has repeated his commitment to build trust between the police and black communities after a Labour MP accused the Metropolitan Police of racially profiling her.
Dawn Butler, who represents Brent Central, said police remain “institutionally racist” after officers stopped her and a friend while they were driving in Hackney.
The Met claims an officer wrongly entered the number plate of the vehicle and believed it was registered in Yorkshire – but did not explain why police then stopped the car.
Ms Butler believes it is because both she and the driver of the car were black and travelling in a relatively upmarket BMW.
It comes after Great Britain sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner accused the Met of racial profiling after they were stopped while driving in Maida Vale.
Like Ms Williams, Ms Butler has shared her experience and videos of the stop on Twitter – and a number of London politicians have shared their support.
Labour leader Keir Starmer condemned the backlash his MP has received online.
“All allegations of racial profiling must be taken extremely seriously by the Metropolitan Police,” he said on Twitter.
“The abuse Dawn has received over social media is wrong and must be condemned.”
Fellow London Labour MPs including David Lammy, Tulip Siddiq, Virendra Sharma and Sam Tarry also expressed their support.
And Green Assembly member Sian Berry, who is also co-leader of the party, said she stood in solidarity with the Labour MP.
“The reluctance of the police to admit there is systematic racism, and to work hard to change, must stop,” she said in a tweet.
“There must be honesty, dialogue with those of us in opposition, real listening to what communities are saying, and real action starting now.”
But Conservative London Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey accused Ms Butler of using her experience “for political gain”.
“I’ve been chased by the National Front. I’ve been called the n-word,” he said in a tweet. “So I know what racism is – and the police aren’t racist.”
The Met conducts 51 stop and searches per 1,000 black people in a year, compared to 11 stops per 1,000 white people, according to the latest Government statistics.
But London Assembly Conservative leader Susan Hall said it is “ridiculously one-sided” to judge the police based on social media videos if they can’t release their own footage from officers’ body worn cameras.
Ms Hall has now written to Met chief Cressida Dick calling for the footage of Ms Butler’s stop and search to be released.
If videos are released on social media showing one perspective on a search then “the body worn camera footage should be released to give Londoners the full story,” she wrote.
The Metropolitan Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, is also calling for the video to be shared publicly.
In a statement, Mr Khan said he “can completely understand why this incident was so upsetting” and welcomed Ms Butler raising her concerns.
“It’s absolutely crucial that there is better trust and confidence between the police and London’s black communities,” the Mayor said.
“City Hall is currently working with the Met and communities across London on an urgent new action plan to improve matters.”