Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville and Cllr Susan Fajana-Thomas, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, respond to the Mayor of London’s Action Plan, which aims to rebuild trust and confidence in the Metropolitan Police and tackle the use of disproportionate policing affecting Black Londoners.

Hackney is a proud, diverse and inclusive borough with a long-history of fighting racism in all its forms, but we are not complacent – the systemic injustices that Black people and other communities continue to face show us that much more needs to be done to eradicate the scourge of systemic racism in our institutions. 

We are pleased that the Metropolitan Police have agreed to implement recommendations made in the Mayor of London’s Action Plan to tackle disproportionate policing. However, we must recognise the importance of tackling systemic racism and scrutinising the Police at a local level by closely working with local communities, who must be at the heart of shaping policies that affect them.

We recently heard from local young people at the launch of Hackney Young Futures Commission’s “Valuing the Future Through Young Voices” report – which consulted with over 2,500 young people from across the borough – who told us about their experiences of growing up in Hackney. Understanding these lived experiences is central to shaping and driving work to improve the lives and opportunities of young people in our borough. We have committed to working with Hackney Young Futures Commission and other local partners to implement the report’s recommendations in full. 

Council officers have also been working with the Police and youth-led research group Hackney Account to implement the recommendations from Account’s review into policing in the borough, which was conducted by local young people. As part of this, we’re working together to ensure a shared understanding of the systemic nature of racism, better training for officers, improved engagement with communities, greater transparency and stronger processes for holding the police accountable for their actions – ensuring that those most affected by stop and search have their voices heard. A joint trust and confidence action plan is being developed and a working group is being convened to monitor and drive progress of this work. We’ll be holding an event in March next year to share our plans and progress on this work with community partners.

The urgency of this work is further highlighted by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC)’s review into the use of stop and search which revealed significant failings, such as the excessive use of handcuffs, inappropriate use of stop and search and failure to properly use body cameras. 

We recently joined colleagues and partners from the Council, IOPC, the Police, Hackney Account and other local organisations at the Living in Hackney Scrutiny Commission to discuss the IOPC’s findings, and how they can be swiftly implemented to rebuild faith and trust in the police across all of our communities.

However, we recognise that stop and search makes up just one part of a wider, deep-rooted systemic issue at the core of British institutions and societies, and we will do everything in our power to tackle it in the round – as outlined in our ambitious Hackney’s Black Lives Matter motion, which was passed this summer. 

This motion includes implementing a pioneering new Black history curriculum – developed by Hackney teachers and Council staff – to teach local children about the many untold stories that make up our nation’s history, which have been neglected by the national curriculum for far too long. 500 local schools have already signed-up to Hackney’s diverse curriculum, and we look forward to seeing it in action in classrooms across the borough. 

We’re also inviting residents to share ideas for the names of public spaces and landmarks in Hackney to ensure that our diversity and inclusivity is reflected in our buildings, streets, parks and other public spaces in our borough. Any names put forward must have a Hackney connection and represent our values of equality, anti-racism, innovation and community activism. These suggestions could also be used to replace the names of places named after slave traders and plantation owners, as part of our community-led review into landmarks and the naming of public spaces in Hackney. We’d love to hear any ideas you have for this project. 

We have also set up a Community Accountability Board as part of our Improving Outcomes for Young Black Men programme, which will support local Black people to hold institutions to account on their progress in tackling racism and inequality. We look forward to working with the Board to help us better understand and tackle systemic racism in Hackney. 

These are just some of the ways we’re working to tackle systemic racism in Hackney and to improve outcomes for young Black men. However, we recognise that much more work still needs to be done to rebuild faith in institutions in all of our communities. We will continue working with our communities and our partners in the Police, Hackney Account, Hackney Young Futures Commission and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) to rebuild a better Hackney for everyone.

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