An Open Response To Dawn Butler MP

Last Updated on September 11, 2020 by RetiredAndAngry

On this occasion I write solely in response to Dawn Butler’s recent article in the Guardian.

I have no way of knowing whether the picture below is anything to do with your or if the Guardian have inexplicably added it for dramatic effect, but, in my opinion, it does your case no favours.

You have made much in recent days about your unfortunate experience at the hands of the Metropolitan Police and how you were allegedly Racially Profiled.  Well I have a few things to say on that matter, some of which have been covered already by Sir Steve House, and some, as far as I am aware, have not.

Having viewed your footage where the rather polite and patient officer was trying to explain to you why you had been stopped, you would not let him speak, he couldn’t get a word in edgeways.  If you had listened more than you spoke you may have understood why you had been stopped.

You claim that you were Racially Profiled and that is the only reason that you were stopped.  Well I have to say that it was the vehicle that was stopped, and predominantly the driver.   Despite your protestations and assurances that the driver was Black, the man in the video definitely appears to be white.  So how was he Racially Profiled?

As has certainly been referenced to by Sir Steve House, it is impossible to see who, or how many, was in the car due to the tinted windows in the back, commonly known as Privacy Glass.  I wonder why they call it that?  From behind it would not have been possible to come to ANY conclusions about the occupants of the vehicle.

You have stated on numerous occasions that you and your friend were stopped because the car was erroneously believed to be registered in Yorkshire, and you have made much of that being an insufficient reason for stopping somebody.  Under normal circumstances I would agree with you, stopping a car in London merely because it was registered in Yorkshire would normally be very weak grounds for stopping the vehicle and its occupants without any other mitigating factors. BUT.  Consider this.  It has been explained to you, and the Met has apologised, that a simple error was made by somebody when the car was checked on the PNC and either the officer on the street supplied an index number that was wrong by one digit, or the officer conducting the check made a simple typo. This resulted in a response indicating (erroneously) that the vehicle you were travelling in was registered in Yorkshire.  However, if you were travelling in a purple VW Golf for instance, it is highly unlikely that the ‘wrong’ vehicle in Yorkshire was also a purple VW Golf.  It is highly likely that the vehicle in Yorkshire was anything but a purple VW Golf, and this alone would have given the officers ample grounds to stop the vehicle and speak to the occupants.  It may have been stolen and on false plates.  As an elected MP you must surely support the Police in their attempts to combat crime of any kind‘  The vast majority of officers are truly colour blind when it comes to their dealings with suspects, victims or any other sector of the public they encounter during their duties.  You are obviously one of the MPs for Brent, well I was a Police officer in Brent from 19272 until the early 90s and we had a variety of BAME officers at my station and on my Relief during that time, I got to work with some of them very closely, and I can honestly say that the only Racism I witnessed towards them was not from their colloeagues but from some of the residents of Brent, or vile, hostile criticisms from BAME residents, not in themselves racist by highly derrogatory.  Not once did I hear any comment from a fellow officer that made me feel uncomfortable.  Some were very good at their job, some less som that had nothing to do with race and the very same thing could be applied to the white officers there.  A wide and varied range of personalities and abilities.

Returning to my opening comments about the image associated with your Guardian article, you are probably unaware that I have a keen interest in Knife Crime in general and certaily in the capital.  I have campaigned vociferously, without any support from politicians of any party, to have Knife Angel installed on the 4th Plinth of Trafalgar Square for a month to raise the profile of Knife Crime, but not one politician has run with the idea and promoted it.  Becuse of my interest I have recently conducted a study of Murders in the capital.  My original work did not include Brent because I concentrated on the ‘top 3’ Boroughs in London.  Well it may surprise and alarm you that Brent is Number 4 in the List.  Hackney, where you were stopped, is Number 5.

Chart 1

If it will assist you I will do for Brent what I did for the top 3 Boroughs and highlight some potentially uncomfortable facts.

Chart 2

Chart 2, clearly shows that the predominant age group for both Victims and Accused Persons is the 25 to 34 year old group. Not Children as was apparent in the South London Boroughs, seemingly a totally different problem.  It is maybe relevant that a total of 179 persons were charged with murdering a total of 119 persons.

Chart 3

Looking solely at those persons charged with an offence of Murder, the majority have been in the 20 to 24 Age Group (31%) followed closely by the 25 to 34 year old and then the 13 to 19 year olds.  Children are clearly a problem in Brent, but again, unlike the South London Boroughs, the 20 to 34 year olds are far bigger problem in Brent.

Chart 4

Chart 4 gives us a clear indication that the Afro Community is by far and away the predominant ethnicity in both Victims and Accused Persons, leading me to the inevitable conclusion that, in Brent, Black People are killing other Black People.  This is most definitely an urgent problem, but is Race a factor?  I would have to say probably not.

Chart 5

Chart 5, tells us quite clearly that 59% of Persons charged with Murder between 2003 and end of March 2020 have been Black.  I have no idea why that is, that is for other people to identify the reasons and address them, but is is staggering statistic that needs to be addressed as a priority.

Chart 6

Finally, analysis of the 119 offences reveals that 91 of them were committed using some form of weapon (not including a motor vehicle), Blunt Instrument 4, Knife or Sharp Implement 54 and Shooting 33.  I refer back to the image at the top of this post.  s1 PACE Stop/Search would leave all of these weapons vulnerable to being found by Police prior to an offence being committed, thus, potentially saving lives.  s60 PACE likewise,  Potential savings of life can never be quantified, but is it really appropriate to shackle the hands of Police Officers and remove or restrict a valuable tactic thet they can use to detect weapons and prevent killings?  Do you really think that stopping or restricting Stop/Search is more important or valuable than the possibility tht even just ONE life might be saved, and a killing preventing (and family upheavals) prevented?

As far as TASER is concerned it is a valuable alternative to the use of Lethal Force.  Faced with a suspect armed with a knife, it is entirely possible, dependant upon circumstances, that person might end up being shot dead, quite justifiably, by a Police Firearms Officer.  TASER provides options to make that less likely.  Getting ‘zapped’ I’m sure is preferable to most people than getting killed.

If the image above is in no way associated with you, then maybe you could point that out to the Guardian, ask them to remove it and maybe even post a retraction statement.  If the image is associated with you, maybe you could just consider my arguments above and possibly reconsider?

I thank you’

4 comments on “An Open Response To Dawn Butler MP

  1. Are we sure about the racial appearance of the male driver? If not, maybe considering editing, it weakens and devalues your main point about the vehicle stop and the registration. It’s something that has been passed about by some of the most racist social media accounts.

    Also I’m certain the image will have been chosen by a member of newspaper staff, so I would take this up with them and separate it from your excellent explanation about the stop.

    • I have no idea who the driver of the vehicle was, but having seen the video he certainly appears to be white, although his face has been pixellated. Ms Butler is adamant that he is black. It makes no difference to me, it just seems odd.

  2. Very illuminating, but perhaps the same analysis over the last , say 3 to 5 years would provide a more timely snapshot, and could also indicate whether the problem identified, is getting better or worse..

    • I have the relevant data, what I am short on is time. From memory the problem improved in 2012-16 or so, then got worse again

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