Met police have ‘much further to go’ in rooting out racism and misogyny, says mother of murdered sisters

Former Met constables jailed for sharing photographs of the women’s bodies on WhatsApp

Harry Stedman
Wednesday 19 July 2023 05:30 BST
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The Metropolitan Police still have “so much further to go” in rooting out racism and misogyny in the force, the mother of two murdered sisters said.

Mina Smallman said a lack of acceptance and transparency persists in the Met, and that instances of both good and bad policing should be highlighted more often.

Ms Smallman’s daughters, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, were stabbed to death while out celebrating a birthday in a park in Wembley, north-west London, in June 2020.

Former Met constables Deniz Jaffer and Jamie Lewis were jailed for two years and nine months each in December 2021 for sharing photographs of the women’s bodies on WhatsApp, before the force was placed in special measures last June.

When they don’t do a good job, call it out. Likewise, when they do do a good job call it out, because we don’t want the good police to feel demoralised

Mina Smallman

Ms Smallman’s comments came ahead of the launch of the Alliance for Police Accountability (APA) on Wednesday, at which she is due to speak.

The alliance will see Black community organisations and esteemed individuals from across the UK working collaboratively to fight racist, misogynistic and homophobic policing.

Asked whether any progress has been made under Met Police commissioner Sir Mark Rowley, Ms Smallman told the PA news agency: “There has been an increased seriousness over vetting, for example, and I know they are working towards a better system of care for victims of domestic abuse and rape, but there is still so much further to go.”

Ms Smallman said it is a “huge disappointment” that Sir Mark refuses to accept there is “institutional racism” in the force.

The chief constables of Police Scotland and Avon and Somerset Police used the term to describe their forces in May and June respectively.

Ms Smallman added: “I will keep on having conversations with him (Sir Mark), because it isn’t about semantics, it’s not about throwing your colleagues under the bus, it’s about acknowledging and understanding as a white person why there is a lack of trust and saying ‘I can now see it from your point of view’.”

She said greater transparency and a more open disciplinary procedure is needed within the Met and other police forces nationwide.

However, she also stressed the importance of praising the work of officers when necessary to help rebuild confidence.

“When they don’t do a good job, call it out. Likewise, when they do do a good job call it out, because we don’t want the good police to feel demoralised,” she said.

“They feel they carry the entire burden of these bad officers in the force. We need to squeeze them out and prop up the good ones.”

Despite many issues still needing to be addressed, Ms Smallman said ahead of the APA launch that she believes “something’s going to change”.

Serving and former officers and victims of police failures, as well as disability activists and human rights campaigners, are all due to speak at the event.

She said: “ (With) organisations like this, we will call it out for you and we will challenge, but we do need the support of everybody.”

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