A PROUD black female Metropolitan police officer, her uniform adorned with medals, shows off police trainees to the Asian heritage mayor of her city, London – one of the most diverse cities in Western Europe.
This is Robyn Williams who for more than 30 years served the communities of Nottinghamshire, London and beyond. She has drawn public confidence for her work with the survivors and families of the Grenfell tragedy.
Unfortunately, as Robyn rose through the ranks from constable to superintendent, the Met has kept looking for reasons to discredit her exemplary service and success as a female black senior officer. She has this in common with other black, Asian and ethnic minority officers; it is an indicator of institutional racism.
“Parts of the Metropolitan Police Service remain stubbornly institutionally racist”
How can a black female police officer after 36 years of unblemished service end up on a sex offender’s register? How have her employers summarily dismissed her?
The Met is dysfunctional, it is trying to recruit more black, Asian and ethnic minority officers, while at the same time appearing to send a clear message to London’s BAME communities: “You are not welcome in the Met, will never be one of us and will never lead us”.
This message comes just as prime minister Boris Johnson has invested in 20,000 more police officers.
Last year in my evidence as president of the National Black Police Association to the Home Affairs Select Committee’s (HASC) latest Macpherson enquiry, I said that parts of the Metropolitan Police Service remained stubbornly institutionally racist.
“I am left asking of Robyn’s case, is it because she’s black and a female?”
Dr Neville Lawrence, father of the murdered Stephen Lawrence, echoed my considered view. The Met has had ample opportunities since his son’s death in 1993 and Macpherson’s report in 1999 to show it has changed – the current commissioner denied to the same HASC enquiry that her force was institutionally racist, but she has forgotten that in 2003, when she was head of their diversity directorate she confessed her force would always be institutionally racist.
And here is the evidence: in the lack of discretion that meant our member was treated differently, the only one of 17 recipients of that indecent image who didn’t view it; the only one investigated and charged with a constant presumption that she must have lied when the evidence, agreed by the jury, was that she did not; and now an internal kangaroo court that alleges a lack of truthfulness that was never proven in criminal court.
I absolutely reject the Met’s special case hearing, as have white, black and brown people from all four corners of the UK who have expressed their horror at this case.
When a white, male police and crime commissioner has recently been found to have held multiple images of indecent nature for thirteen years without recourse, I am left asking of Robyn’s case, is it because she’s black and a female?
Tola Munro is the president of the National Black Police Association.