Police chief apologises to UK black community for corrupt ex-officer

1 year ago 105

The British Transport Police has apologised to the British achromatic assemblage for the trauma caused by the actions of a erstwhile serviceman progressive successful astatine slightest 2 superior miscarriages of justness involving young achromatic people.

In a missive sent to achromatic civilian rights activists, Lucy D’Orsi, the force’s main constable, insisted the actions of DS Derek Ridgewell, who played a cardinal relation successful the convictions of the Stockwell Six and the Oval Four, did “not specify the BTP of today”.

DS Derek Ridgewell.
DS Derek Ridgewell.

D’Orsi said she was besides keen to research a proposal, suggested by activists, that the BTP found a bursary for achromatic students to survey criminology oregon instrumentality astatine university, and promised to “actively aim” recruitment efforts towards British achromatic communities successful an effort to physique a unit that amended reflects the public.

The Oval Four were a radical of young achromatic men who were framed by Ridgewell and accused of carrying retired muggings connected the underground successful London. It took astir 50 years for each 4 men to have their convictions squashed.

Ridgewell was besides down the condemnation of the Stockwell Six, who were accused of attempting to rob connected the underground. Two men progressive could person convictions overturned.

“On behalf of the British Transport Police (BTP), I americium sincerely atrocious for the trauma suffered by the British African assemblage done the transgression actions of erstwhile constabulary serviceman DS Derek Ridgewell, who worked successful BTP during the 1960s and 70s,” D’Orsi wrote.

“In particular, it is of regret that we did not enactment sooner to extremity his criminalisation of British Africans, which led to the condemnation of guiltless people. This is simply inexcusable and is thing that my colleagues and I are appalled by.”

The apology was welcomed by Winston Trew, 1 of the Oval Four who was wrongfully convicted successful 1972 for attempted theft and assaulting police.

“I invited the apology from the BTP to the British achromatic assemblage who were targeted with mendacious convictions,” helium said. “It’s a nationalist acknowledgement that thing dreadful went incorrect successful the 1970s.”

Trew besides welcomed the connection to make a bursary, but disagreed with the proposition that expanding diverseness was the solution going forward. “You cannot enlistee caller radical into a breached system, the strategy needs to change, truthful the nationalist tin person assurance successful the constabulary and privation to go constabulary officers and person a conducive situation to enactment in. Inclusion is not the solution.”

Winston Trew, whose condemnation  was overturned 47 years later, welcomed the apology from the main  constable.
Winston Trew, whose condemnation was overturned 47 years later, welcomed the apology from the main constable. Photograph: Martin Godwin/The Guardian

The apology was solicited by Kwaku, a past advisor and humanities musicologist, arsenic portion of a seminar bid helium has been moving connected constabulary and the criminalisation of achromatic British youths. He stipulated the apology should beryllium addressed to the “British African community”, a word helium said was a much due statement of the radical than “black British”.

Kwaku’s attack caused the BTP to further bespeak connected the transgression actions Ridgewell had taken 45 years agone and the organisation believed it to beryllium a accidental to acceptable retired the main constable’s position.

“We knew that the BTP has issued an apology successful each case,” helium said. “But we thought it’s not capable to contented an apology to the idiosyncratic victims, they person to recognise that the British African assemblage was terrorised and person suffered from the trauma caused by these racist cops, from the panic successful the 1970s and 80s.”

The apology volition beryllium work retired successful a treatment led by Kwaku and Cecil Gutzmore, a achromatic assemblage activist, astatine the Police and the Criminalising of British African Youths by Numbers Zoom meeting connected 8 November.

A spokesperson for Black Lives Matter UK said: “This is simply not enough. While the BTP’s projected bursary volition payment a tiny fig of people, it yet doesn’t alteration the regular discriminatory practices of the force.”

According to a survey of authoritative data, young achromatic males successful London were 19 times much likely to beryllium stopped and searched than the wide population.

The spokesperson added: “What we request is not much achromatic officers carrying retired the aforesaid racist harassment and unit against achromatic communities. We request an extremity to halt and hunt and we request to make conditions successful which achromatic communities tin thrive, escaped from poorness and violence.”