The British Youth Council is alarmed and concerned by the findings of Baroness Casey’s report on the Metropolitan Police. The report’s conclusions reiterate many of the issues young people in the youth voice movement have been highlighting for some time, including the issues of anti-black police brutality and racism.
The national youth council is distressed by the conclusion that black Londoners have been ‘over policed and under protected’ and by the force’s treatment of women – both within and external to the force. The litany of sexual abuse and misconduct claims illustrate that a significant overhaul needs to happen to regain public trust.
Children were also referenced as being neglected by the police and put at greater risk as a result. Black children are recognised as being uniquely vulnerable to over-policing, notably in instances of stop and search, which needs a ‘fundamental reset’. The consequences of police misconduct on young people risks leaving lifelong scars.
The youth-led charity calls for renewed efforts to address the longstanding problems of racism, homophobia, misogyny and violence within British policing. The organisation also demands the UK Government and other elected representatives address the solutions brought forward by grassroots campaigners and young people seeking an approach that addresses the root causes of issues our communities have encountered.
Zara Khan, Chair of the British Youth Council said, “Many people will feel vindicated by the findings of Baroness Casey’s report. It should not be lost on us that young people have often been at the forefront of highlighting some of the issues spotlighted in this report.
“We are very clear. British policing has a duty to protect people, and individuals should be able to trust police officers. To bring forward the necessary changes, a complete overhaul of the way we deliver public safety is necessary, but this must be coupled with addressing the multitude of issues facing communities including the root causes which compound their hardship.”
The British Youth Council feels we should divest from the police and invest in communities, calling on councils and elected officials to divest resources away from policing in budgets and reallocate them to healthcare, housing and education. They also feel local schools, colleges, universities and all public institutions should cut ties with the police in the interest of public safety.
Similarly to the recommendation in the Casey Review, members also believe that black young people living in the UK should be treated equally in our communities and in society, stressing that the law should ensure this is the case. The charity repeats calls for the government to address racism in the UK. According to the charity’s own research, racism remains a prevalent issue in the lives of young people. The charity also found people’s attitudes towards racism have become normalised, suggesting the government needs to do more to address racism.