We also need the police to recruit from the communities that they represent and protect, so that officers look like, sound like and understand the communities they work in. In an area such as Tottenham, that must mean recruiting more black officers.Because while rioters are happy to peg a flaming bit of looted furniture at PC Dave or PCSO Susan, they will stop and think twice before doing so at PC Winston or PCSO LaShawna?
Seriously? That’s what you believe?
When the police leadership feels accountable and the rank and file feel representative then two things can happen. The public can feel assured that they will be treated with an even hand by people who know and understand their patch. And the police have more authority to act quickly and assertively when order breaks down. Formal accountability and informal legitimacy would stop small-scale protests from escalating into five-day nationwide riots, as happened last summer.I really can’t see how the ‘small-scale protest’ referred to would have been nipped in the bud if the officers that didn’t come out and speak to them – or who gunned down the suspect in the first place – were the same colour.
And the rioters, in Lammy’s own words in this article, don’t seem to be concerning themselves much with representative police forces or accountability; they just want free stuff and for no-one – black, white, polka-dotted – to be able to stop them:
I have seen the footage taken from cameras hidden in officers' helmets, and I will never forget it. This was a Grand Theft Auto culture writ large. The rioters' faces showed a mixture of extreme menace and a warped, lightheaded happiness that is difficult to understand, and even more difficult to deal with.It’s not ‘difficult to deal with’ at all.
We don’t need more black, brown, yellow; we need more blue, and for them to be given the wherewithal (authority, opportunity, equipment) to stop the rioters in their tracks.