Today marks two years since two beautiful sisters, Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman, were brutally murdered in a park in Brent. They must never be forgotten along with the countless other women whose lives have been taken too soon at the hands of men.

Violence against women and girls has reached endemic proportions. It is a stain on society and our duty is to keep campaigning for change that is so desperately needed. We want to provide a platform and a force for change.

We call for long overdue action at the heart of our institutions to ensure the safety of women and girls, so that tragedies like this will never happen again. Continuing as we are will not solve it – we need systemic, institutional reforms.

The Government and Metropolitan Police must undertake coordinated sustainable action to tackle violence against women and girls – on the streets, in the home, in the workplace, online and wherever else it may take place. Because enough is enough.

Action must also be taken to address the repeated instances of misconduct by some officers within the Met Police. The repeated incidents of unacceptable and at times criminal behaviour, as well as the large number of allegations of sexual misconduct, is extremely concerning. The Met have a well-developed actionplan to rebuild faith in their police service. This must include the dismissal of ‘bad apple’ police officers.

Finally, we believe that the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner must acknowledge the institutional racism and misogyny that still exists within the service. If we cannot admit these problems exist, how can we possibly hope to solve them. The new commissioner must be committed to institutional reforms, to working with the public to resolve problems and to ensuring that the service is as diverse as the public it seeks to serve. This is necessary in order to build trust in the Met among all of London’s people and communities.

While we recognise that the process is well under way to appoint the new Commissioner, we are clear that in future this new position cannot be chosen solely by the Home Secretary or Prime Minister. In future, the Commissioner must be chosen by Londoners as a whole – either directly or via their elected representatives. It is only fair and correct that Londoners have a say in who leads the service which seeks to protect and serve the people.

I look forward to working collaboratively with the next Met Police Commissioner, the many good officers in the police service and the many important stakeholders. We would welcome a meeting with the Home Secretary to discuss the above in further detail.

Dawn Butler MP and Mina Smallman

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