I trust the police in Parliament more than I trust any other police officer.
So, if Wayne Couzens who had a police parliamentary pass for his shift had told me to follow him because there had been a threat on my life, I would have followed him without even the need for handcuffs. He would have been armed with a gun and I would have felt initially protected and safe.
When we heard a rumour that his locker in Parliament had been searched, a few female MPs huddled together to whisper our deepest fears.
Cressida Dick has a big job ahead of her and I’m pleading with her, as the first female commissioner and the most senior woman in the Met, to help us turn our whispers into shouts of defiance.
I am asking Cressida to meet with Mina Smallman, Reclaim These Streets, Southall Black Sisters and others – not because it’s a woman’s problem, but because as women we are tired of the problem.
I’m calling for a new social contract, between the police and its citizens who are policed by consent. This new social contract is desperately needed. Because something big needs to change.
It has taken me decades not to be scared of the police. I’ve replaced early police brutality trauma with many positive views stemming from the interactions I’ve had with some amazing, committed police officers.
But there are persistent problems. For example, Black people are judged by the colour of their skin first. Black people are more harshly punished by the criminal justice system. It’s not fair or right.
Just imagine if all police officers were now judged by the brutal criminal acts of Wayne Couzens. Byline Times has reported that more than half of the Metropolitan police officers found guilty of sexual misconduct over a four-year period have remained in their jobs. How is this acceptable?
It really does feel like Trevor Noah was right, and the Met Police is also a rotten tree that produces some good apples. And the new recruits that are coming in need to be kept away from the rotting tree.
The one way to do this is by creating a new social contract that we all sign up to. It’s would be transparent, strengthened and renewed, setting out the ethics, standards and consequences if the contract is broken.
I have some ideas on what should be included but it’s important to have a discussion in London where an agreement can be found on the terms. Fundamentally, this new social contract should prioritise the protection of citizens all citizens regardless of the colour of their skin, sex, gender, disability, migrant status or religion.
If we all agree to this new social contract, then we will each endeavour to do the best we can as citizens. We will report those who are violent, commit crime or buy or sell illegal drugs.
We can only solve community crime issues with the help of the community and trust in the police service. I don’t want a new generation of people fearing the police, or a new set of police officers gaining power for the wrong reasons.
So, let’s start the journey for a new social contract between the police and all of us.