The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said following yesterday’s inquest verdict:
I have spent the morning in meetings with elected leaders from Tottenham & Haringey and other significant figures in the community. I invited them to meet me at Scotland Yard to talk about how we can move forward together to strengthen relationships after the inquest verdict yesterday.
Before I give my comments about those meetings, I would first like to record my thanks to Mark’s family for expressing their desire to pursue their case peacefully, and discouraging further demonstrations or protests. That’s a very dignified way to respond in what are clearly very distressing circumstances for them.
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley’s offer to meet them remains open – anything they can do to help us reduce the risk of this happening in future we will be grateful for.
Today’s meetings with political and community leaders have shown me the tremendous determination there is to strengthen relationships with the Met.
They have told me of the dismay and anger at the verdict. We have all talked about our belief that we must move forward.
The leaders I met are committed to work hard with us to ensure that their community is not disrupted now as it was in 2011. We will continue to work with them now and in the future to make sure that local people and local businesses stay as safe as possible.
This is about a relationship. It has much history and many difficult moments over the years. Yesterday was another. And yet the positive & constructive way in which we have discussed this challenge gives me great hope for the future.
This is a vibrant, energetic part of London that has a fantastic future ahead of it. I am proud of Tottenham, and I’m proud that the Met is doing our bit to support that. We have a terrific, energetic Borough Commander Victor Olisa who’s working in partnership with others in local government, in business, in sport, in to fulfil that terrific potential.
Under my leadership, we have significantly increased the number of officers we have in neighbourhood policing, in Tottenham and across London.
The closer we are to communities, the more likely we are to have their support and the more effective we can be at tackling crime and making this the safest global city.
We want more black Londoners amongst our neighbourhood police officers, and anyone who wants to join the Met has a great opportunity right now as we’re recruiting thousands of officers over the next couple of years.
We’re working with the Mayor to set up new neighbourhood boards across London, and that will provide a new way in which people from all communities can develop a better relationship with us.
We do have a particular concern about our relationship with younger members of the black community. That’s why since I became Commissioner I have significantly reduced the use of stop & search. We rarely use the powers we have to do blanket searches across an area, and concentrate on searching where we have intelligence to suggest we should.
We know we have more to do to further reduce the use of stop and search. That will come through better training of our officers and developing the sensitive way in which we use our powers.
I have also focused on doing all we can to reduce the risk of anyone dying in policy custody. We train our officers carefully and we’ve sought help from an independent commission chaired by Lord Victor Adebowale to help us understand the particular issues associated with mental health. No one has died in four years and we’re doing all we can to keep it that way.
We acknowledge the jury had concerns about the way in which we gathered intelligence prior to this incident. We await any recommendations the judge or the IPCC, who have yet to complete their report, will make about this before we consider our response.
We will also ask how we and others can find new ways to ensure fewer young men choose a life of gangs and armed criminality and go on to become successful, prosperous members of our community