To say that all police officers are racist is a “ridiculous assertion” according to Shaun Bailey, a black candidate hoping to be the next Conservative Mayor of London since the UK’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, left the post in 2016.
“I don’t believe the police are racist, not all police officers are racist. I think that is a ridiculous assertion,” Bailey said in an interview on Friday on Chopper’s Politics, the Telegraph’s weekly political podcast.
Asked if he thought the police were “institutionally racist,” Bailey, who was a youth worker for over 20 years, said that London’s Metropolitan Police (Met) are “working hard every day to repair that assertion.”
“Is the Met perfect? Of course not, because it is made up of people. Are they doing considerably better? Absolutely,” he added.
Bailey said the police should be supported to improve further.
“What we should be doing is supporting them to do better, not always beating them over the head, because nobody—particularly black communities—benefit from a police force that is too afraid to do its job,” he said.
Stop and Scan
Tough on crime, Bailey wants to introduce new “stop and scan” technology as an addition to stop and search, a UK police power that that has long met with controversy over the proportionally higher numbers of black people being stopped under it compared to white people.
Stop and scan, Bailey said, is a non-invasive technology that can distinguish whether someone is, for example, carrying keys or a knife.
Stop and scan shows criminals that “if you are armed then we will find you” and lowers the “hassle factor” around stop and search, he said.
When asked if he thought stop and search was racist, Bailey said that “if a tactic is racist or not falls to the people who deliver it.”
Bailey said he himself had been stopped by the police “tens of times” and most of the time it “has been fine.”
“But the point is that it is part of keeping us safe—you cannot eradicate stop and search,” he said.
According to Bailey it’s the nature and style of the stop that matters, not the fact that it happens, and police officers need to be supported to “understand the history” of young black men being stopped.
“99.999 percent of police officers join [the police force] for the right reasons and want to learn and want to be better,” he said.
Bailey is standing for Mayor of London on a platform of crime reduction, and transport and housing improvement as the most important issues for London.
His London mayoral campaign highlights what he calls the current “unsustainable” level of crime in the city.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) at the end of last year recorded London, at 169 per 100,000 population, as having the highest rate of knife crimes in the country.
Helping Others Succeed
Bailey, 49, a former special adviser to former UK Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, and a current member of the London Assembly, which holds the London Mayor to account and champions issues for Londoners, was born and raised in the capital on a council estate by his single mother.
He experienced homelessness and unemployment, but he worked part time to get through university and turned his life around.
He said his experience of success had been inspiring to others.
“My journey has been useful, it’s been an inspiration to my children; we talk about it a lot. The community I come from are all proud of me, if they’re conservative or not,” he said.
Bailey said he wanted to help others in the city succeed “no matter where they started.”
“I am a Londoner. I know what it’s like to struggle in London. I also know what it’s like to succeed in London,” he said.
“Be us black, Moroccan, Spanish, Eritrean, Irish, from Kent, the fact that we’re poor should not be a limiting factor to where we go; our imagination, our drive should be that … and we should be proud of our Britishness,” Bailey said, adding that one of his personal motivating forces is to make his mum proud.
The London mayoral elections would have taken place in May but will now be held in May 2021 following a delay due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as novel coronavirus.
Your pledge to end the sister city relationship between London and Beijing is very welcome indeed.
— Benedict Rogers 羅傑斯 (@benedictrogers) September 6, 2020
He said, “London is a global, open city. We believe in human rights,” and called for the de-twinning of London from Beijing.