THERE are many reasons why the Metropolitan Police force is currently deemed not fit for purpose.
They include, among other failures, the murder of Sarah Everard by serving officer Wayne Couzens, the “racially profiled” stop-and-search of the Team GB sprinter Bianca Williams, and the strip-search of a 15-year-old black schoolgirl known as Child Q.
Perhaps most shocking for me is the truly dreadful realisation that it’s still not safe for a woman to walk the streets of London.
You might not have noticed, in another hectic news week, but that the Met was placed in special measures for the first time due to “systemic” failings.
It is not alone. Five other forces, including Greater Manchester, Cleveland, Gloucestershire, Staffordshire and Wiltshire, are also now in special measures.
For women in London, at least, it feels less safe to walk around.
Zara Aleena, 35, a former law student who wanted to be a solicitor, was horrifically murdered as she walked home in Ilford, East London.
Hours after Zara was killed, the man in charge of the investigation, Chief Superintendent Stuart Bell, urged the female population “to be alert but not alarmed”.
I would love to take him at face value but how could any woman fail to be alarmed at the news that someone just like her was apparently selected at random to kill?
I certainly was, as was every woman I know.
Most women are alert already. But what is “alert” meant to do for us when we get attacked?
Does he mean that women should not go out on their own?
Sisters Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman were stabbed to death when out together.
What can women realistically do? Stay home after dark? Go out only in large groups?
As usual women are being asked to change their behaviour. But still we do not feel safe. Because we are not safe.
Friends in a different part of London tell me that women are currently sharing information about multiple sexual assaults by a man on a bicycle.
In response, they are buying rape alarms and changing their routines so they won’t be alone for dog walks or runs.
Women are modifying their behaviour to avoid being attacked. They do that because they know they cannot trust the police to protect them.
Muggers plague my neighbourhood. Last week a woman on my street had her phone snatched from her hand by two youths on cycles. A man was held up with a knife for his watch.
The reason the Met police, once among the most respected police forces in the world, finds itself in special measures, is because of a total lack of leadership and priorities.
While London Mayor Sadiq Khan bickers with Home Secretary Priti Patel, we seem no nearer to finding a new Met commissioner.
This should be a top priority. And these are the things that need to happen.
Any woman reporting violence or abuse needs to be taken seriously.
We need to see more policemen on the streets to deter people who think they can — literally — get away with murder.
If there is a crime hot-spot, it must be patrolled regularly and visibly.
People caught committing assault, other attacks and muggings should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
So few rapes are prosecuted, and the experience of a rape trial is so traumatic for women, that many are scared to report sexual violence.
Women’s experience in our justice system needs to improve.
Perhaps most importantly, the police must be held to the highest professional standards.
The culture must change radically, so it’s unthinkable for officers to take pictures of dead bodies or send inappropriate messages about victims, or for an officer to have a nickname like “the rapist” without anyone taking action.
The Met has a long way to go to improve its reputation and its relationship with the public. It must start now.
Emma’s got it right
BRITAIN’S Emma Raducanu has come under so much flak for “crashing out” of Wimbledon after losing her second-round match on Wednesday.
Not only that, but she’s been subjected to yet more scrutiny for her response to it.
Emma, who is only 19 – I repeat, 19 years old – refused to lose her composure after falling to France’s Caroline Garcia on Centre Court.
In her post-match press conference, she said that any suggestion that there was too much pressure on her young shoulders was “a joke”.
She also insisted that reaching the second round of Wimbledon was something to be proud of. I couldn’t agree more.
The whole country seems desperate for this young woman to be our new national darling.
Personally, I think it is rather impressive that she shook off the defeat, reminding us that it really isn’t about winning, it’s about taking part with the right attitude that counts.
She is young and has her whole career ahead – it’s great that she has got this in perspective.
Ban is an own goal
TALK about an over-reaction: Germany’s biggest newspaper Bild announced it has stopped star reporter Lena Wurzenberger covering Bayern Munich.
The reason? Her relationship with the team’s manager Julian Nagelsmann.
The newspaper announced it has banned Lena from reporting on the club “with immediate effect” following the discovery.
It comes after the paper reported earlier this month that Nagelsmann had split with his wife Verena after 15 years together.
I don’t understand this. What’s the big deal?
They are both single and both adults. A good journalist would not let a personal relationship get in the way of their integrity while reporting.
And couldn’t all that inside information be useful?
It’s Wyn win for us and Taylor
SUCH lovely news that Taylor Swift is engaged to our own Joe Alwyn.
The megastar singer and the British actor are said to have told their inner circle the news, with the singer wearing her engagement ring “behind closed doors”.
They are not exactly shouting it from the rooftops but nonetheless it is wonderful to hear.
It’s a fitting engagement for Taylor, who now lives a low-key life driving her Nissan around London and going on holiday to Newquay in Cornwall.
Having found love with a London boy, it seems she is equally smitten with all things British. And we’re chuffed to bits to have you, Taylor.
What will spoilt tot turn into?
lI had to stifle a little giggle reading about ‘Britain’s most spoilt tot’ Jareem Akram.
The one-year-old wears Gucci trainers and has a jewellery collection which includes a £750 Versace chain and a £925 diamond bracelet.
He’s even got a solid gold dummy and is bathed in milk and honey like Queen Cleopatra.
His mum Kasey, 32, insists: “What Jareem wants, Jareem gets.”
Oh Kasey. Babies need love, security and routine – not a suitcase full of designer swag.
She claims she spends up to £1,000 per month on him using benefits cash.
But Kasey would be far better off saving that money and creating a nest egg for little Jareem to put towards a good education.
And God help his future wife when he grows up – after being so spoiled it will be near impossible to compete with mum.
Bernie praise batty
I CANNOT get my head around Bernie Ecclestone saying that he would “still take a bullet” for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Putin is a man intent on trying to destroy another country, the outcast of the world.
Ecclestone made the bizarre vow after the disgraceful Russian attacks on a shopping mall in Ukraine this week, an act that has been branded a war crime by western leaders.
Despite all that, the former Formula One boss told Good Morning Britain last week Putin was a “first class person” and “sensible”.
I can’t have been the only person that choked on my cornflakes.
He also defended his long-term friend Nelson Piquet after the Brazilian former driver’s racist abuse of Lewis Hamilton.
He urged Lewis to simply “brush aside” the racial slur and “be happy” with his apology.
They say a man is judged by the company he keeps. Well, I’m afraid the verdict is in.
Even the sport he was once in charge of has turned its back on him.
A statement from F1 read: “The comments made by Bernie Ecclestone are his personal views and are in very stark contrast to the position of the modern values of our sport.”
I couldn’t agree more. But it’s not just the modern values of the sport that Bernie fails to represent – it’s modern society in general.
Time to crawl back under whatever rock GMB dredged him out from.
Source: The Sun