Picture the scene! 15 young people in a makeshift library space. The table is littered with snacks and drinks, and skirting the edges of the room are supporting adults – all fixated on Tony Lloyd and his PR/A woman making sure Tony isn’t susceptible to embarrassment of the political kind.
He has graced these young people of Manchester with the privilege of him drivel on about what a Police Crime Commissioner is, with sparse lines of “so, does anyone have any questions?” before interjecting with another monologue.
Tony is a former MP, so his diplomacy is understandable, and despite him “not representing the police”, he is the bridge between the people and them – so effectively all the young people did just see him as someone who represented the police. Close enough, ay?
Despite the lengthy discussion, I don’t remember much else. There was talk of Tony returning in hopes of “building a better connection between Manchester’s young people and the police”. It’s been over a year since I’ve spoken with him.
But I’m sure he’s busy! You know, dealing with the paper work of Chief of Police Sir Peter Fahy, who is under scrutiny after putting a 14 year old boy right into the hands of a child pedophile, and recently Greater Manchester Police having the worst case of guideline breaches of all police forces in the UK – in reference to officers using social media to vent their “homophobic, racist and religiously aggressive views”.
In their defense, Deputy Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said:
“Eighty-eight complaints in five years is minuscule when you consider we employ more than 8,000 people. Of those, only two constituted serious breaches”
So some of Manchester’s police have views that go against the traditional ethics of police officers (who are paid with taxes!) that protect the public. But as Ian has said, it’s okay because there are only 88, that we know of, that are online.
Wait, there’s more!
Rhyan Wilson was a young man who was murdered not too far from where I use to live. I punch his name into the Facebook search bar, we have 2 mutual friends.
Despite Rhyan’s murderer now being found and sentenced, there are numerous articles detailing that it took GMP a whole 8 hours to report of his death to his family. Long after they had already found out through social media.
The family are now rightfully supported by GMP’s Black and Asian Police Association:
“GMP has recorded its own officers’ actions as a hate crime on race grounds and admitted they failed ‘at the worst possible moment’”
This incompetence of GMP follows the dire cases of:
– Jordan Begley, who died on July 10th 2013, at his Gorton home after a taser gun was shot by a GMP officer. Jordan’s mother initially believed it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’, as another Jordan Begley, from Sale, was wanted by police.
“Just after Jordan had been taken to hospital the officers were asking me questions and one kept saying ‘you’re from Sale aren’t you?’
“I kept telling him I’ve never lived in Sale, but he kept pressing on it, saying ‘are you sure I don’t know you from Sale?’
“It didn’t make sense at the time but then when I found out about the other Jordan Begley it clicked.”
This newspaper article by The Mirror however was published over 3 hours after a BBC news article claiming mistaken identity was not the case. Jordan’s mother’s quotes were not accounted for, and neither was her account of Jordan not having a weapon to hand
“Greater Manchester Police say they were called to a disturbance involving a knife and the Independent Police Complaints commission (IPCC) have confirmed the force has told them Jordan Begley was carrying a knife”
So it’s back to that curious tale of believing those in power above the truth. Which is typical of the IPCC as Mark Duggan’s family have fallen victim to this.
Finally, in recent events, BBC Radio 4 interviewed a former GMP officer who claimed ‘sexual abuse cases are as rife as Rotherham within Manchester’. He highlighted Rochdale having the worse cases, but his brash and brutally honest viewpoints held by himself and fellow officers allowed him to have his name and voice withheld.
What I’m trying to get at is GMP are not upholding their ethos to ‘serve and protect’ and no matter how it is sugar-coated by those high up in the department, the people have to bear the brunt of it. We have to suffer and in particular, the needs and well-being of young people are not being catered to.
I’m failing to understand what GMP and Tony Lloyd plan to do to even begin to rectify this. The ‘No Comment’ response on events portrays no interest or urgency, and this is urgent. Young people need to know that they can be protected and they need to know that when they make a 999 call someone with sincere concern for their well-being will respond.