One of the country’s most prominent black activists has condemned Croydon Council’s suppression of its own report into the town centre’s night-time economy.
Lee Jasper has described Croydon police’s “bashment ban” – withholding licences from nightclubs that want to play black and Asian music – as “cultural apartheid”.
Jasper was the senior policy advisor on equalities at City Hall from 2004 to 2008, during Ken Livingstone’s second term as Mayor of London.
Inside Croydon yesterday published the report by Councillor Callton Young, which the council has withheld for eight months. Young’s report found that Croydon police had indeed made efforts to ban what some officers regard as “unacceptable forms of music” from clubs and bars in the town centre.
“This is the type of cultural policing apartheid, enforced by an institutionally racist Metropolitan Police, that targets black club owners, and [that] promoters face all over London,” Jasper wrote on Twitter.
Scotland Yard has for years been dogged by allegations of “institutional racism”, triggered by the damning 1999 Macpherson report into the handling of the murder of south London teenager Stephen Lawrence. As recently as 2015 the then Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, said, “If other people think we are institutionally racist, then we are. It’s no good me saying we’re not and saying you must believe me. That would be a nonsense.”
Last month, Labour councillor Young sought to bring his report into a discussion at a Town Hall licensing meeting, but he was shut down by the committee chair, Jane Avis. Avis expressed concerns that her colleague might slander the police in discussing his report and the bashment ban. There was no council lawyer present at the meeting to provide proper advice to Avis and the committee.
Jasper is clearly very concerned by the Young report, as published by Inside Croydon, and by efforts by council officials and council leadership to suppress the findings.
Sadiq Khan and the Mayor’s “Night Czar”, Amy Lamé, Croydon police and Croydon Council “should be ashamed”, according to Jasper.
“Black youth unemployment is at record levels,” Jasper said today. “We need successful black businesses to employ and inspire them. The Met Police prefers them as cannon fodder for the privatised prison industrial complex, so they racially target black businesses for closure.
“How the hell can black businesses thrive when faced with such disgusting racism?”
And directing his remarks at the Mayor and Lamé – who he called “the white night-time czar” – Jasper wrote, “Yesterday you launched an economic development strategy for small businesses. Across London businesses are being racially targeted for closure by the Met Police. How do we hope to employ young black people when faced with this blatant racism?”
Jasper says that he is submitting Young’s report with an official complaint to both the Independent Police Complaints Commission and the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
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