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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Setting aside the music question, and ethnicity issues, but looking at the “night time club and late night bar economy”, could we engineer a restricted, high quality version, restricted to small areas of Croydon away from residential areas, where a handful of well-run venues provide late night drinking only on three nights a week–Thursday to Saturday only?
It’s no good having a load of badly run places where drugs, excessive drinking, and violence are the results. Whether the ethnicity of owners, staff and clientele, we don’t need the police, ambulance and A and E services to be subjected to these scourges, and we don’t need to be spending scarce resources on policing and dealing with the outfall from too many late night clubs discharging punters outside at the same time. Nor resulting streets awash with urine and vomit, like Croydon of old.
Croydon will always suffer as a result of being very close to central London, which bleeds off much of the social spending on the normal evening economy of entertainment-going that would otherwise stay in Croydon. I think that we really don’t need a “nightime” (Midnight onwards) economy at all– but a far better evening economy.
Let’s hope that the increase in the number of residential blocks in the town centre results in a living centre with more people socialising here in Croydon .
This implies that part of the issue was the banning of badly run clubs (because they catered for black people?) which is entirely untrue. There is no suggestion that clubs were banned from playing certain types of music for any reason other than they would attract what the Police call ‘undesirables’, i.e. non-white people. The police need to have a cull of their officers who do not wish to represent the population of Croydon, a large proportion of whom are non-white. We cannot have policies that pander for the racists who do not want to cater for the needs of our ethnically diverse population in central Croydon. If that is what Westfield want then we don’t want them here.
“could we engineer a restricted, high quality version, restricted to small areas of Croydon away from residential areas, where a handful of well-run venues provide late night drinking only on three nights a week–Thursday to Saturday only?”
No, the Westfield plan is to mix up residential and commercial as much as possible…
I agree with Lee. The bashmant ban is racist.