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Black Lives Matter: Councillor calls for Haringey’s own review into Covid-19 impact on BAME commnunities and demands Met Police improves

PUBLISHED: 17:12 23 June 2020 | UPDATED: 17:12 23 June 2020

Cllr Julia Ogiehor (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill) among those kneeling in solidarity with victims of anti-Black violence. Picture: Lucie Goodayle

Cllr Julia Ogiehor (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill) among those kneeling in solidarity with victims of anti-Black violence. Picture: Lucie Goodayle

@ Lucie Goodayle

A Muswell Hill councillor has called on Haringey Council to commit to its own review of the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on BAME individuals, saying this is necessary to “rectify deficiencies” in central government’s response to the virus.

Cllr Julia Ogiehor (Lib Dem, Muswell Hill), who is the opposition spokesperson for crime, equalities and communities, wrote to Cllr Mark Blake imploring that the town hall conduct its own investigation into the pandemic’s impact on Haringey.

READ MORE: Black Lives Matter protesters in Highgate and Crouch End kneel in anger over anti-Black racism

Referring to the coronavirus, Cllr Ogiehor wrote: “The hurt it is causing has spread to every part of society. However, it has not been spread evenly.”

She asked the cabinet member to push for a local review which would focus on “the differential impacts on BAME people and those contending with socio-economic deprivation”, and added it was essential to “Identify actionable means” to fix inequalities such a report may find.

Cllr Blake (Lab, Woodside) agreed with the neccessity for investigation. He said: “There is no question that BAME communities have been affected disproportionately by this pandemic and it is vital that we investigate the inequalities that could lead to a higher number of deaths. We must take strong action to help reduce this in any way that we can.”

READ MORE:
Black Lives Matter: ‘Enough is enough, and we must finally act’

The town hall said the impact of Covid-19 on BAME communities had been a major topic of conversation at this month’s meeting of its health board, while a May “round table” event with the Bridge Renewal Trust – its voluntary partner – focussing on the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on BAME groups had led to a number of action points.

The health and wellbeing board is to, going forward, work to better understand issues including digital inclusion, equitable access to services, and the shielding of BAME communities.

In light of the Black Lives Matter protests that have taken place worldwide, Cllr Ogiehor has also written to Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick, saying Scotland Yard needs to “be part of the discussion”.

She explained: “The courage and dedication of its officers is clear for all to see. However, it is not immune to the prejudices that scar the rest of British society. It is sadly clear that the Met does not treat Londoners who are black or from another ethnic minority in the same way as a white person in their position would be.”

Dame Cressida said last week she wanted to “improve trust and confidence” in the force, and added: “We are much more transparent than we have been, and than other police services in the world. We are much more open to scrutiny and we welcome that. We are much more accountable.”

“All of us must try to work together to build bridges for a safer city for the future. We know we’re not perfect but work with us.”


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