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tv   HAR Dtalk  BBC News  March 18, 2019 12:30am-1:01am GMT

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this is newsday on the bbc, live from christchurch. the country's gun laws, i'm sharanjit leyl. following the christchurch attacks. earlier, prime minister jacinda ardern opened our top stories: a book of condolence new zealand's prime minister opens for victims of the attacks, a book of condolence writing "together we are one. for victims of the christchurch attacks, writing "together we are one. they are us". counter—terrorism police have raided they are us". two homes in australia, where the suspect she's set to discuss tightening gun brenton tarrant grew up. laws with her cabinet. his family have said we speak to the man they're devastated — who heroically tackled the gunman and apologised to the relatives and forced him to flee the scene of those killed and wounded. and many of you are following at the second mosque shooting. this story on bbc.com. rescue workers in papua province in indonesia have rescued a 5—month—old baby trapped he drops his gun there in a collapsed building and ran to his car. after torrential rain triggered when he arrived at his car he saw me flash floods and landslides. at least 73 people have been chasing him with his own rifle, his own shotgun. killed in the floods. that's all. a5 counter—terrorism police raid stay with bbc world news. two homes in australia where the suspect brenton tarrant grew up, now on bbc news, it's
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time for hardtalk. welcome to hardtalk. i'm stephen sackur. there has been an alarming rise in knife crime in the uk and this prompted a bout of soul searching about the causes and responses. many of the questions focus on the police. are they doing an effective job? how well do they handle the challenges of policing in disadvantaged and minority communities? michael fuller is the only black briton to have run one of the country's regional forces. is uk policing fit for purpose?
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michael fuller, welcome to hardtalk. thank you. i want to begin with a personal question, a character question. it seems to me that in all your life through to adult hood and your life through to adult hood and your many decades of service in the police force, you are a man who is used to swimming against the tide. would you agree with that?” used to swimming against the tide. would you agree with that? i would agree with that. that's partly being ina minority agree with that. that's partly being in a minority so at the time i started in the police there were only six black officer is. this was backin only six black officer is. this was back in 1977 when ijoined. it was something i always wanted to do in my book describes my passion for joining the police. but i was very much ina joining the police. but i was very much in a minority and it was unusual to see a black officer in london. you mentioned the book. it
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isa london. you mentioned the book. it is a fascinating and honest memoir. killed the black one first it is ominously called. you forensically go through your own childhood as well is your policing career. and what we learn is that your ambition in childhood to be a policeman was something that your own family, your father in particular, found it very difficult to deal with. yes. the thing is that the book is designed to be inspirational. so the title comes from something that was shouted at me at the brixton riots in 1981 shouted at me at the brixton riots in1981 and shouted at me at the brixton riots in 1981 and the prolonged talks about the dilemmas i faced in terms of which tried to i belong to? do i belong to the tribe of police officers who were using racist language or do i belong to the people outside the bus, the black youths who hate the police? it created a big dilemma on the paradox, as you can imagine.
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created a big dilemma on the paradox, as you can imaginelj created a big dilemma on the paradox, as you can imagine. i can andi paradox, as you can imagine. i can and i want to talk about how you felt on that and it riot police line in brixton because it seems to me a seminal moment for you. before we even get there want to return to your father because you say that when you announced as a kid that i'm going to be a policeman, my dad and his friends stared at me as if i had announced i wanted to be an axe murderer. one of them choked on his drink and then they all started to talk at once. did and i understand, they asked, that the were row when a me? i think i was naive and blinded to the hatred felt by the black community at that time and we are talking about the late 19705 and the windru5h generation who told me how they had been treated by the police and the fact that... i think there was lots of prejudice, discrimination and a lot of the windru5h generation felt that they had been poorly dealt with by the police, being stopped in their cars,
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stopped on the streets, unnecessarily stopped and searched. and there was huge resentment. but i could not let that put me off. i was passionate aboutjoining the police and in my childhood i had been very keen on sluicing and solving crime5. wa5 5till keen on sluicing and solving crime5. wa5 still something i wanted to do andi wa5 still something i wanted to do and i was not deterred by people saying do not do this. there is one of the crucial element in your childhood that i think we should mention and i wonder if it is releva nt to mention and i wonder if it is relevant to your of being a police officer and that is your parents did not feel able to raise you them5elve5. not feel able to raise you themselves. they put you into a council run care home which i believe was, frankly, run by white people. so you were raised, effectively and mostly, by white people. and i wonder if on reflection you feel that gave you a different perspective on society from many of the young black kid5 that, you know, we your contemporary i5 that, you know, we your contemporary is at the time. it may have given me
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a different perspective but i think much of the story in my story is born of experience in that, yes, i was brought up by somebody called margaret hurst and was brought up by somebody called margaret hur5t and the book is dedicated to her. she is white. she was effectively a role model to meet. she was quite encouraging about mejoining meet. she was quite encouraging about me joining the meet. she was quite encouraging about mejoining the police. if meet. she was quite encouraging about me joining the police. if that was something i was passionate, her view was, her view was i should go ahead and join the police regardless of what other people said. and follow my passion. i'm glad i did. that you can imagine that many other people were concerned that i might experience raci5m. people were concerned that i might experience racism. and let's go back to that police line in 1981. where you are staring at the rioters. they we re you are staring at the rioters. they were not just black you are staring at the rioters. they were notjust black rioter5 but there were a lot of young black men involved in the brixton riots. they shouted at you. some cool chew a coconut, an offensive term that mean5 coconut, an offensive term that means you black on the outside but
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basically white on the inside. i think you were accused of being a sell—out and a traitor. how a loan did you feel at that point. sell—out and a traitor. how a loan did you feel at that pointlj sell—out and a traitor. how a loan did you feel at that point. i felt very isolated and i felt that i did not belong either to that group of police officers and i certainly did not belong to the people... it was the first time after being shouted kill the black one first, the person who shouted that made a strange laugh andi who shouted that made a strange laugh and i thought, well, maybe he i5 joking. laugh and i thought, well, maybe he i5joking. the laugh and i thought, well, maybe he i5 joking. the nesting laugh and i thought, well, maybe he i5joking. the nesting i heard was a sma5h of glass and a small petrol fume5 sma5h of glass and a small petrol fumes and flames shot up in front of me and the other officer be5ide fumes and flames shot up in front of me and the other officer beside me who had his beard singed... neither of us were injured but it was quite a shocking experience. and it was new to britain. we have not had riot5 before. certainly had not seen this hatred towards the police. the previous day i had been helping poor and marginalised people, victim5 previous day i had been helping poor and marginalised people, victims of crime and child abuse, i have been
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helping people who suffered from alcohol addiction and drug addiction and helping old ladies and, you know, the next i was facing the5e very angry individuals on this riots. it was quite a shocking experience. one of the interesting elements of that answer is that you did not feel you belonged on the police line or with the rioter5 either. on this question of belonging i5 either. on this question of belonging is very complex for you. i wonder, white did you per5i5t with the police and you did over three and a half decades, when you plainly did not feel accepted all that you belonged for much of your career. and you have itemised the systemic, na5ty persistent raci5m and you have itemised the systemic, na5ty persistent racism that you faced from your fellow officers, white men and women in the fourth, not over just the white men and women in the fourth, not overjust the beginnings of your career but throughout much of your career. i always felt that either through naivete or otherwise, that i could change things for the better from the inside. and persuade people
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about the right thing to do. to one of the things i did do when we had a disproportionate number of black officers leaving the police, i set up, with others, the black police association and i was a founding chair. wa5 seen as a radical organisation, particularly for the police come, because there was already a union that was representing police officers, albeit police officers allowed to have a union. i setup a staff a55ociation union. i set up a staff association of black officers and the idea was that it was a support organisation designed to stop these offices from leaving because they were leaving in d roves. leaving because they were leaving in droves. did it make any difference? again, you describe situations in police canteens and other environments surrounded by fellow officers where the n word was used and then covered up afterwards when you fade and official complaint. where people would mock you with
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shouts of bananas! everytime they went past your office door. wanted a police function a comedian saw you and described you as a spear chucker. that must be humiliating. utterly humiliating.” chucker. that must be humiliating. utterly humiliating. i have illustrated a lot of humiliating occasions but, clearly, not everybody was racist and clearly there were many people who supported me. were there? yes. a lot of people who supported me and myjourney from the bottom of the police as a cadet, to get to the top and become a chief co nsta ble. to get to the top and become a chief constable. without that support, without that encouragement, i would not have made it and i would have left. if we follow the chronology of your career, before we get to your promotion and it was a huge thing to be the first county director of a police force in the uk, a chief of the ball—up kent. before we get there, you were in the metropolitan
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police had an extraordinarily sensitive time after the murder of the young black man stephen lawrence, a teenager, who was stabbed to death by a group of white youths in south london in 1993. the fallout from that lasted for many yea rs fallout from that lasted for many years and it raised deeply disturbing questions about the failings of the police to properly investigate the murder. you are inside the met. were you aware, yourself, of how the police were failing? yes, i was. yourself, of how the police were failing? yes, iwas. i actually wrote an article when the judge mcpherson spoke about the police being institutionally racist... which was the key moment after all the failings of the police that a senior official was appointed to investigate and his report, the so—called macpherson report, referred to the institutional racism inside the metropolitan police. you, as one of the senior black officers inside the metropolitan police the
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time, you must have felt very conflicted. i was very conflicted but i was very keen that the force, the police address the criticisms that have been made. and institutional racism is a hard concept to grasp. the idea that you could unintentionally be biased, unintentionally be prejudiced, was very difficult for most officers, including myself, to understand and grasp. but i spent a lot of time. i wrote articles for police magazines andi wrote articles for police magazines and i was interviewed by police magazines and that is described in the book, explaining what this racism was that we were being accused of. and of course, the stephen lawrence murder investigation and the evidence highlighted by the judge showed that there had been prejudiced in the way in that investigation had been handled and dealt with. i was very keen on that a lot of those issues be put right. i wrote an action plan
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for the met, i suggested setting up a racial task force. i suggested that racially motivated crime be dealt with and investigated in the same way as any other crime and at the time, that was seen as groundbreaking. it does not seem so now but at the time it was groundbreaking. the question to ask now is that whether you look at the metropolitan police and the british police forces generally today, you believe that if macpherson were to come back and report again he would still find institutional racism ? come back and report again he would still find institutional racism?” think there is an improvement albeit i have spoken to officers who are currently serving, these are black officers currently serving, and they say, well, they feel there is still racism there. but, i mean, the thing that exists now is that there are sanctions in the way for racist conduct and racist behaviour by police officer. there were no specific sanctions at the time i was serving as a junior officer.
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specific sanctions at the time i was serving as a junior officehm specific sanctions at the time i was serving as a junior officer. if one draws conclusions from the raw data and the numbers, if you look at the higher levels of the police senior officers i think it is still 3% or less of senior officers are black, asian or minority ethnic. given that the overall proportion in the population of be a me people in the uk is around 13% suggests there is still a profound problem. yes. and i agree. it is still a profound problem and there has not been a black chief constable appointed since i left and i cannot understand why. i have asked and there are certainly people who are talented and capable of performing the role that i performed in kent that it has not happened. and at the time... i looked back at the price reporting of your rights through the —— press reporting of your rights through the ranks. there was talk of the time that you may be the first commissioner of the metropolitan
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police. it would be a symbolic moment if it had happened to. why did that not happen? well, i think that is for others to answer. i would have been happy to do thejob. i qualified as answer. i would have been happy to do the job. i qualified as a answer. i would have been happy to do thejob. i qualified as a lawyer andi do thejob. i qualified as a lawyer and i followed and do thejob. i qualified as a lawyer and ifollowed and pursued do thejob. i qualified as a lawyer and i followed and pursued a different career. but i think it is for others to answer that and others to a nswer for others to answer that and others to answer as to why there haven't been any other chief constables appointed since i left.” been any other chief constables appointed since i left. i said at the introduction of this interview, written right now was wrestling with an alarming rise in knife crime, now, you had to wrestle with violent crime in the black british community, as a senior officer, operation trident operating against the gang culture and use of guns in inner—city london, do you think that the fact that many black people then and maybe still today have a problem with the police is a huge problem in effectively policing the inner—city?
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well, the first thing i would say is that knife crime is rising at a faster rate outside of london, so outside the urban areas. so it's a problem outside in the uk. the thing we learned on operation trident is you had to have the support of the community in tackling the problem at the time, gun crime. the reason for that was once you actually catch perpetrators of the violence, whether it is knife crime or other violent crime, you need witnesses, you need people who are going to come forward and give evidence against very violent people. now if the police alienate potential witnesses and the public, then clearly you are not going to get the public support. what we found on trident is that when we set up the operation, and i took 18 months and setting it up, having spoken to community groups about what i was trying to do and the fact that i was sincere in trying to reduce the problem of gun violence in london,
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that having explained to people what i was going to do and why, that we got huge public support and we were inundated with intelligence. over 3000 pieces of intelligence when we started our operation. and we were able to create a top ten list of criminals that we wanted to capture who were responsible for multiple murders. and we actually took four yea rs, murders. and we actually took four years, but we actually captured all those individuals, as well as lots of other people. we also, with the intelligence, we recovered guns, we recovered knives, and people went to prison as a result. so, in that answer, you are suggesting to me that the key to focus on is intelligence gathering in the community and working with the community. you didn't mention anything about police numbers in that answer. but you know right now the political hot potato is whether the political hot potato is whether the reductions in police numbers that we have seen in recent times, and theresa may, the prime minister, says there is no link, causal link with crime levels and police numbers, many others disagree. from
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your experience on the ground are police numbers relevant or irrelevant? police numbers are highly relevant. one of the things in tackling any kind of violence is there needs to be consequences. so in terms of knife crime, those who carry knives, those who are involved in knife violence or gang violence need to know that there are consequences and fear being caught, and clearly if there isn't the police presence that there should be, then the people involved in the crime won't feel that there will be any consequences in carrying a knife and actually using it. and i think that's the problem you're seeing at the moment. do you think it is problematic when theresa may says that there is, and i'm quoting her directly, "no direct correlation between the rise in knife crime and if all the police numbers"? she is probably commenting on the stats. but i would disagree, personally. and clearly i don't see the police
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presence, as somebody who has lived in london for a0 years, and the police response is worse than it ever was. i regularly call out the police to incidents, fights and things i have seen, and the police response has been a lot slower and poorer than it used to be. and the explanation that is given to me by the police officers is theyjust haven't got the numbers. when you we re haven't got the numbers. when you were a beat officer in london, you we re were a beat officer in london, you were involved in what has become known as stop—and—search operations, where you would target particular communities because of the data you'd seen on rising crime or particular crime problems. and you would stop people on the suspicion that they may have committed a crime or be carrying a weapon or whatever. the lse has just or be carrying a weapon or whatever. the lse hasjust done or be carrying a weapon or whatever. the lse has just done a study on this, the figures suggest there is now a new spike in the use of stopped and search powers by the police and it is disproportionately being used against black people. yes. a .a being used against black people.
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yes. a .4 times the rate of white people in terms of who was being stopped. now, there are voices in the black community, including trevor phillips, who was an influential voice, because you stared up the equality and human rights committee and, saying that is a good thing and we shouldn't be embarrassed to say, because perpetrators and victims in many inner—city areas, largely black, we should be using stop—and—search primarily against black people in these communities. do you agree?” think what is important is the criminality. i don't think racial profiling or introducing racial elements to criminality is actually very helpful, certainly on operation trident what we found was successful was having community support with people, we had a hotline, people told us who were carrying the guns. we didn't care what colour they were. if they were carrying guns they were engaged in crime and they we re they were engaged in crime and they were doing harm to other people and engaged in drug dealing, then my view is they should have been arrested regardless of what colour they were. we saw the problem,
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certainly in kent, where there were very few black people, there were similar problems of violence. if you look at the town centres on a friday or saturday night you will see violent crime happening right in front of your eyes, outside some of the public houses. understood. it is not a problem that is peculiar to london, not a problem that is peculiar to black people. it is not. trevor phillips is" police officers should be, in certain areas, be exempt from discrimination laws, where the crime, according to the data, is by black youth".” where the crime, according to the data, is by black youth". i don't agree with that. we need to work within the law. we are able to do that in tackling the serious and violent crime of gun violence. we are able to tackle it successfully, reduce the problem. so much so that the operation i set up, after four yea rs the operation i set up, after four years the commission of the days
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that the level of gun violence now doesn't justify this that the level of gun violence now doesn'tjustify this big operation and we're going to scale it down. and i recommended it be scaled down, but not actually got rid of. the point is, we were able to successfully tackle a problem of violence by using targeted stop—and—search, so stopping people who we knew, we had good intelligence, were involved in the violence, gang members, we dealt with drug dealers, and some of the veillas that we are seeing now associated with drug markets and people involved in drug dealing can't be surprised that they are stopped and searched by the police. but to actually narrower to down to race and profile, actually tried to profile racially, is a very narrow way of looking at the problem. let me ask you a personal question. you came from a difficult background. we have discussed how your parents put you into care, you were raised in a ca re you into care, you were raised in a care home. had lots of reasons, it seems to me, to be angry and
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resentful. and we know, in many situations, many young people who have had difficult backgrounds, disadvantaged backgrounds, do end up angry, resentful, and sometimes committing crimes and socially abusive behaviours. you absolutely didn't. you chose tojoin abusive behaviours. you absolutely didn't. you chose to join the abusive behaviours. you absolutely didn't. you chose tojoin the police and be, in essence, the ultimate conformance. what you think major difference? well, when people say you came from a difficult background, it didn't seem difficult to me. it didn't seem disadvantaged. ididn't to me. it didn't seem disadvantaged. i didn't know i was disadvantaged. i didn't know any different. other than the fact that i would have liked to have been with my parents rather than in a children's home. but the experience of the children's home in the person who brought me up, margaret hurst, who was a white woman, she was very loving, she said very clear boundaries...” woman, she was very loving, she said very clear boundaries... i guess what i'm asking is a very simple question in the end, which is,
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reflecting on a long career in the police force, and reflecting on the links between criminality and environments, are you now a man who believes that those who choose to indulge in criminality are driven more by nature or nurture? well, i think i was a product of my upbringing, really. and the fact that i was brought up by somebody very loving, said very clear boundaries for me, tell me the difference between right and wrong, andi difference between right and wrong, and i had positive dealings, clearly, with the police, and the police officers in my life were role models and were very positive individuals. i think men, particularly young man, you need good, strong, male role models. my express good, strong, male role models. my ex press was good, strong, male role models. my express was a good one. and i loved the policing. i didn't love the racism. and i would not have done anything else. and i'm glad i ignored all those people, including friends, teachers, and my mother, my natural mother and father, who i didn't live with, they all told me not tojoin the
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didn't live with, they all told me not to join the police. and didn't live with, they all told me not tojoin the police. and i am just so pleased that i ignored them, because they had a wonderful career and wonderful opportunities. but i wouldn't want other people to be deterred from doing something they're passionate about. that is a good place to n. michael fuller, thank you very much indeed for being on hardtalk. thank you. thank you very much. it has been a weekend of wild weather. we've seen heavy snowfall, heavy rain that has caused flooding across parts of england and wales. strong winds, particularly on saturday. by sunday it was a day of sunshine and showers. this was the scene in dover, in kent. we had huge shower clouds. equally blue sky and gusty winds around. all in all, very unsettled weather. the weather is now settling down. we have high pressure building
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in from the south—west. weather fronts trying to move in from the north—west of the country. it will not be dry across the board. through this week we are looking at a much drier weather picture. less windy. you will be pleased to hear that things will be turning a little bit milder, too. although it will be quite a chilly start to monday. this is dawn. the temperatures will be subzero in the east for some areas. a touch of frost for the south—east of england. cloudier skies in the west, so temperature is not as low. with that cloud in the west there will be patchy rain on monday across northern ireland, western scotland, and western fridges of england and wales. that is likely to stay dry through the day was sunny spells, cloud building through the afternoon. temperatures on monday still not great for the time of year. a degree or so warmer than we have seen in recent days. 8—12 degrees or so. at least we have lost that wind chill we have seen recently. looking further ahead through monday evening and overnight into tuesday, again we have quite a lot of cloud around. could be the odd clearer spell
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allowing those temperatures to dip just down into a touch of frost here and there. for most of us it is looking reasonably mild moving through into tuesday. a mostly dry start to the day. you may notice a bit of blue on the map. a few spots of rain across parts of northern ireland, scotland, into wales. that is courtesy of this weather system, a juanfran trying to move on from the west on tuesday. a fairly weak affair. it bumps into the higher pressure holding on in the south. and quite a bit of cloud around. not a bad day on tuesday. a little light rain for scotland and perhaps in the irish sea coasts. towards the south and east is where you are likely to stay dry throughout the day. top temperatures 12—1a degrees or so. not bad for the time of year. through the middle of the week, wednesday, the spring equinox. it looks largely settled and dry. sunshine breaking through the cloud. it should be generally reasonably mild. temperatures widely up to 13—1a degrees. we could see highs up to 16—17 celsius. things are warming up a little
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as we had through the week. towards the end of the week sunnier spells, and it is looking much less windy than it has over the past week or so. bye for now.
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