Dr Leroy Logan, founding member of the Black Police Association and retired Police Superintendent, recently attended the screening of the controversial Channel 5 programme “Gangland” at Southbank University. He sat on the panel for the debate that followed and shares his thoughts on the programme with us below.
When I was asked to take part in the Channel 5 (C5) Gangland programme debate I knew it would be a tough call for anyone associated with it, because of the acrimonious level of criticism that erupted in social media after its transmission in September.
This criticism was around the following themes:
A. Why was it totally black focused?
B. Where do the guns come from?
C. Did the producers have a positive objective in making the film?
D. Were young people put at risk during the process?
E. Did the scenes where specific threats were made against the police compromise further the relationship between police and inner city urban communities and inner London black community?
You didn’t have to be a brain surgeon to realise that individuals, voluntary sector organisations and/or wider communities based in certain urban settings who were in attendance would passionately emphasise:
1. C5 had exploited the main subjects in the two programmes, e.g. Jordi, especially in the first one.
2. It would appear that C5 duty of care for the vulnerable, who were clearly suffering from PTSD, left a great deal to be desired and exploited their vulnerabilities.
3. A significant number of individuals played up to the camera, in particular the more violently inclined characters brandishing their firearms and exhibiting the associated bravado.
4. The programme reinforced stereotypes of people from a particular background and community, particularly young black men from urban deprived neighbourhoods; notwithstanding the plight of women associated with gang members.
5. The graphic scenes of the extreme ways in which drugs are transported internally were totally unnecessary, because the verbal description would have sufficed.
Going by the level of acrimony and volatility observed during the debate I cannot discount the possibility that community trust & confidence was eroded in the media and public sector organisations, in particular police. Primarily based on their strongly held perceptions that those in authority have had a direct role to play in the way drugs and firearms infest urban deprived communities. By turning a blind eye, heavy handed policing and cuts in services.
Fortunately the debate ended up in a positive solution focused atmosphere, underpinned by Jordi’s letter read out by his brother, allowing us to challenge his thinking on his:
A. Criminality over the years that lead him to several terms of imprisonment.
B. Participation in the C5 Gangland programmes and where it went wrong in his eyes.
C. Road to rehabilitation and redemption.
What I took from the debate and the letter was the critical need for the wider community to work together in a more coordinated and collaborative manner in a sustainable basis. Therefore I did not hesitate in putting my personal commitment towards:
1. The Youth Violence Commission led by Vicky Foxcroft MP.
2. A London wide community driven multi-discipline pressure group to challenge authorities around the growing number of serious youth violence cases. In a similar way the community successfully forced the Metropolitan Police Service to work in partnership with them to reduce street based gun enabled gang crime, which resulted in the Trident command.
3. Developing a way of influencing the media to prevent the stigmatisation of communities impacted by gang crime, towards developing a more truthful and objective narrative.
This is over and above my ongoing work to reduce gang activity and decrease a young person’s vulnerability to gang crime, by problem solving and educational programmes with grass roots organisations.
What will be your commitment?
Dr Leroy Logan MBE served London with distinction as a Metropolitan Police officer for over 30 years until his retirement in 2013. Leroy was a founding member of the Black Police Association and was Police lead on the Olympic Policing Coordination Team (OPCT) in 2012.
This blog was originally published on: www.leroylogan2016.wordpress.com
November 7, 2016 8:31 pm Leave your thoughts