Women’s groups called for more anti-misogyny action within the Metropolitan Police Service as they branded the crimes of officers taking photos of two murdered sisters as “utterly worrying.”
PC Jamie Lewis, 33, and Deniz Jaffer, 47, both pleaded guilty to taking and sharing photos of Bibaa Henry and Nicole Smallman after they were stabbed to death last June.
Her admission of guilt on Tuesday at the Old Bailey means the two sisters’ family will not suffer the trauma of another trial related to their death, but immeasurable damage has already been done to the activists.
Ludo Orlando, co-founder of Reclaim These Streets, said I: “We must remember that this family has endured the unimaginable, has lost two daughters to a violent attack and the dignity of their daughters has also been attacked in this way, so we expect the punishment to be commensurate with the gravity of their crime.
“As Mina [Smallman] said it is absolutely disturbing that these officers thought they were so sacrosanct that they thought they could get away with it.
Ms. Smallman, the mother of Bibaa and Nicole, said today that the mead must get rid of the “rot” within the troops and that there is no such thing as “one rotten apple”.
Turning to the media outside the Old Bailey, she said, “If you have a rotten piece of fruit in a bowl, it will contaminate everything around you. We have to drill and clean up the rot once and for all. “
Similarly, Ms. Orlando is not convinced that the problems within the police force stem from a few bad officers.
“It’s not a few bad apples,” she said.
Ms. Orlando said Reclaim These Streets supports calls for mandatory professional training for officers and the implementation of processes that encourage police reporting of indecent behavior.
“We have to recognize that different victims, different survivors have different needs. And we can only do that by training our employees accordingly, ”she said.
“Why are we still talking about what you should do and why haven’t you done it now? Put these controls in place, do appropriate assessments to make people feel [uncomfortable] and witnesses of sexism, misogyny and racism, they know where to go and report so that they can be addressed and not just hidden. “
Ms. Orlando also criticized the Independent Police Conduct Bureau (IOPC) for finding no evidence of racial bias in the officers’ handling of missing person reports for the sisters.
Ms. Orlando said, “To be honest, the fact that the race didn’t matter is actually pretty wrong.
“I think you should take a really long and hard look in the mirror to see why people on the front lines say certain things that they don’t see.”
Felicia Willow, executive director of the Fawcett Society, a charity that campaigns for gender equality, also said that “we cannot ignore the racist element of the case.”
she said I it was “absolutely shameful” that there was an environment in which the officers’ actions were allowed to take place.
Ms. Willow also alleged that the government had withdrawn its promise to turn misogyny a hate crime, abandoned women and sent the message that it was not a serious problem.
“A commitment has been made and I think women have been utterly disappointed with this broken promise,” she said.
“The fact that our leaders don’t even understand what misogyny means as a hate crime feels like a tremendous disrespect for women and what we are asking for. Turning misogyny into a hate crime is not an extreme thing. “
The feminist protest group Sisters Uncut is an organization that calls for more radical measures.
A spokesman said I that the guilty confession of the officials and the prospect of a prison sentence are a small sign and not a solution for the issue of violence against women.
They said, “We just think that this is such an overtly contemptuous act by these officials against the lives of women. And for us, it’s really the tip of the iceberg.
“I think while admitting what they did is useful in hopefully bringing some truth to Nicole and Bibaa’s family, it is more of a small token for us. This does not solve the problem of police violence against women in general. “
The group, which organized a protest Tuesday in response to the inappropriate photos of Bibaa and Nicole and other recent incidents of police misconduct, wants the police to be relieved and funds are channeled to organizations that specialize in helping women .
The spokesman said: “We firmly believe that the police force as an institution has no place to protect the lives of women or the lives of vulnerable and marginalized people.
“For us, defusing the police and depriving them of police powers is the only way women can feel safer.”
They added, “It’s about putting government funds and government funds where survivors are most likely to benefit that we know are through these specialized services rather than the criminal justice system.”
A Met spokesman said I: “The IOPC investigation into the police’s handling of reports the sisters had missed found that there was no racial bias in handling the reports. The investigation examined whether the police reactions were influenced by the ethnicity of the sisters.
“After a thorough examination of the police files, no evidence of stereotyping or biased assumptions based on the sisters’ race or place of residence was found. We ask you to fully reflect this in your report. “
They added, “As soon as this matter came to light, the MPS took action at Northeast Command to remind officers of their responsibilities in using WhatsApp and other social media channels.
“The local management spoke to officers of the command to explain what is expected of them in relation to their behavior and to encourage anyone who has concerns about the behavior of a colleague to speak up. This was then repeated throughout the Met. “
Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said: “Our thoughts today go with the family and friends of Bibaa and Nicole. I deeply regret that at a time when they were grieving for the loss of their loved ones who were abducted in such dire circumstances, the actions of two police officers put them under additional strain.
“What former PC Jaffer and PC Lewis decided that day was utterly unprofessional, disrespectful and deeply insensitive. I know this is the view of colleagues at the Met who strongly condemn this behavior.
“You pleaded guilty to a serious crime today and the conviction will come in due course. I apologized to Bibaa and Nicole’s family last June, and on behalf of the Met, I apologize again today.
“Now that the trial is ready, we can lead the officers through an expedited misconduct trial.”