Vote Sadiq Khan for race equality in London

Labour’s Asian frontrunner in today’s election for the powerful post of Mayor of Britain’s capital city has at last talked about race issues on the campaign trail.

More 40 per cent of London’s population comprises people of colour the same as him. pinned him down at his tightly news managed final campaign speech event on Tuesday. We asked him about two burning issues for the Black community, police stop and search and deaths in custody.

On the first he told us he agreed: “There are a disproportionately high number of Black, Asian, minority ethnic Londoners stopped and searched. That’s why I believe in intelligence-led [as opposed to the controversial racial profiling] stop and search.”

He added: “We’ve got to change the way the police service looks, so it is more representative of the population of our city. This will not only benefit the Black community, it will benefit all of us and members of the public will be confident in coming forward [to report crime and be witnesses].“

 “If sections of the public lack confidence in the police, don’t report crime, don’t come forward to be witnesses, that’s not a good thing. So, it’s in all our interest for the police to be respected by the public and be seen as a [public] service.

On the equally controversial issue of Black deaths in custody, Khan said: “I’m somebody who’s acted [as a lawyer] for the bereaved families of those who have died in custody. It’s an important issue. This is one of the reasons I was in favour, years ago, about there being cameras in [police] custody suites and police vans.”

He added:  “Sunlight is the best disinfectant. That’s why I would like officers to carry cameras on their lapels so we can see what’s going on. It’s really important. To increase public confidence.”

He went on: “But, do you know what, most decent police officers want it too, because they want to show there is nothing wrong with what they are doing. And it will help with prosecutions too, that sort of information you get from a camera.”

In a previous interview, on a walkabout around the famed market at Brixton, south London, he told Britain’s Black newspaper The Voice he would be the most “pro business mayor London has ever had,” by establishing:

  • a business advisory board comprised of at least 50 per cent women and, which directly represents London’s ethnic diversity. So, presumably it’ll have a membership of at least 40 per cent Black and minority ethnic people?

And, he wanted to see:

  • big businesses train up today’s youngsters and Black Londoners to have the skills and the ability to do whatever they put their minds to. I guess he’’ll have to tackle racism and the lack of equal opportunities in the education system and youth service to do that.

Alongside targeted initiatives such as Skills for Londoners, he said he would have a broader strategy to:

  • See well-qualified Black Londoners given support as they navigate the capital’s workplaces.

We don’t know what his position is on American-style affirmative action to boost the number of Black people in the workforce and help them gain promotion. But this would be consistent with his support for a quota system so that the capital’s police service looks more like London.

He has said London’s voters have got the historic opportunity to elect him as a mayor who will ensure that those who are in positions of power and influence [in City Hall] look like all Londoners. will hold Khan to his promises.