The horrific scenes from the US of George Floyd being held down by a police officer, unable to breathe, had a huge effect on Mohammed Khan.
Watching those scenes, Khan was reminded of his own traumatic experience when police allegedly used excessive force during his arrest last year, causing him to pass out.
His was one of the cases I supported to try and understand what happened. The police have since been unable to explain why he was detained, and this experience has had a long-lasting effect on his mental health.
Prior to lockdown, he was hospitalised several times following the incident. Now, living in overcrowded conditions on a cramped social housing estate in lockdown and looking after his severely diabetic mother, he suffers from anxiety and stress.
His family worry that if they are living under such enormous pressure impacting on their mental wellbeing then there must be police officers who too will be living under similar circumstances. And suffering similarly from stress.
Arguments arise, tempers flare and physical scuffles that lead to serious assaults can happen in an environment that is not ready for a new type of community policing.
In George Floyd’s case, it was evident the behaviour of the police was appalling but as the lockdown gradually eases, the UK’s focus must be on what challenges community policing will inevitably face in a post-lockdown era.
This is a difficult situation as the police also fear for their own lives, particularly when we look to the epidemic of knife crime that continues to plague the UK’s biggest cities. The police are already fearing an explosion of violent crime as rival drug gangs try to re-establish their dominance across London following the lockdown.
There needs to be a meaningful discussion ahead of time about the...