Police chief: Our work is under microscope after last two years

Monday, 27th June — By Charlotte Chambers

Borough Commander Andy Carter

Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Andy Carter

THE borough’s most senior police officer has described the last couple of years for the police as “harrowing” after a series of high profile local, national and international events put policing under the microscope.

Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Andy Carter told his team that now everybody in the Met had to “roll up our collective sleeves” and get on with job.

He was speaking at a commendation ceremony for outstanding officers held at the Emirates Stadium.

While each winner of an award was celebrated for their good work, Ch Supt Carter said it had been a tough job following a series of scandals.

Met Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick was forced to step down in February amid accusations that London’s force was not dealing with racism, homophobia and misogyny.

After the shocking details of the Sarah Everard murder confirmed she had been killed by a man who was then serving as a police officer had been revealed, further trust was lost with the discovery of misogynistic messages shared between officers – not from Islington – in their social chat groups.

Black Lives Matters protests had also followed the death of George Floyd in Minnesota in 2020, with debate on how police should respond.

Ch Supt Carter, the head of both Camden and Islington police, said: “It’s been a turbulent couple of years for the world, the UK and for the Met; policing a pandemic; responding to the international events linked to the Black Lives Matter movement; the horrific case of Sarah Everard and other highly publicised events that frankly have not reflected well on us, has been a harrowing experience for everyone.”

He said those receiving commendations had been “exceptional” but said all officers were now operating under extra layers of “scrutiny” which had made a difficult job even harder.

“Policing is an incredibly tough profession,” he added. “The job itself is tricky enough in terms of what officers and police staff have to do every day.

“But my goodness me it’s been made even more difficult in recent years, with the most intense scrutiny that we’ve been under, really under the microscope in recent times.”

He praised Camden and Islington police officers who had risen to the task

“The most important thing – the most enduring aspect around this – is we have looked to roll up our collective sleeves and continue to serve the public in the best way we can by putting them first,” Ch Supt Carter said. “We can’t do rebuilding trust and confidence over here and police work over there. They all come together, and they’re interlinked.”

Thirty-four citations of bravery and dedication were read out at the ceremony, for 73 officers, one member of police staff and three members of the public.

Ch Supt Carter has made tackling violence against women and girls a key priority and attended the Tribune’s summit on the issue in April.

The brave blue line!

EXCEPTIONAL acts of bravery and dedication by Islington police officers were celebrated last week at an awards ceremony. Gathered officers from across the borough and neighbouring Camden took their seats at a service held at the Arsenal stadium in Holloway on Wednesday to listen to senior officers commend them for their acts of heroism and service.

Among the stories told were harrowing cases of a young girl who was abducted, held captive and sexually assaulted, before being rescued by quick thinking officers, along with a “historic” investigation that led to the jailing of a prolific sex offender spanning decades.  Awards were also handed out to officers for their diligent work on “county lines” drug rings smashed, as well as reports of constables coming in to work on their days off to ensure dangerous criminals did not slip through any nets as they passed through the court system.  A total of 73 officers were commended, with several receiving more than one award – and one officer, Police Constable Andrew Martin, who was handed an incredible four commendations. Detective Chief Inspector Ralph Coats, describing an incident where a man had stabbed himself in the neck in public, said police arrived to find him suffering a “catastrophic bleed”.  “Instantly they jumped into life saving action,” he added. “Their capes were on, with ‘S’ on the front, and they saved this guy’s life.” Islington’s Chief Superintendent Andy Carter said: “I know that if you ask every single one of the officers today about their commendations, they are most likely to bat it off with an ‘I’m just doing my job’. People say policing is about ordinary people doing an extraordinary job – but I just don’t stand for that. I think you are extraordinary people.”

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