UK Association of Muslim Police appreciates input of Gambian delegation

Friday, July 20, 2018

Javid Rana, Vice President of the Association of Muslim Police (AMP) and the current Chairperson of the Association, has strongly emphasised his appreciation towards the ‘‘presence and input’’ of the Gambian delegation who attended its Annual General Meeting on Monday 16, July, at the Empress State Building in London.

Amid thorough security screening, attended by high ranking Police officers, senior politicians and religious leaders, the AMP outlined some of its aims including the ability to ‘‘observe their faith and to promote understanding of Islam within the Police service and wider community’’.

Gambian Imam, Ba Alimameh Jaiteh, leading the prayer, noted the importance of Police community relations. He said that despite differences, various religions should respect and value each other.

The Gambian Imam also revealed that even though the majority of his countrymen are Muslims, they live and interact peacefully over the years as ‘‘brothers and sisters’’, and further reminded the gathering about the current administration operating in The Gambia by wishing them well in their current and future endeavour.

Another Gambian, Alieu Jagne, organiser at both the mosque and at community level, recalled the reason of organising and engaging with relevant authorities as well as the importance of enlightening our youth to deter them from any form of radicalisation.

Javid Rana, who warmly welcomed everyone, articulately outlined the reason for joining the Association when he really needed support. He revealed the rapid increase of its members during the past years and also valued the support from the UK and European Parliaments; and the participation of people from various ethnic and religious groups.

The AMP also vital in the ‘‘recruitment and retention’’ of Muslim staff; assist in the ‘‘creation of a fair and just working environment for all cultural minorities’’ is currently a force to be reckoned with.  As a result, Rana, disagreed with certain skeptics and doubters who are yet to join and assures everyone that the Association is for the best interest of its members.

Martin Hewitt, Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, described London as one of the most diverse cities in the world. However he added that such diversity comes along with complex challenges and acknowledged the Gambian delegation’s assessment that ‘‘Police are part of the community we policing’’. He repeated a quote: ‘‘The Police is the public and the public is the Police’’.

Assistant Commissioner Hewitt, stressed the need for the Police to ‘‘reflect the public’’ and replicate the city of London. He recalled the terrorism incidents; attacked at a London Mosque; anxiety regarding Brexit; hate crimes and the Grenfell Tower where a fire-ravaged 24-storey residential tower block killing 72 people including Gambian Khadija Saye who lived on the 20th floor with her mum, Mary Mendy.

Assistant Commissioner Hewitt revealed that investigations are ongoing and vowed that those responsible will be brought to justice.

The Point separately learnt that already interviews are carried out and the Police recommended possible charges of ‘‘gross negligence, manslaughter, corporate manslaughter and breaches of the Health and Safety Act’’.

Abs Haque, who was presented with an award recognising his dedication and hard work helping with the community engagement stressed the need to inspire others for a ‘‘positive environment’’. He emphasised the efforts on ‘‘breaking barriers, recruitment, career development’’ amongst others.

Dave Stringer, Chief Superintendent, also recognised that the UK has one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe and thus a proper recruitment representing ‘‘diversity from other ethnic minorities’’ is essential.

Stringer elaborated the issues regarding ‘‘rest days, Fridays and Eid prayers, rise in Islamophobia, on-line discussions and legitimate opinion’’.

Farooq Sheik, Police Superintendent, who spoke passionately about his past, revealed that his father came from East Africa, and that he also lived in a ‘‘socially deprived’’ area in the West Midlands. He jokingly said that even though he was not ‘‘gifted in spellings’’ he make use of his ‘‘Maths’’ and was ‘‘streetwise’’.

Consequently, he was brave enough to approach a recruitment staff who helped, encouraged and recruited him.

Superintendent Farooq highlighted his achievements including a Master’s degree in Criminology as well as his current position. Thus he urged his follow officers to be helpful and supportive to each other.

Speaking on behalf of the Gambian delegation, this correspondent thanked the Metropolitan Police and the Association of Muslim Police for a successful annual event and its appreciation for Gambians.

Journalist Mbye who is also a legal researcher reminded members that Gambians are well known respecter of the law and hard working citizens with high regards for the rule of law. Mr Mbye reassured members that news coverage regarding similar events affecting African issues especially Sengambians will be duly highlighted.  

 Other high level speakers and participants include: Robin Wilkinson Director HR, Che Donald, Vice Chair of NPFEW, Rabbi Herschel Gluck OBE, Harun Khan, Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor, MP Naz Shah, Gareth Wilson, Chief Constable of Suffolk, AC Neil Basu- CT Lead, Mohammed Kozbar, Chairman of Finsbury Mosque and Councillor Samia Chaudhary Mayor of Hounslow.

Author: Alhagie Mbye, The Point’s Europe Correspondent