The National Black Police Association acknowledges the conviction of PC Benjamin Monk for the killing of Dalian Atkinson and we pass on our thoughts to the Atkinson family. The damage that Dalian’s death has done to trust and legitimacy in policing cannot be underestimated.
Whilst we recognise that police officers do a difficult job, putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the public, it is quite right that we are held to the highest level of independent scrutiny when we use force. Our actions must not only be lawful but proportionate, necessary and stand up to scrutiny when examined. On this occasion a court found the force used against Dalian Atkinson, a person suffering a mental health crisis, went beyond what any person could describe as reasonable force.
Taser can be a useful tool in helping to resolve violent confrontations and is a tactical option to reduce harm and de-escalate situations. Training needs to ensure that a Taser is not used solely as a compliance tool but as a less lethal option,where the user honestly believes they are taking action to prevent death or serious injury.
NBPA President, Andy George said “The loss of any life is tragic but to die at the hands of a police officer makes it even more so. We hope there are many lessons learnt from this incident and measures are put in place to prevent this occurring again. Black people are twice as likely to have force used on them and policing needs to include cultural awareness in all of our training, but particularly in our use of powers and use of force. The NBPA are available to help review policy and practices in training so that we remove disproportionality and make policing fair to all communities.”