AS a feminist and a mother I find it repugnant the Metropolitan Police is using one of its senior female officers for its latest Islamaphobic drive on the Muslim community.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Helen Ball is being shamelessly exploited to front a despicable campaign which is essentially urging mums to grass up their sons who may want to travel to war torn Syria.
The move by the heavily male dominated, counter-terrorism unit, is part of a national campaign following a number of deaths of brave young men who went to Syria to help defend a crushed people against the brutal President Assad's regime.
Critics and campaigners have already questioned whether the police should be trusted to drive such a project. The answer is “NO”!
Why? Ask Doreen Lawrence, one of Britain’s most famous mothers who was horribly betrayed by a force riddled with institutionalised racism. In her most vulnerable moments she made the mistake of trusting the Metropolitan Police to do their job and get justice for her son – how was that trust rewarded? Unbelievably, they turned the tables and spied on her instead trying to criminalise her family and son’s memory.
Scotland Yard already stands accused of covering up "institutionalised sexism" within its ranks by trying to block civil claims launched by women who say they were deceived into sexual relationships with undercover officers.
Labour MP Keith Vaz, chairman of the influential Commons Home Affairs Committee, quite rightly points out: "The Met is not a counselling service, they are the first stage in the criminal enforcement process.”
And realistically speaking how are mothers expected to know what their young sons are thinking or about to do? While we all want and hope to have an open and transparent relationship with our children, realistically there are some things they simply will not share with their parents.
This latest initiative is nothing more than a McCarthyite-style witch hunt by one of the most bent and corrupt police forces in the world – why on earth should any mother trust such a rotten organisation?
The fact they are prepared to use one of their female employees to front such a bonkers idea is also despicable. I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that Helen Ball was chosen to be used in this way and if she feels the same way and needs help I know several organisations that she can turn to in confidence. Let’s start that conversation now Helen to prevent the exploitation of more women by a force which has huge problems of sexism as well as several other isms.
Earlier this month a black firearms officer launched proceedings against the Metropolitan Police for racial and sexual discrimination saying she was a "token" used by the force to try to prove it was diverse.
Carol Howard, 34, said she was put forward for an interview in the wake of the shooting of Mark Duggan, at a time when her unit had a "bad reputation".
She told an employment tribunal that she was also tasked with driving Baroness Lawrence, the mother of murdered Stephen Lawrence, in what she saw as an attempt by the Met to prove it was no longer racist.
Pc Howard, a member of Scotland Yard's elite SO6 Diplomatic Protection Group is suing the Met for racial discrimination, claiming her promotion chances were obstructed because of her race and gender.
Of course the outcome of that case has yet to be determined but it’s not a one off. The Metropolitan Police force has serious issues and I would urge anyone who works inside it to get help if they are targets of racism, homophobia, sexism and Islamaphobia.
This troubled, controversial force is not the right organisation to be launching any sort of initiative in the Muslim community. Quite simply they cannot be trusted.
* Yvonne Ridley is the Deputy General Secretary of the International Muslim Women’s Union (European branch) and a supporter of the London-based NGO CAGE.
(NOTE: CAGE represents cases of individuals based on the remit of our work. Supporting a case does not mean we agree with the views or actions of the individual. Content published on CAGE may not reflect the official position of our organisation.)