South west London community radio station Riverside Radio is celebrating the launch of its new podcast, ‘The Ripple Effect’ with a series of #BehindtheBadge interviews with police officers from south west London.
The first of three episodes, launching tomorrow, sees Head of News Stephen Menon talk to Detective Superintendent Owain Richards and Detective Constable Scerene Williams and South West Londoner has gained exclusive access to it.
In a year in which the Black Lives Matter protests have spread from the US to across the world, the topic of racism in the police force dominates a large section of the podcast.
Williams, whose parents came over to the UK from the Caribbean, has first-hand experience of racism, as well as what it is like to be an officer of colour.
However, she said she feels supported within the Met Police, and added that although there is still a long way to go, the Met are taking steps in the right direction.
She said: “The Met is clearly trying to find its way through and address the issues. There’s still a lot to do and the work needs to be done. But the work needs to be done in all sectors. I look at the way that the police are trying to change things, and least they’re trying to make a difference.
“The worst racism I’ve experienced in this country has never come from the police, it came when I was a student in school, it’s come from teachers.”
Richards spent most of his career as an officer in Wales, as he joined Dyfed-Powys Police at the age of 21 almost 25 years ago, and has only been in London since 2015, outlined the unique challenges that London presents to a police force.
He said: “London has big sporting events, protests, people congregating. It’s also more diverse than other cities so the demography, the crime and the public space are all different.
“The bedrock and principles of policing are the same, about protecting people, preventing crime and holding people to account, but the individual challenges are very different.”
As well as sharing their backgrounds, and how they got into policing and how that informs the way they operate, both officers talk about the highs and lows of their daily jobs.
Across the hour-long show, the pair also share funny stories about being on the beat, talk about what policing has been like during lockdown, and why Hot Fuzz is one of the best interpretations of policing.
More than anything else, #BehindtheBadge is about the human experiences in a role that is often looked at in an unpopular and detached way.
Richards and Williams explain and display how officers are not first and foremost officers, but primarily people and how as police, they try to treat those they interact with as people.
It feels somewhat poignant that the podcast ends with stories of what it is like to be an officer interacting with members of the public, and how as police, the primary aim is to help people.