Editor’s comment: Latest blow for police’s public relations work

Government advisor Gwenton Sloley. Picture: STEVE POSTON

Government advisor Gwenton Sloley. Picture: STEVE POSTON - Credit: Archant

The attempt by police officers to discredit Gwenton Sloley is as bizarre as it is outrageous.

As Gwenton points out, it doesn’t make any sense that he should be deemed a risk to his employers – but not to the various vulnerable people caught up in murder investigations with whom the Met allowed him to continue working.

Until the Met’s investigation into the fiasco is complete – and I appreciate there is a history of police investigating police that leaves a lot to be desired in terms of community trust – it isn’t for me to say whether there was any sinister motivation in the police’s actions following the bungled raid.

But since it would appear there was no intelligence to implicate Gwenton, it’s baffling that anyone felt the need to tell his employers – unless, as he believes, they wanted to ruin (or at least obstruct) his career.

Lest we forget, that is a career that has saved lives (and been recognised by police chiefs and even the Home Office for doing so), not to mention millions of pounds of public funding.

It was, originally, a coincidence that Gwenton should also be interviewed in this week’s Gazette as an expert source on county lines. But once we realised the two stories were on course to run simultaneously, it became a conscious decision to leave them together as a reminder of what Gwenton actually works to tackle.

Police in Hackney have work to do in rebuilding community relationships, particularly in the wake of the Met’s endemic racism during (especially) the 1980s and 1990s, and more recent controversies such as spying on activists and the death of Rashan Charles. This latest scandal is another blow for those relations. If I were borough commander Sue Williams, I’d be sending a strongly worded letter to Lewisham reminding it of that fact.