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The Met: Episode one

Updated Thursday 4th June 2015

The first episode of The Met: Policing London looks at the verdict surrounding the killing of Mark Duggan by an armed police officer and the riots that followed. 

Police officers arresting a man (BBC USE ONLY) Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: BBC Filmed over the course of a year, The Met follows officers of Britain's biggest and busiest police service as they deal with life, death, crime and its victims, all across the capital.

In 2011, a 29-year-old black man and suspected gang member called Mark Duggan was fatally shot by a firearms officer in Tottenham. The officer believed Duggan had a gun and that he might use it. The Met's handling of the situation in the days that followed sparked some of the worst riots in London's history. An inquiry is about to announce whether the killing was lawful or unlawful. It's creating anxiety in Scotland Yard and tension on the streets of Tottenham, one of the most racially diverse areas of Britain and home to the Duggan family.

Management at Scotland Yard is busy planning around the verdict: whatever the outcome, they are anxious that it may spark fresh riots. Victor Olisa is one of just five borough commanders in the Met from a black or ethnic minority background. He was moved to Tottenham after the riots to try to heal the Met's relationship with some of the community. When the verdict is announced, his station becomes the focus of community frustrations and the pressure is on Victor to manage the situation, which he does by asking for help from community leaders.

In the weeks that follow, tensions between some of London's black community and the Met are running high. Police think it's time for a new approach. At the annual Splash street party in Brixton, they work with the black community to police the event the way the community wants it policed. But can this approach work when gangs have caused chaos in previous years? And can there ever be a long-term solution to the troubled history of London's police and some of the city's black community?

This episode is part of The Open University's/BBC's co-production The Met: Policing London. You can view more information on the series and episode guides here. 

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