Statement regarding outcome in court of appeal today
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Chief Constable Lucy D'Orsi, said: “As I have commented previously on behalf of the British Transport Police (BTP), I am sincerely sorry for the trauma suffered due to the criminal actions of former police officer DS Derek Ridgewell who worked in BTP during the 1960s and 70s. In particular, it is of regret that we did not act sooner to end his criminalisation of British Africans, which led to the conviction of innocent people, including Mr Peterkin and Mr Mehmet.
“This is simply inexcusable and is something that my colleagues and I are appalled by. The actions of DS Ridgewell do not define the BTP of today which is enriched by highly professional, kind and committed officers and staff who are passionate about protecting the public. I have also met retired officers who are equally appalled by the criminal actions of DS Derek Ridgewell. I acknowledge that, during those times, systemic racism played a role in the culture of the Force, as it did across many parts of society.
“We cannot undo the past, but we can learn from it. This is an important and sombre point of reflection in our history. BTP is committed to combatting racism, which includes Afriphobia, which led to these historic cases that targeted African youths and destroyed lives.
“My colleagues and I are profoundly sorry to all those affected by DS Ridgewell’s atrocious actions and the trauma that victims and their families suffered as a result. I would like to reiterate my sincere apology for the trauma caused to the British African community by a corrupt BTP officer, whose misuse of his powers caused harm not only to the innocent young people criminalised, but also to their families and community.
“The identification of DS Ridgewell’s victims has always been important to us and we are thankful that the Criminal Cases Review Commission identified and successfully appealed for justice for Mr Peterkin and Mr Mehmet. We continue to encourage any possible victim or their family to reach out if they feel they have been subject to a miscarriage of justice.”