Was sitting in my car in the Mansfield Road, last week, when a typical scene unfolded before me. A couple of black youths, in a car pulled over, right next to me. No offences commited that I could see. Wound down the window to take these piccys, [well, I couldn’t help it!] over heard the initial conversation. “Is this your car sir …… ”

Benjamin Zephaniah:

The Metropolitan Police wanted to use a couple of lines of his poetry (‘I love this concrete jungle still with all its sirens and its speed/ the people here united will create a kind of London breed’) for a recruitment campaign.

Zephaniah would not play.

He complained that he was still stopped by the police, simply because of his appearance. Now he is less vociferous: ‘I would love to see a day when I am able to work for the police. I’d be happy, because they pay well, I’m told.’ He is never short of a joke. But he won’t ‘unite’ with anyone unless his heart is in it.