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04 July 2024

Law School and British Transport Police launch scholarship to support a student of Black African or Black Caribbean heritage

The Dickson Poon School of Law, in partnership with the British Transport Police (BTP), has launched a fully funded undergraduate scholarship to enable a student of Black African or Black Caribbean heritage to pursue an LLB course for the 2024/25 academic year.

A group of people are gathered in-front of a banner, smiling towards a camera in a red room.

Ahead of the scholarship launching, the Law School hosted a roundtable, chaired by Professor Dan Hunter, Executive Dean of The Dickson Poon School of Law, featuring academics from the Law School alongside Chief Constable of the BTP, Lucy D’Orsi CVO QPM, Rachael Etebar, Director of People and Culture at the BTP and Nana Asante, a community activist at BTWSC/African Histories Revisited.

The roundtable considered how to introduce students to diverse areas of law, including criminal and human rights law, policing, and how the study of these areas can be positive and engaging for students. The group also considered how to engage budding young lawyers in understanding and dealing with systemic injustices in the British justice system.

The roundtable followed the decision by the British Transport Police to fund a scholarship for a British student of Black African or Black Caribbean descent who holds an offer to study a full-time undergraduate LLB Law degree at King’s and will cover full tuition fees and living costs.

The scholarship forms part of the BTP’s work to acknowledge the unlawful actions of former officer, DS Derek Ridgewell, which contributed to serious miscarriages of justice targeting predominantly Black people in the 1970s who went to prison for crimes they had not committed.

The intention behind the scholarship is to provide more equitable outcomes within the justice system for communities who have had historically problematic relationships with police. The scholarship is part of King’s ongoing commitment to ensure students of Black African and Black Caribbean heritage feel supported to undertake their studies at King’s. 

I would like to extend my thanks to the British Transport Police for funding this important scholarship. At The Dickson Poon School of Law, we are committed to supporting the next generation of legal scholars and this scholarship offers an invaluable opportunity for a student to apply the knowledge and skills they learn during their time here to law reform and policing in their future career.

Professor Dan Hunter, Executive Dean, The Dickson Poon School of Law.

BTP recognises the impact of DS Ridgewell’s actions, and this scholarship is only part of the work we are doing to shine a spotlight on the past and ensure no further miscarriages of justice take place. --- What DS Ridgewell did was indefensible and does not define the BTP I know today, which is enriched by highly professional, kind and committed officers and staff who are passionate about protecting the public.

Chief Constable Lucy D’Orsi CVO QPM, British Transport Police

On behalf of all those from the British African community who supported our campaign, I'm glad that the Aya Scholarship can now be announced. Whilst it may be a small step, it is certainly in the right direction in recognising a wrong suffered by DS Ridgewell’s victims. We look forward to seeing the recipient using the law they study at King's College London to improve the lives of those from the British African and the wider community.”

Kwaku, history consultant and community activist, BTWSC/African Histories Revisited

The word ‘Aya’ is translated as ‘fern’ in the Twi language, and is symbolic of endurance, independence, defiance against difficulties, hardiness, perseverance, and resourcefulness.

The full details and eligibility criteria can be found on the scholarship’s webpage.