INTERVIEW: Carl Duncan TFL Equality Manager

Carl Duncan currently Senior Equality Manager at Transport for London.

Carl Duncan interview
We at itzcaribbean want the visitors and youngsters to the site to be able to read about our community leaders. Find out what inspires them, and makes them tick. So we caught up with Carl Duncan currently Senior Equality Manager at Transport for London, responsible for viewing policies and procedures with a view to equality, diversity and inclusion for Transport for London, whole workforce part of the GLA.

So Carl, you seem to be extremely busy! I’ve tried to pin you down for this interview for some time now. What’s got you so busy? Is it the demands of the job?

Carl Duncan Yeah! I suppose you could say that. I hardly get time to see my own missus these days. After work I usually have some meeting or the other to attend, like this evening, I’m attending a discussion on the new stop and search laws they’re trying to implement.

Oh really! So how are you contributing then? TFL has a say in the passing of laws or what?

Carl laughs out loud…

Carl Duncan No, no, I’m actually chairman of Unco-operative witness sub group on the Operation Trident Independent Advisory Group.

Ok Carl, clarify that for me because a lot of people out there seem to be confused here – You mentioned Operation Trident

Carl Duncan Hold on! It’s quite simple really. Trident has an operation command unit (OCU) that specifically investigates gun crime within the black community. Now this unit was a much called for and much needed service requested and encouraged by community activists. I myself am horrified by the black on black crimes perpetuated upon our young black boys out there on the streets of the UK. It’s out of control and needs to be contained

My son is of the age whereby he himself falls within the average age group as well as race that may suffer gun violence from another brother on the streets. We have a responsibility to ourselves to try and quell this violence and find a resolve. My input is to advise as best as I can on how to do this without losing community trust and at the same time ensuring police performance is in no way compromised because it is a black on black crime.

Many black mothers and fathers will argue the point that the British Police force does too little in regard to crimes perpetuated on blacks. We of the Independent Advisory Group, Independent being the operative word here, endeavour to ensure this is not the case. All gun crimes within the black community will be investigated as thoroughly as any gun crime on any other race in the UK; this is one of our aims.

At this point Carl shifts uneasily in his chair and seems to be slightly agitated as well as quite angry.

Uhumm…Ok! Swiftly moving on… Let’s talk about your hobbies Carl … Got any?

Carl Duncan A warm smile suddenly appears on Carls face… Yep! Apart from spending precious time with my beloved wife Wendy, He replies. Music… Old school revival.

Oh really! Tell me more about Wendy. Is she the dutiful housewife?

Carl Duncan Oh no! By no means is Wendy the typical housewife. Wendy works in a managerial position for London Underground. She is also a very astute business woman. I’m a very firm believer in the family support system. Wendy provides me with the much needed support I require to further my career, as I myself will do everything I can possibly do to assist Wendy in her business endeavours. Wendy and are a great team, very much like the first black president of the US, Bill and his wife Hilary!

Oooooohkay!… A little bit of humour from Carl. So Wendy’s very supportive and also career driven. Sounds like you guys are soul mates.

Carl Duncan Oh Absolutely! Says Carl displaying that Cheshire cat grin you can only find on someone who is obviously blissfully happy in his marriage.

Ok Carl lets snap out of it before you melt. You mentioned your second love, music. And more to the point, old school revival.

Carl Duncan With a hint of pride on his face Carl proceeds to tell me of his youth days.

You would be surprised to know I actually had one of the roughest toughest sound systems coming out of Manchester, a sound by the name of Killerwatt Hi Fi. Man we used to travel the length and breadth of the UK, slamming down the toughest dubplates from yard. If we weren’t in Birmingham – We were in Leeds – If not Leeds, Bristol or even London. Sometimes Huddersfield, Nottingham. You name it we Killerwatt were there. It was wonderful. I still have some of my collection of records from days of old.

Yeah man! Dennis Brown, Big Youth, Culture. These guys are my heroes as far as music go. Up until chairing some of the organisations I am a member of, Music and reggae sound systems are what took up most of my spare time. Sir Coxsone sound system with Blacka Dread, Festus and those guys or David Rodigan, also Saxon Sound are my particular favourites. I’m sometimes asked to play music for close friends and family at functions and get togethers, so I do get the odd chance to reminisce from time to time.

It sounds as if music was your heart Carl. So how did you end up on the career path you’re currently on?

Carl Duncan Well…, I think the defining moment when I decided to take charge of my life and pursue any kind of career path was when my mother passed away back in 1980 That was when I felt I needed to take charge of my life and fill that void. You will find there are people out there that will somehow strengthen their spirit when faced with something tragic in life as well as some people will wallow in self pity and misery facing the same incident.

I’m one of the lucky ones I suppose. I seemed to be made of the sturdier stuff. Not to mention I was the eldest son of six kids. Ah ah! No self pity for me. My mum would not have respected that. I had to pull my finger out and get on with it. Do my mum proud so to speak!

Big up!! You seem to be quite active in the organisations you are member to. Fill me in again and give me some info on some of them as well as your role within these organisations. I mean, what exactly does your job entail?

Carl Duncan Well my job means I provide Corporate responsibility for the development and delivery of anti-discriminatory policies aimed at ensuring equality in employment practices and service delivery within TFL

Chair of the BAME staff network group for Transport for London. Helping TFL deal with workplace issues such as fairness, discrimination, career progression and development. Working in partnership to assist TFL understand, develop and create an equitable environment. Promoting the message of zero tolerance towards racism.

Chair of the British Transport Police Independant Advisory Group to critically appraise BTPs procedures and practices and to address the safety concerns of more vulnerable transport users. Representing a new and significant consultation mechanism designed to help the BTP meet the needs of all sections of the community by acting as a critical friend.

Member of the National Coalition of Black led Organisations. (NCBLO) The organisation aims to promote joined up thinking across the public and private sectors

Member of Operation Trident IAG Provides specialist crime reduction advice in respect of gun crime within the Metropolitan Police district, also focus on specific gun crime problem solving and improving the engagement and partnership approach of community based initiatives around firearm activity. Member of the National BME All Staff Networks for Public & Private employees working for the betterment of public workers.

Again, Big up Carl! I’m sure your mum would definitely have been proud. Now as I mentioned earlier Carl. The reason I’m doing this interview is so visitors and youngsters to the site can read about our community leaders. Is there anything you can tell me that may help some youngster who is just starting out?

Carl Duncan First and foremost, let me congratulate for what you guys are doing. We as a community do need a platform such as this to air our views and ideas and such like. As for me contributing something for the black youth. Yes! As a matter of fact I do have something I would like to share.

When I left Manchester and arrived in London near 30 years ago. I started out as a civil servant; my actual job was as a data analysis. I did get promoted within this organisation as well as moving from one department to another and to this day I find something steadily constant from then till now.

Whilst I was sat in various meetings, brainstorming or discussing certain issues amongst the group. An idea may come to mind and I would vocalise what ever it was I was thinking. I noticed as per usual, my idea would be totally ignored then suddenly, or even a couple of meetings down the road. My idea would be put forward by my white co-worker and of course it had now become a brilliant, fantastic idea and my co-worker of course got all the credit for it.

I had to learn how to strategize within the workforce if I wanted that promotion. In order to move forward as a black man in a predominantly white organisation you have to talk and project yourself a certain way. When I came across discrimination initially I was headstrong and would make my displeasure known to the detriment of myself thus reinforcing the stereotype black men had to content with in most areas of life. I learnt to be subtle and learnt to play by the rules in place without compromising myself and my beliefs. Some of the ideas I had during meetings, I would wait until I myself could implement those ideas within the organisation. This strategy assisted me in climbing to where I’ve gotten today instead of foolishly allowing my co-workers to steal my ideas along with the promotions that followed.

So Mr Carl Duncan, we’re wrapping up now but lastly, what does the future hold for you? What are your immediate plans? That look of anger seems to be reappearing on Carls face from what I can make out.

Carl Duncan I love my race and that is my main incentive, to make a difference for us as a whole and to help us help ourselves to become more integrated in this society and as a result successful.

Touching on that word integrated. As far as I’m concerned, and I know many community leaders are angry and share my view on this topic. We as a people have just gone back a good 30 years as far as integration is concerned. This Section 60 is by no means the answer or the way forward. Section 60 – is a police power under the stop and search laws. They can designate any area and stop and search without reason, under some vague, obscure, banner of specified social identity and since Gordon Brown announced it, they don’t have to document it. Because of the black on black gun crime they can now stop any black man in any area. No record needs to be made so we are back to being vulnerable and open to racial discrimination and lies. God help us!!

by itzteam 2008