About The Chair
Abimbola Johnson is an award-winning criminal defence and professional regulatory barrister who practises from 25 Bedford Row. She was called to the Bar by the Inner Temple in 2011.
Abimbola is also a legal commentator and writer. She has been featured in The Guardian, Elle magazine, Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Channel 4 News, The Metro, and Sky News. Her writing appears on the reading list for the LSE’s LLB(Hons) course.
Abimbola sits on a number of boards and advisory panels: She is a legal trustee for The Advocacy Academy; an editorial board member for the Criminal Law Review; a management committee member of the Black Barristers’ Network, and a member of the advisory board for The Howard League’s project “Making Sure Black Lives Matter in the Courtroom”. She also sits as a school governor for a south London primary school.
Abimbola graduated from the St Peter’s College, University of Oxford with a degree in Law (Jurisprudence) in 2009.
How Abimbola was appointed
In early summer 2020, policing leaders from across the UK committed to act on issues of diversity and inclusion and concerns about racial inequalities, including the experiences of Black people, in policing and the criminal justice system. They affirmed their commitment to tackle the wrongs of racism, bias and discrimination wherever they are found in policing. Key to that agenda was forming an independent scrutiny and oversight board to help to agree the ambition, priority issues and action they would take in response to communities’ concerns.
A public advertisement was placed for the role of ISOB chair on 29 March 2021 following the announcement of the development of the Action Plan.
Applicants were instructed to submit their CVs and cover letters.
A shortlist was then compiled with candidates invited to interview where each gave a prepared oral presentation answering the following question: “What do you see as the key issues around policing and its relationship with Black communities? Expanding on one of these, what will be your approach to ensuring policing can improve in this area?”
Interviews were one hour long before a panel made up of:
Bernie O’Reilly (Chair of the interviewing panel and, at the time, Interim CEO, College of Policing)
Amanda Pearson (Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police Service and Programme Director of the Inclusion and Race Programme)
Andy George (President of the National Black Police Association)
Kerrin Wilson QPM (Assistant Chief Constable, Lincolnshire Police)
Wendy McPherson (Inclusive Boards)