Tag Archives: police


North Korea’s Kim Jong-un has a whole tumblr dedicated to him looking at things.

David Cameron has his own (definitely more benign) tumblr dedicated to him looking at fish while on holiday.

Something that’s not so benign (though from a media perspective, somewhat clever I suppose) is David Cameron’s habit of pointing at things and making policy announcements. Lots and lots of them.

What’s missing is details on exactly how he’s going to get this all done. Case in point: This weekend he (rightly) slammed institutional racism in the UK, warning “educational institutions, the police, the military and the courts they were the focus of a new effort to tackle social inequality fuelled by “ingrained, institutional and insidious” racism.” So far, so good. And you could say that the details will come.

But what’s also missing is some joined up thinking. Today, alongside figures that showed a 23% pay gap for Black graduates, measures came into force requiring private landlords to check the immigration status of their potential tenants. Predictably, industry experts (as immigration experts have been saying since this idea was first mooted) have warned that these measures will discriminate against those with foreign names, the young and less well-off.

The Residential Landlords Association (RLA) said its members faced a difficult choice: they could “take a restrictive view with prospective tenants, potentially causing difficulties for the 12 million UK citizens without a passport” or “target certain individuals to conduct the checks, opening themselves up to accusations of racism”.

Incidentally, this is in a rental market where there is already a problem for ethnic minorities, who are routinely discriminated against.

The Guardian reports: “Dr David Smith, policy director at the RLA, said: “The government argues that its ‘right to rent’ plans form part of a package to make the UK a more hostile environment for illegal immigrants. The evidence shows that it is creating a more hostile environment for good landlords and legitimate tenants.”

These are policies that Cameron has actually implemented.

Enough looking. We should be joining the dots.


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6540-fitandcrop-495x330Tonight I visited Hampstead Theatre for the first time, to see Wildefire by Roy Williams. The last play of his I saw was Sucker Punch at the Royal Court, which was far better. However, Wildefire, which looked at the how an enthusiastic new recruit to the Met became cynical and broken, had its striking moments. It was 90 minutes without an interval, which kept the tension building. The cast was strong. My favourite scenes were group ones set on council estates – which were often menacing, but very well choreographed. The final scene is truly breathtaking – the whole cast on stage, witnessing and reacting to the main character’s breakdown. It’s a scene  full of drama and so physical that it’s almost like a dance. Williams doesn’t really weave scenes together so much as juxtapose them, like a film. I am not sure I like that aspect of his style, but having seen about four of his plays, that’s one of his trademarks. I am not an expert, but I thought it did a good job of showing the challenges and frustrations of policing in modern-day Britian, and the people behind the uniforms.

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A Lawful Killing

Lawful, adj. allowed, recognised or santioned by law, legal. 

The jury’s decision in the inquest into the killing of Mark Duggan is to be respected, of course, because the legal process has been followed. But so many don’t seem to understand the dismay and consternation this has caused in the Black community.

So many questions remain unanswered. I cannot imagine the pain of the Duggan family, who had the double blow of losing their loved one and then having misinformation put out to the media by the IPCC and the police, which was left uncorrected for weeks. And in that time, no one in the police paid them the basic courtesy of a visit to tell them that Mark had been killed.

A lot of the facts of the case have been obscured by the sense that Mark was a criminal. However, his family maintain that this has been overblown – he got into trouble, but was certainly no gangster. But even if he was, he didn’t have a gun and was shot dead. A mistake no doubt that will weigh on the conscience of the police marksman.

But with so many things unclear and so much having been messed up, doubts cloud the case. Stafford Scott, a family supporter and local activist, wrote this clear, hardhitting article for the Guardian, outlining the oustanding issues.

“It feels as if we are living in a parallel universe from mainstream society. What is seen as justice by the mainstream is experienced as injustice by the marginalised.” – Stafford Scott

And in the Independent, Yasmin Alibhai Brown points out why this matters.

“What is practised on one group, is then extended to everyone else. Remember that. In 2009, Ian Tomlinson died after being hit by a policeman. When the children of the middle classes were tyrannised by cops during student demos over fees, their parents felt what many black families regularly feel.”

It was just in December that Tory MP Charles Walker highlighted the shameful statistics on the deaths of Black people in police custody:

“We have allowed the causes of these deaths to go unaddressed… If we are to bring this community closer to us, we need to understand the hurt we have caused in this place and institutions of the state have caused.”

Mark Duggan joins a sad roll call of Black people who have died at the hands of the police (Cynthia Jarrett, Roger Sylvester and more) who have not, in the eyes of the community, received justice.

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