Socialist Worker

Rotten cops are policing their reputation

Issue No. 2359

Revelations that the police spied on the family of murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence to try and smear them will appal most people.

The cops refused to take investigating Stephen’s racist murder seriously. Some officers had links with relatives of the suspects.

Their handling of the killing exposed the corruption and racism at the heart of the police. They lost legitimacy in the eyes of millions.

But this wasn’t only a concern for the cops—it was a concern for the whole establishment.

The police don’t exist to protect us from crime. They are a key part of the state and their role is to protect our rulers’ property and interests.

But to do this effectively, they also have to protect themselves and their reputation.

That’s why it made sense to them to spend time trying to discredit the Lawrence family. 

It’s why the police spread lies about Liverpool football fans in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Our rulers are sometimes forced to criticise the cops. But they only do so to try and shut down any deeper investigation of police behaviour.

The revelations about police spying aren’t just an indictment of the cops. 

They are an indictment of the whole rotten system we live in —and one more reason why we need to get rid of it.

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What We Think
Tue 25 Jun 2013, 18:18 BST
Issue No. 2359
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