Socialist Worker

'Where is the justice?'

Issue No. 1680

Blair defends police, but TV presenter asks...

'Where is the justice?'

"I THINK it is important to emphasise, particularly to the Metropolitan Police - which has had a difficult time after the Lawrence inquiry - that the stop and search powers are there and should be used." That was Tony Blair's defence of the Metropolitan Police and their racist stop and search tactic last week. Blair's comments came as still more evidence showed no link between levels of stop and search and street robbery.

Dr Jeremy Penzer of the London School of Economics found no link between "mugging" and stop and search levels in London. Tony Blair should have listened to TV news presenter Sheena McDonald before he praised the Met.

McDonald is recovering from a brain injury after being knocked down by a police van in north London last year. The van was travelling on the wrong side of the road. It was unroadworthy, and had a broken speedometer and "dubious" tyres.

In court last week the young officer involved was cleared of driving with undue care and attention. McDonald was shocked that police lawyers tried to blame her for the accident because she had drunk a glass of wine before being run over. McDonald wrote afterwards, "We live with a police culture which does not simply allow, but positively encourages, young men driving a couple of tons of metal around to drive as they please - at illegal speeds, on the wrong side of the road, without adequate care. I wonder whether mine is a common experience; for a police victim to feel that they are not only without hope of seeing justice done, but also finding through no fault of their own, that their name and reputation has been cruelly besmirched. I have always believed that the rule of law is one of the most fundamental planks of a civilised democracy. From my own experience, I no longer hold that conviction to be a practical operation. Justice is a flexible concept to say the least."

  • In the last decade an average of 24 people a year were killed by police drivers.
  • The number injured by police cars now tops 2,100 a year.

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Article information

Thu 20 Jan 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1680
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