Socialist Worker

Why we won’t get an anti-racist police force

Issue No. 2564

Police search a young man heading to Notting Hill Carnival

Police search a young man heading to Notting Hill Carnival (Pic: Guy Smallman)


Police officers in England have killed three black men in a month. Edson Da Costa died after being stopped by police in Newham, east London, on 15 June. His life support was switched off on 21 June.

Darren Cumberbatch died after having contact with police in Nuneaton, Coventry, on 10 July. He died on 19 July.

Rashan Charles was stopped by a police officer in Hackney, east London, last Saturday. He died an hour after being taken to hospital.

These are the latest in a very long list of people killed by police.

Racism is at the heart of the police because of their role in society.

We are told that the cops protect us. In reality they protect the wealth and property of the rich—and their racist system.

That means they clamp down on anything that could threaten the smooth running of capitalist society and profits—such as strikes or angry protests.

It also means the cops share the views of those they serve.

Sexist

Police officers are racist, sexist and anti-working class because those at the top of society are.

Our rulers want working class people to accept the hierarchy of society and their “place” within it.

The cops are trained to understand this hierarchy—and that young, working class, black and Asian people are at the bottom of it.

The police always act to protect the wealth and property of the rich in society

Our rulers encourage racism to divide working class people and provide easy scapegoats.

They put on a great show of being enlightened.

Yet those at the top of society view many ordinary people as troublemakers, potential criminals, liars and hooligans. And the cops follow suit.

Abusing

This is why black people are 6.5 times more likely to be stopped and searched by the cops than white people. It’s also why cops think they can get away with killing black people, or abusing people in custody such as Sarah Reed.

Tory attacks on “football hooliganism” during the 1980s gave the cops a free rein to treat fans like animals.

It explains why they thought they could get away with blaming the 1989 Hillsborough disaster on fans.

There are regular outcries about police brutality and cover-ups. But the police know that the judges, newspaper owners and politicians will generally back them up.

We can’t have a non-racist or a pro-working class police force. That would get rid of the point of having the force in the first place.

That’s why Socialist Worker will not be calling for more police on our streets, or for giving them greater powers.

But we can organise and hold them to account—as the Hillsborough Justice Campaign has shown and justice campigns are trying to do now.

Ultimately to get rid of the racist police we have to uproot the whole capitalist society that relies on them.


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