Socialist Worker

Tories want more power for bullying and racist cops

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2667

The new measures will mean police officers will have more freedom

The new measures will mean police officers will have more freedom (Pic: Daniele Zanni )

Tory prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to “come down hard on crime” as the prospect of a general election looms.

He announced that police officers would have more freedom to use “Section 60” stop and search powers.

They will now be able to use them in a designated area “without needing serious grounds for suspicion if serious violence is ­anticipated”, the new policy says.

The plan will mean even more black people will face racist harassment. They were already nine times more likely to be stopped and searched in England and Wales in 2017-18, according to the government’s own figures.

This rises to 40 times more likely when police use stop and search powers under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.

This allows senior police officers to sanction searches without any grounds for suspicion if they believe there’s a chance serious ­violence “will” occur.

Target

The police also target working class people in general.

Johnson’s plan will now give 8,000 more junior officers the power to declare Section 60 notice.

And now they need only need to claim that serious violence “may” occur.

The running time of a Section 60 notice will increase from 15 hours to 24 hours—and cops can now extend it for 48 hours.

Writing in the Daily Mail newspaper, Johnson dismissed fears that this will lead to targeting of ethnic minorities as the objections of “left wing criminologists”.

“We are making clear that the police can and should make use of their stop and search powers,” he wrote. His announcement is part of a package of measures to present the Tories as the party of “law and order”.

It includes £2.5 billion for 10,000 new prison places—on top of the plans for 20,000 more police officers announced last week.

The charge is being led by home secretary Priti Patel, who last week said she wanted people to “literally feel terror” at the thought of committing a crime. She has also announced plans for an even more draconian immigration system after Britain leaves the European Union (see box).

The Tories plan to focus on Brexit, the NHS and law and order in a general election. They hope to push through a right wing Brexit—with or without a deal—on

31 October, and to win back voters from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

The talk of clamping down on “violent criminals” and “thugs” is part of an attempt to build a ­populist appeal for their right wing authoritarianism.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott said it was a “tried and tested recipe for unrest, not ­violence reduction”.

But the Labour Party had been demanding more police officers, in an opportunistic attempt to out?Tory the Tories on law and order.

Anti-racists have to build opposition to the Johnson’s government’s law and order and immigration clampdown.


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