Socialist Worker

News in Brief

Issue No. 1909

Coppers caught out by figures

THE RECENT statistics on police stop and search show that racism is still alive and kicking throughout the police force.

Black people are almost nine times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched.

The impact of the “war on terror” and demonising of Asian people can also be seen in the figures.

The number of Asians stopped under the Terrorism Act quadrupled last year. Asians were almost five times more likely than white people to be stopped under this act.

Yet police only arrested 18 people in connection with terrorism out of a total of 21,535 searches carried out under the Terrorism Act.

Such disproportionate figures reinforce the feeling among many Asian and black people that the stop and search is really about harassing communities, and has nothing to do with “crime”.

As well as the 2000 Terrorism Act, the police can use the 1984 Police and Criminal Evidence Act or the 1984 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act to stop and search people.

Some forces liberally used these powers to stop and search people thousands of times.

Grim up north and in the south

A REPORT about poverty last week was used to say that the “north-south divide” was growing wider in Britain.

But the report shows that the real divide is between rich and poor, wherever they live.

The two poorest places in Britain are in the south east.

They are Hackney and Tower Hamlets in east London. Poverty in Hackney has increased by 9 percent.

People in these areas may live in the geographical “south” of Britain but so do the rich in the wealthiest boroughs of Hart in Hampshire and South Buckinghamshire.

Many workers in London and the parts of the south face the highest prices for housing and transport costs.

Tory cheek on pensions

DAVID WILLETTS, the Tory spokesman on work and pensions, spoke out last week saying it was disgraceful that there was no longer a link between pensions and earnings.

He’s right, but he’s got a nerve considering his party broke that link in the first place.

Willetts also said he wanted to cut back on the hated means testing in pensions.

But the ways he wants to do this would mean that the very poorest pensioners would end up getting less.

Willetts’s intervention in the pensions debate is a sign of the gathering crisis round this issue.

After the victory by rail workers in getting their pension scheme reopened, union leaders should fighting back over this issue, and not let the Tories make all the running.

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Sat 10 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1909
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