The police assured us this week that they really, really are going to tackle their own racism. Their Race Action Plan is supposed explain why, for example, black people are nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than white people, and five times more likely to have force used against them.
The 1999 Macpherson Report, written after the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, found that the Metropolitan Police was “institutionally racist”. But during a briefing with journalists the officers introducing this week’s new scheme refused to say whether policing is institutionally racist. That means the new plan is already weaker than the findings from 23 years go.
And there was plenty of other evidence this week of the true nature of the cops. We learned that while spending time with friends, Olivia, a 14 year old girl with autism and learning difficulties, was brutally strip‑searched by police.
She was discovered to be in possession of a sharpened stick which she used to self-harm, her mother said. Officers then handcuffed Olivia, before pinning her down, cutting her underwear and strip-searching her in the presence of male officers. The child, who is mixed race, later tried to commit suicide after the terrifying ordeal. Olivia later appeared in court accused of possession of a bladed weapon and was acquitted.
This new case comes after the strip-search of a black child, known as Child Q, at her school in east London. More than 13,000 young people under the age of 18 have been strip-searched in England and Wales since 2017. Over two‑thirds of children who have been strip‑searched by the Met over the past three years were from ethnically diverse backgrounds.
And the cop who murdered Sarah Everard last March is set to appear in court over multiple counts of flashing this week. Wayne Couzens is currently serving a life sentence for the kidnap, rape and murder of Everard. The token measures in the Race Action Plan won’t be enough because the racist rot is in-built. It flows from the police’s job to hold up and protect a racist system. Policing doesn’t just reflect that system, it attracts those who enjoy implementing it and using the power it gives them.
As Sue Fish, the former chief of Nottinghamshire Police, admitted recently, a series of revelations have shown “the toxic racist and sexist culture which is endemic in policing”. And when they are not busy murdering women or assaulting children, the police help to defend a Downing Street that’s corrupt to the core. Then only effective police action plan is to abolish them.
Pride is a protest