It is not necessary to lie about Britain’s police in order to indict them; numerous authors over the years have exposed their corruption
, their venality, and at times their sheer wanton brutality
. There are though times when they are totally blameless, or if they are at fault, it is not because they are too aggressive but because they are too timid. Such has been the case for the past decade and more wherever racial issues are concerned.
A socialist writer, Sarah Sachs-Eldridge, has written a polemic
against the police, among others, in which she blames our wonderful boys in blue at least in part for the recent riots, thus: “In Hackney, it was provocative and aggressive police stop-and-search action on 8 August that ignited the explosion of anger.” Really, and there we were thinking it was the shooting dead of Mark Duggan
in nearby Tottenham, a case that has yet to be resolved.
Then she attempts to back up her claim with manipulated statistics: “Today, black people are 26 times more likely than white people to be stopped and searched under the provisions of the 1994 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act.”
Where does she get these figures? In one instance at least, there was one stop and search too few, with horrific consequences. Look at this photograph
, and this one
. According to his father
, twenty year old Hertfordshire University student Rio Andre was trying to break up a fight when he was stabbed in the abdomen – a potentially fatal wounding. This happened at the Notting Hill Carnival, a family event that draws crowds of hundreds of thousands every year. In later editions of the newspapers, the youth’s face has been obscured; a 16 year old has now been charged in connection with this attack, and it would not be proper to say anything more at this stage for fear of prejudicing pending legal proceedings, but sadly, this incident is by no means exceptional. Look at Rio Andre. What colour is he? Now how is this sort of sickening violence against an innocent man a reaction to police harassment, to racism
, or any other ism
? Of course the police stop and search YOUNG BLACK MEN in connection with street crime. Who are they supposed to stop, old white women?
Sachs-Eldridge goes on to make further ludicrous claims about the police and racist
(white) society in general, blaming the faults of the former on the chimera of institutionalised police racism
which is said to have been confirmed by the 1999 Macpherson inquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence. In fact, Macpherson did no such thing, as a clinical analysis of his nonsense
reveals. Others argue just the opposite, indeed in the wake of Macpherson, the Metropolitan Police and other forces seemed to lose it as far as racial issues were concerned. There were ludicrous crackdowns on racists
for publishing comics, and a number of specious Race Act
prosecutions – some predating Macpherson - which were clearly politically motivated, and which unquestionably led to real crimes going uninvestigated and therefore unsolved.
The nadir of this sort of nonsense was Operation Napkin, which was reported inter alia
by the March 15, 2000 edition of the Times
“RESTAURANT-GOERS who suspect the couple at the next table are eavesdropping on their conversation may not be far from the truth.
Police in Gloucester have begun a crackdown on racial abuse in ethnic restaurants by going undercover to make sure that diners keep unpalatable opinions to themselves.”
It began with four police officers – in plain clothes of course – dining out in Indian and Chinese restaurants in order to arrest people for mimicking Indian waiters. (This is not a joke, one man was said to have been heard committing such an atrocious act but “his behaviour was not bad enough to warrant prosecution.”)
As one senior officer pointed out: “We have no shortage of volunteers who are keen for a free meal.” He might have added at taxpayers’ expense. The grand result was that a 51 year old man was charged
with racially aggravated harassment, although this was later dropped by the CPS.
Nevertheless, returning to the present and Sachs-Eldridge, she carps on: “In 2010, 48% of young black people were unemployed while the rate among white young people was 20%.” Exactly what is this supposed to prove, assuming it is true? More to the point, who wants to hire drug dealing, knife wielding, looting thugs of any race?
Of the riots she says “Footage of stand-offs against the police involving black, white and Asian youth shows young people whose lives are boxed in by poverty and dogged by the police feeling that they could challenge those conditions.”
She is wrong there, the rioters were exclusively or almost exclusively young, white and black but not Asian
, indeed, much of the rioting was directed against Asian and other ethnic businesses
; what would she have said if this had happened in 1930s Germany and the majority of shopkeepers had been Jewish?
Sachs-Eldridge and her ilk have no solutions because they cannot even see what are the real problems. The problem is not the capitalist system, which even if it were half as bad as she makes it out to be would not excuse the near fatal stabbing of a young man at the Notting Hill Carnival, the abuse of an innocent Malaysian student
, nor the torching of shops in Croydon
. The breakdown of law and order and the at times savage behaviour of feral youths has little or nothing to do with the current financial malaise, and attempts to excuse it or to excuse some participants on the grounds of race or anything else is a cop out that can lead only to further civil unrest by failing to address the anti-social and at times wantonly destructive behaviour we have seen since the shooting dead of Mark Duggan.