Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/172/7910
The Police's racist agenda
THE NOTTING Hill Carnival has become the latest battleground in the Metropolitan police's media war against the Black community.
Ever since they realised the Macpherson report would seriously expose the racism and corruption built into the police force, the Metropolitan police have been conducting a propaganda war against the Black community. The false idea that the police are too scared of accusations of racism to deal with crimes committed by Black people is constantly pushed by the police and sections of the media to cloud the issue.
Police stop and searches of Black and Asian people remain disproportionately higher than for white people.
The increasing commercialism of Notting Hill Carnival is one of the factors opening the door to the current police media offensive. Carnival should be enlarged, but community control should be increased, and police involvement should be reduced. The police presence this year was intimidating and over the top. As long as community stewarding is properly organised, this would enormously improve the event.
Police forces have also completely failed to deal with the issue of Black deaths in custody. How can they expect anyone to take their "concerns" over the deaths of Greg Watson and Abdul Bhatti at the Notting Hill Carnival seriously when not a single police officer has been prosecuted for the seven unlawful killings of Black men in custody during the past decade.
The Met's attacks on the Carnival were made in the same week as senior police officer John Grieve arrogantly refused to apologise to Gurpal Virdi. Virdi not only suffered a vicious campaign of racial harassment during his time as a police officer but was then accused of lying and having written the racist threats he received himself.
He was publicly sacked after a flawed internal police investigation accepted these allegations. Now, after an industrial tribunal supported Virdi, evidence has come out that even the internal investigation discriminated against him on grounds of race. But the Met are still refusing to apologise or drop their legal opposition to Virdi's claim against them.
The police's real agenda is to prevent community events like the Carnival being in control of the streets. They see Carnival as a threat to their authority and are determined to see this broken.
This is not only due to the deep-seated racism which permeates the police from top to bottom, but also their role as a repressive state force that serves the interests of the government and the bosses, at the expense of working-class people and the rest of the population.
In The Socialist 8 September 2000: