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From The Socialist newspaper, 17 November 2000

Stop police racist backlash

THE METROPOLITAN Police is so keen to boost its numbers that it is now willing, for the first time, to consider recruiting people found guilty of "minor offences".

Many people believe that the police are already recruiting racists. The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) annual report says that the number of public complaints about police racism has shot up by 75% this year to the highest figure ever.

At the same time, a disproportionately high number of black people die in police stations, although the total numbers were down last year.

"Ethnic minority people are wary of the police and for good reason," an anti-racist campaigner said. The Macpherson report, which looked into how the police handled the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence, criticised their deep-rooted racism.

The PCA say that after Macpherson, black and Asian people are more willing to complain. But many campaigners fear that a police backlash to Macpherson has led to police officers taking out their frustrations on ethnic minorities.

Sukhdev Reel, mother of Ricky Reel, murdered in a racist attack, told The Socialist in a recent interview: "The police think that people will just believe whatever the authorities tell them and not question their judgement. We should stand up and demand justice.

"Since the Macpherson report, there have been paper exercises and empty promises but no real change has taken place.

"Government ministers really need to come out of their offices and speak to people like us. Then they'd realise how many people are suffering because of their bad policies."

The whole judicial system needs investigation. Zahid Mubarek, aged 19, was sentenced to 90 days at Feltham young offenders institution for shoplifting 6 worth of razor blades.

Feltham's authorities put this Asian boy in a cell with a known racist psychopath with a violent history. The psychopath beat Zahid to death with a table leg.

Last year, the government's chief inspector of prisons called Feltham's regime "corrupt to the core". People liken the anger at the treatment that young people, particularly but not exclusively black and Asian youth, get in the prisons to that against the police after Stephen Lawrence's murder. Conditions in other prisons such as Brixton, are intolerable and could lead to riots.

Racist officers in the police and prisons should be immediately suspended but we think that the entire judicial system should be brought under the democratic control of the working class and local communities.

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In The Socialist 17 November 2000:

Railtrack: The Great Train Robbers

Hot air in the Hague

Labour rattled in Lewisham

Election war in the USA

Middle East Crisis: A race against time

Nice EU conference protest

Stop police racist backlash


 

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