6-9 July Update

POLICING

The police watchdog is launching a review into whether police tactics, such as stop and search, discriminate against ethnic minorities. The IOPC is to look for any pattern of discrimination in use of force.

It comes after the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick apologised to Team GB athlete Bianca Williams and her partner Ricardo dos Santos, who were pulled out of their car to be searched – and a video of the incident went viral. It certainly helps to be famous when making a case.

On the same day, Home Affairs Select Committee revealed that about one in eight young black males in London were stopped and searched in one month during lockdown, while 80% was released without further action. This is the equivalent of more than a quarter of all black 15- to 24-year-olds in the capital and comes down to more than 20,000 stop and search actions.

Nothing new, unfortunately. Two years ago, police forces were told to address the disproportionate use of stop and search against young black men ago but failed to meet official recommendations in this 2018 report The State of Policing by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary. (Ironically, due to the corona crised, currently HIMC “has suspended all inspection work requiring contributions from police forces and fire and rescue services, to enable them to focus on their vital work at this time.”)

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission produced a critical review of stop and search in England and Wales, which demanded change and said “we expect to see improvements within a year”. That was in 2010.

As Netpol continues to point out, every year for decades there has been evidence of disproportionate targeting of stop and search against Black and Asian communities. Research suggests that stop and searches have only a very small effect on either detecting or preventing crime.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Constable of Police Scotland is asking local authorities to help reduce the number of protests and counter-protests, despite his force having a legal duty to protect and facilitate the right to freedom of assembly.

Britain’s national security experts “knew a pandemic of this scale could and would occur”, writes Freedom News, “and instead prioritised criminalising and persecuting refugees, Muslims, climate activists, antifa, and any such dissenting organisations”.

In what seemed to be confusion – yet again – last week between regulations and government advice, the Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police and Dorset Police said that drinkers would be limited to TWO HOURS in a pub“. Upheaval on twitter forced the police to clarify. Ahead of the weekend’s lockdown relaxation, they were bracing for the impact that would have on the region, but now stressed that they were not planning to monitor pub visits.

The High Court has refused a challenge to the government’s coronavirus measures, which was always likely because the pandemic is a genuine public health risk. The bigger issue has always been the wide interpretation and lack of scrutiny of regulations.

RESOURCES

You know the use of stop and search powers is completely out of control when the BBC is offering advice on your rights

Listen to Katrina Ffrench, from StopWatch and Matthew Ryder QC, a barrister at Matrix Chambers and formerly London’s Deputy Mayor, discussing the problems around stop and search in the latest episode of Adam Wagner’s podcast

Death at Justice: the story of Emanuel Gomes. The story of how Britain’s government handled a coronavirus outbreak within its own walls tells us much about what discrimination looks like during a national emergency.

How overzealous policing of the lock down, the issuing of fines, and the increased use of stop and search, have disproportionately affected black people – by Aniesha Obuobie and Alice Hardy, HJA sollicitors.

See the BigBrotherWatch 100 Days of Lockdown film on how the COVID-19 pandemic has been used to expand the surveillance state, including with drones, social media shaming, citizen reporting, mass mobile tracking, thermal surveillance, immunity passports and automatic number plate recognition.

Five Things You Should Know About Local Lockdowns by Eachother.org.uk, and also: Pubs, Pandemics and Privacy: Five Things You Need To Know.

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