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BLM - Worried about the anti-police sentiment in UK

(167 Posts)
Balhammom Sun 07-Jun-20 22:42:25

I went to a local BLM protest y’day. It was passionate and very good natured (and, before anyone asks, generally socially distanced).

The overall BLM message is clearly very important. I do not want to live in a world where black communities are treated differently or feel like their lives are worth less what anyone else’s.

However, the anti (UK) police sentiment troubled me. I know this isn’t universal but lots of signs features “ACAB” and messages like “defund the police “.

I appreciate the hostility towards US police, particularly in the context of the truly appalling death of George Floyd. However, how can it be okay to treat the UK police with the same hostility?

In London, in particular, hundreds of young people are dying from black-on-black violence. A generation are at risk from drug gangs. I have no doubt many protestors could name the handful of black people who have died following encounters with Uk police. But how many could name even the last couple of black murder victims?

I know they’re not perfect, but so many police are working so hard to literally save lives from gangs and solve some of these dreadful murders. Shouldn’t we all be helping them with this? Doesn’t BLM require us to end all types of unjustified deaths that disproportionately affect the black community?

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Porpoises Sun 07-Jun-20 22:54:01

Knife crime is horrendous. But is the current approach working? Abolitionists don't want people to get murdered anymore than anyone else does. But they point out that our prison system is failing at rehabilitation, that disproportionate stop and search is alienating young black people from the force that claims to serve them. Would money spent on the roll out of tasers be more effective funding youth clubs and inner city schools?

I'm no expert, but I think it's worth hearing out those who are asking for an alternative. Campaign Against Prison Expansion have put on a webinar with 6 women working in the area, its very interesting listening. (starts 8 minutes in)

Balhammom Sun 07-Jun-20 23:04:17


I couldn’t agree more.

However, I think there is a massive gap between your, very sensible, message and chanting that “All Cops Are B*stards” (all while there are police literally putting themselves in harm’s way to ensure we can protest safely).

Likewise, I’m not sure signs condemning the deaths of armed criminals (eg Mark Duggan) are all that helpful when sometimes dozens of black men are being killed in the UK in a month with almost no public outrage. Those innocent victims seem to me a lot more deserving of our sympathy (and anger).

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Dyrne Sun 07-Jun-20 23:06:43

I agree that our police force is worlds better than the US; and I am usually extremely pro police; however I also think it’s important to identify and challenge the police when they need to do better.

As PP have said, the Stop and Search policy needs a serious overhaul. Young black men are disproportionately targeted. I confess to my shame that I used to hear that accusation and think “well surely that’s because of the gang violence and in certain neighbourhoods there’s just a higher proportion of BAME men”. Then I read into it more and discovered just how insanely disproportionately black men were stopped compared to white men; and actually how little crime stop-and-search is credited with preventing. In my opinion this policy is causing serious damage to relations between the police force and the BAME community.

In addition to this there have been several high profile uses of excessive force leading to injuries and even death, again disproportionately on black people.

Dyrne Sun 07-Jun-20 23:09:41

Balhammom but surely you have to admit that:

1) There are regular protests and outrage about the awful black-on-black violence within communities. You didn’t see that yesterday because it was specifically a protest about something completely different.

2) You say yourself in your opening post that not everyone was chanting ACAB etc so it’s clearly not the view held by everyone.

Wishingstarr Sun 07-Jun-20 23:13:46

Thing is the police are doing our dirty work as a society, so as well as police reform we need to go deeper and figure out what we can all do to improve relations between each other. I am not suggesting I have the answers here, just that the police are a reflection of us. It's too easy to pass the buck and stick our heads in the sand rather than try and figure out in what ways we can all create a more just society.

So I do agree with the OP that scapegoating the police is too easy.

Balhammom Sun 07-Jun-20 23:15:47


If there have been BLM protests of the scale of those this weekend against the disproportionate affect of crime on black communities, I’m afraid I haven't seen them.

No one deserve to live in fear of gangs or crime.

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sunshinewishes Sun 07-Jun-20 23:23:27

I could discuss this for hours.

What I will say is that it upsets me when the police service, as a whole, are tarnished because of the abuse of the badge by individuals who swore to protect.

Dyrne Sun 07-Jun-20 23:34:33

Balhammom just because you haven’t bothered to make yourself aware of the campaigns doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. In fact campaigners biggest uphill battle seems to be with the government; given that the home office had the bright idea to launch a knife awareness campaign by specifically targeting fried chicken takeaway shops.

You also seem to be under the impression that people can’t multitask - it is possible for people to be upset and concerned about the affect of knife crime and gang violence on black men; and be upset and concerned about the systematic racism prevalent in society.

In other news: I attended a (virtual) fundraiser for Heart disease the other day. It doesn’t mean I don’t care about Cancer; it’s just the specific event I attended on that day was about Heart disease, so we centred the discussion around that, not Cancer.

Juanmorebeer Mon 08-Jun-20 00:34:00

As one of the police officers who is working a 24 HR shift pattern to protect people I could also talk about this for hours. I follow all police threads with interest of which there have been loads recently.

I do have to ask though. So many people keep mentioning 'police reform' I'm yet to get a straight answer out of a poster about what they mean by this. There was someone the other night saying it and something about training needed to be reformed, or something. But they never came back and never elaborated either.

The people who say this, what do you mean? What do you already know about the Police in the UK and how we operate and how we are trained? It's hard to have a conversation about it if people don't state what they think is problematic.

Dyrne Mon 08-Jun-20 00:58:24

Juanmorebeer I get that it’s frustrating to feel attacked on threads and I certainly don’t agree with the “ALL [profession] are evil” generalisations; but I do think demanding suggestions and answers from posters is unhelpful.

The UK police chiefs themselves released a statement in which they said more needs to be done to build trust. I’ve always been proud of our police force that they do often hold their hands up when they get things wrong; and we don’t always see the horrible closing of ranks that you see in the US.

There’s more to do on that front to build that trust; which will require a collaborative effort to identify and develop solutions; not just a demand that people should either solve it immediately or shut up.

BF888 Mon 08-Jun-20 01:13:21

I’m terms of society, the government has to allow us to be more united but often it’s role is to separate us. In terms of gang crime, it isn’t just specific to black on black crime, in Liverpool it’s white on white and is horrendous and at scarily young ages. Gang war has been given a black male association, the media have provided us with that, but throughout the U.K. it does vary.

@Juanmorebeer I’d like to know what you would change within policing- you have unique insight. What would you change? Do you feel your training is adequate enough when being placed in the multitude of situations you go to? Do you have to do regular training on an ongoing basis?

My issues are how some are highly manipulative, I think In order to become a police officer or work within the police various tests should be completed first including psycho analysis. I feel for those who are honourable within police that they get tarred with the same brush. But In your words you’re there to protect, and many abuse this and aren’t reprimanded.

My issues is heavy handling for those whom have committed no crime. If it’s a simple stop and search then the person being searched shouldn’t be treated like they’ve committed a crime until there’s evidence they have. Police get things wrong a lot, and those interactions really change people’s perception. In my opinion it’s an attitude of guilty until proven innocent, and it’s not ok when someone is innocent.

I have major issues with the way domestic abuse incidents are handled, both from pcs to investigators. It’s terrible what does happen to men and women in danger and training does need to be done. For pcs who aren’t used to being in contact with highly manipulative people, they can easily leave a man or woman in immense danger. I’ve seen videos of pcs doing stop and search with more authority than when handling a domestic incident.

The cover ups that happen needs to stop. Enforcing the law shouldn’t mean breaking it. This goes for judges too.

Moanranger Mon 08-Jun-20 01:28:02

I come from the US, and policing in Britain is miles better, more professional, better trained. I think the key issue in the “de-funding” argument is to remove certain responsibilities from the police that could be done better by others. This is a particularly critical issue in US where too many activities have been criminalised. It is not as bad here, but there is a clear strand of racism in UK policing and a need to review what the police spend their time doing.

amusedtodeath1 Mon 08-Jun-20 01:29:37

I know 3 police officers, none of them is prejudice in anyway, I know this because I know them well. One of them is family and the most ethical human being you could imagine.

I have no doubt that if there really was systemic racism in the police, I would know. It's not policy to stop and search more black people than white.

The US is very different their police was set up to protect property not people. It was policy to discriminate against black people in living memory, we never had that here.

SandyY2K Mon 08-Jun-20 01:42:52

There will always be those who chose to verbally abuse the police...but some of them may have been targeted in the past and have no trust.

The majority of protesters were peaceful though.

I also think it will cause problems if police decide to investigate pulling down the statue of a slave trader in Bristol. That's definitely not in the public interest to prosecute and I can see actual riots happening if they pursue it.

It will only cause more hatred towards them...and they will be seen as racist.

Why a slave trader is hailed in such a way just adds fuel to people's emotions.

It being pulled down was symbolic and made a statement, bearing in mind the point of the demonstrations.

BF888 Mon 08-Jun-20 01:44:50

I don’t think systemic racism happens because it is just the police, it’s across the board in society. People go into the police with those limitations and prejudice. Whilst the police may not have targets to arrest x amounts of black, white, Asian etc. There’s racial bias because of our society. Depending on the area Some people who see young men with a nice car don’t presume they’re experiencing successful career, family money etc. It is they’re doing something illegal. The police are trained to look for certain things, sometimes a young black man in a nice car turning a corner can be perceived as he’s got drugs in the car. This is from a video I’ve witnessed, how those officers got to that conclusion I don’t know, but they did and that shows there’s prejudice.

Whilst there may not be targets, it happens too much for there not to be an issue that needs addressing within the police. It’s great you know three police officers who are ethical, it’s a shame they get tarred with the same brush, but there’s a lot of corruption, there’s a lot of brutality and it needs reform.

amusedtodeath1 Mon 08-Jun-20 02:12:12

I get that, I wasn't trying to minimize the systemic racism in this country, just pointing out why it's completely different to the US. It's never been official policy to discriminate here (at least not in living memory), not to say it doesn't happen, but in the US it very much was.

amusedtodeath1 Mon 08-Jun-20 02:16:46

It does very much depend on the attitudes of the individual in the position of authority.

LlamaHammock Mon 08-Jun-20 02:18:37

Black people are actually even more overrepresented in UK prisons than US ones. While our police are less violent, I think our criminal justice system as a whole may be even more racist than the US's.

Bflatmajorsharp Mon 08-Jun-20 02:35:38

I thought the stats were UK BAME 14% of population, 25% prison population. US 6% of population, 40% of prison population.

Might be wrong, and both horrendous.

Kokeshi123 Mon 08-Jun-20 02:43:18

I also think it will cause problems if police decide to investigate pulling down the statue of a slave trader in Bristol. That's definitely not in the public interest to prosecute and I can see actual riots happening if they pursue it.

If they don't investigate it, they'll be sending out a message that people are allowed to smash things up and commit vandalism because something upsets them. It will be worse next time.

I agree that the statue should not be there, but it should be removed properly and put in a museum. I am not OK with trashing public spaces.

ChristmasCarcass Mon 08-Jun-20 02:55:47

Bflat Wikipedia says 13% black and 18% Latino in the US. But I also found this, which says 65% of US prisoners are non-white, so still pretty terrible stats.

toinfinityandlockdown Mon 08-Jun-20 02:59:07

I think the police have some serious problems they need to address but by and large the understand that they police by consent. The police in Bristol allowed the statue to come down because they appreciate the strength of feeling. They didn’t go in all shock and awe like in America. Still, too many Blake people have died in police custody. We can work with and support the police whilst challenging them to do better.

EmperorCovidula Mon 08-Jun-20 03:01:37

Police officers in London are arseholes to young black people. I’m not surprised that many are not pleased with the police force. It’s different where I am, ok they’re still not what they should be but at least they’re polite and helpful instead of picking on minorities.

BananaSpanner Mon 08-Jun-20 03:34:33

BF888 I wonder given the amount of videos (bodycam footage?) you have seen if you are involved in the criminal justice system professionally. In which case you would have also seen large amounts of excellent work that the police do and the difficulties and hostilities they face.

There will be incompetent police officers, there will be racist police officers but there are entire departments working to remove these. If you are unhappy with actions of individual officers then please complain about them. The vast majority of officers want to see the bad ones rooted out believe it or not (I suspect you won’t believe it). I really don’t think it’s fair to say many abuse their position. How many police officers do you actually know well or have worked alongside?

Regardless of what is reported in the media, each force will be acutely aware of the issues in their own communities and will police accordingly. No matter what the Daily Mail might report on re black youths involved in knife crime and gangs, Merseyside Police will know full well if they have problems with white gangs and will, I presume, have tactics/operations to tackle this.

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