The police protect the powerful

Curtis Daly guides us through the classist, racist, sexist institution that is the police and explains why they need to be abolished.


Video transcript

With the Sue Gray report being released with crucial information missing, Cressida Dick seems to have come to Boris Johnson’s rescue.

And while radical centrists such as James O’Brien seem to think that it’s Johnson who has brought corruption into the Met Police, all the facts point to the Met, and the police as a whole, being corrupt since their inception.

It looks increasingly likely that Johnson will face the chopping block, although the efforts of Cressida Dick to block the Grey report may have bought the Prime Minister some time.

Power protects power, that’s for sure.

Speaking of protecting power, let’s look at the history of the police.

1829 is considered the birth of modern policing in England, with the Met being the first fully “professional” police organisation. 

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Robert Peel was known as the father of policing, bringing the Met to fruition when he was home secretary. 

It’s also where the name ‘Bobbies’ came from, after the man himself.

Robert Peel got the idea of the police from his previous job as chief secretary in Ireland.

His role included managing the uprising in that period. 

But don’t let the liberal class fool you. The imposition of a police force was not there to protect the public, it was in-fact to control growing peasant uprisings against landlords. 

The work Peel was doing was on behalf of the owner class.

Alex Vitale is a professor of sociology, and he argues: “The reality is that the police exist primarily as a system for managing and even producing inequality by suppressing social movements and tightly managing the behaviours of poor and non-white people: those on the losing end of economic and political arrangements.”

The police were a tool for capitalism, the wealthy used the police to exploit the poor to enrich themselves. 

Immigrants were used especially in Northern cities to solidify a new working class to serve capitalist interests. The rich used immigrants for their labour, whilst simultaneously using the police to instil order on the workers.

The side of power on which the police lie has continued to this day. Protest movements are met with hostility and violence. Those who oppose the ruling elite are labelled domestic extremists. Since 1968, over 1,000 groups have been spied on by undercover police including family justice campaigns, trade unions, and environmental and peace groups.

During the 80s, miners suffered beatings at the hands of the police who were there to break strikes and workers solidarity. In 2021, the police battered Kill The Bill protesters in Bristol. They are all victims of a political war. 

There is a reason why the police are so racist, sexist, and classist. It’s not the breakdown of an institution in which a few bad apples managed to slip through.

Need we be reminded of Mohamud Hassan, who died just a day after being detained by the South Wales police. Witnesses say that he was severely beaten. According to INQUEST, there have been 1,803 deaths in police custody or following contact with the police in England and Wales since 1990.

At the beginning of this year, the Met Police were scouring the streets at night, swabbing hands for drug use. Their given reason to bother innocent people was ‘women’s safety’.

Ironically, only one person was arrested – a woman. The operation proved to be an embarrassment for the police.

The police as an institution absolutely do not have women’s safety at the heart of their practises. Kosha Duff was a victim of a disgusting strip search by the police in 2013. 

The strip search, or rather sexual assault, saw the police tying her hands together, pinning her down, cutting her clothes off with scissors, and bashing her head against a concrete floor – all while making jokes.

It took the police nearly 10 years to apologise, which is in no way sufficient for the assault they perpetrated against her.

The institution itself is rotten to the core. But the way the police behave isn’t out of kilter with the way it was set up. Women, minorities and the poor are always right at the bottom.

Messages between officers at the Charing Cross station have revealed jokes about rape, domestic violence, and killing black children.

The liberal class wants us to think that our systems are fine as they are,‘If only we all just voted Lib Dem and Remain, all would be right with the world!’

But that’s clearly not reality. Our systems and structures often come from a place of injustice. Social movements and political battles, that sometimes involve direct confrontations with those wielding power, including the police, are vital to create a more just world.

The role of the police, in which it protects the capitalist class and the privileged, and the disgusting racist and sexist culture within it, doesn’t need reform. Its current apparatus needs to be abolished, and true community and restorative justice put in its place.

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