Prime Minister Boris Johnson vows to crack down on crime by extending Section 60, allowing for more stop and search powers for the police.
Under the new government’s plans announced on the 11th of August, an existing pilot project, which allows police to deploy stop-and-search powers in an area without the authorisation of a senior officer will be extended to cover an additional 8,000 officers in England and Wales.
Due to the enhanced power announced in March by the Home Office, the authorisation required for section 60 was given. This will allow police to search anyone in an area if they anticipate serious violence. Young black youth will suffer even more consequently in this new extension.
The New Prime Minister has also announced the creation of 10,000 more prison places at a cost of £2.5bn. Also 20,000 new police officers over the next three years.
How will the new laws affect the black community?
In 2017-18, figures showed that black people were 9.5 times more likely to be searched by the police. Black people are no more criminal than other race so these statistics should raise alarm bells.
The black community has heavily protested and been in uproars in regards to stop and search, as young black males are typically viewed automatically as a suspect based on the colour of their skin. Discrimination is entrenched in the police force after the MacPherson report released on On 24 February 1999, accused the Metropolitan Police Service of institutional racism. The MET has not been the same ever since.
On 12th July MET Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said the MET Police force was no longer racist, and the term given by the Macpherson Report was ‘toxic’, ‘outdated’ and ‘unhelpful’ as the Police force had been ‘utterly transformed’. Critics have declared this to be untrue as in 2017/2018, there were 23 deaths in police custody and 5 were black highlighting the stereotyping and handling of black suspects in police custody.
The stop and search will remain an issue in the black community, what other alternative do we have to prevent issues such as knife crime and drugs which have ravaged the black community. Maybe its time we created our own police force.
A Possible alternative outside all alternatives
The current conversation surrounding knife crime, stop and search is one limited to poor socioeconomics, the crumbling household, declining youth centres and underdiagnosed PTSD. The black community have enough purchasing power, to pool economic resources to create something similar to the ‘Shomrim’, Hebrew for “Custodians” or “Guardians”.
The ‘Shomrim’ is a Jewish neighbourhood watch group which patrols the streets of North East London. Their aims to reduce crime, and protect the Jewish population in Stamford Hill, Hackney.
In the North East London area, which is around 2 square miles, situated are more than 50 synagogues, dozens of Orthodox schools alongside various Kosher, bakers, supermarkets, and butches.
Due to the Second World War, refugees fleeing Nazi Germany and Holocaust survivors found refuge in Britain which created a mass concentration of the Jewish population. The rise of the Jewish Population created a rise in anti-Semitic attacks. Coupled with late noughties police cuts, the economic crisis, and crimes escalating, the sense of safety in the Orthodox Jewish community was one of insecurity.
The Shomrim was founded in 2008, by President Rabbi Herschel Gluck. In 2016 the Shomrim facilitated 146 arrests, 22 which were for anti-Semitic offences.
The US Black community previously created a system similar to this in the days of the black panthers, where they protected the community against police brutality and structural oppression. They used guns to protect themselves highlighting the severity of the brutality. The Black Panthers policed the US police, held them accountable and responsible. They would follow the police around, jumping out of their cars with guns drawn if the police made a stop. They would observe the police and make sure that no brutality occurred, the police lived in fear and were aware they had to perform their job in a legal and appropriate fashion.
Various pictures and videos circulate the internet, and we need a community force that will ensure the safety of the children, the community in general against threats within and outside the community. I believe it could be a solution that needs deeper exploration. A Black British community watch similar to that of the Jewish ‘Shomrim’ could be a tangible solution, built and sustained in the community. It will hold the destructive internal fractions in our community to task. It will also create a sense of solidarity. A narrative in which can be autonomously created, monitored and dictated.
Boris has made a right old Boris mess of it
The police force has an immense racial mountain to climb up. Community relations with the police continue to disintegrate into a shallow pool of nothingness. Us and them mentality has filled the void instead of a harmonious relationship to help prevent crime.
Stop and search does not help young black men, it reinforces the idea simply that the police are stereotyping and victimising them. In many cases, it leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy where the youth will carry weapons to protect themselves against others.
Boris should invest more money to prevent these youths from having to be stopped and searched. Austerity destroyed youth clubs and built new prisons instead. More police officers as well on the streets do not correlate to less crime either. Boris in his out of touch sentiment has extended Section 60 which in turn will further harm black youth.