Tuesday, 28 July 2020

Tone Deaf Blue Labour MP wants People to Fear Police

During a period where trust in police has fallen to an all-time low among many communities, Blue Labour MP Nick Thomas-Symonds shows he is in touch with his Tory base by calling for police to be even scarier! That's how you rebuild trust with the community, he claims in an interview with The Daily Mirror. Worryingly, this Tory in Labour clothing is somehow shadow home secretary.

It doesn't occur to Nick the rise in violent crime by 42,000 incidents in red wall seats since 2010 might be due to the Tory approach that Nick wants to double-down on. It would seem Nick plans to be a better Tory than the Tories. Good grief. Perhaps Nick might want to ask himself why countries with a gentler community-led approach to policing have lower crime rates. It's almost as if there's a connection.

By all means lock up the hardened criminals - you don't need to use words like "fear" to achieve that. You just focus on investigating the worst offenders. We would all welcome that. But make them fear you? The problem with Nick's logic is hardened criminals will never fear the police. That's why they are hardened criminals. Nothing you can do will change that. And I should know, I grew up around such people.  

In fact, a more aggressive approach to policing would likely place officers more at risk, not less. And the other problem with aggressive policing is that it does not just affect hardened criminals but everyone. My brother was pulled over by police in Florida once and described the officers as complete psychos. Thankfully my brother is white though. You can imagine how intimidating it must be for the black community who fear every traffic stop could be their last. We do not want Britain to go in that direction. No thank you.

Nick says he wants people to feel safe in their communities. The problem is many communities fear the police more than anyone else. Nick's use of the word "fear" is hardly going to instil confidence in them. This kind of language comes at a time we have seen worldwide Black Lives Matter protests over the behaviour of police. The Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer described protesters as "Totally wrong" for throwing a slaver statue into the river Avon and said he has "No truck whatsoever" with Black Lives Matter. This also comes at a time when Covid-19 fines have been issued disproportionately to the black community - people who've been disproportionately stopped and searched for years. People who are more likely to face prison sentences than their white counterparts for the same crimes.

The mood in Britain right now is for the relationship between the police and communities to be restored, for bridges to be built, not for them to act as terrifying enforcers. That approach has been used across the Atlantic with America's militarised police force and we know where it leads - to mass incarceration and police brutality. While we certainly have those problems in Britain, they are thankfully on a smaller scale. And let's be clear: the language politicians use in so important. When you tell police that people should fear you, that's a step on the road to fascism. 

In Trump's America we are seeing police beat up young women and old men. We are seeing them shoot rubber bullets into the eyes of wheelchair users. We are seeing them execute black men with impunity. We are seeing secret police kidnap peaceful protesters in unmarked vans. Why the hell would Labour even hint at going down that path?

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