I wrote quite a lot about UK policing earlier in the year in relation to the failure of policing (at best) that lead to the death of Smiley Culture. News about that case was always going to ebb and flow, not least because it is now in the bureaucratic hands of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
But… it was never just about Smiley Culture. Since Smiley’s death a number of other people have died in suspicious circumstances in police custody. Many questions are being asked about heavy handed policing at demonstrations against the austerity measures being introduced by the UK government to pay for the banking crisis. In recent weeks London’s Metropolitan Police have been implicated in the “Hackgate” News International scandal.
Jody McIntyre’s series of films touches on some of the issues, asking the right questions and making the right links. The first episode is above and includes involvement from Benjamin Zephaniah, Merlin Emanuel (both of who have lost family members in police custody) and victims of police crime. The soundtrack includes contributions from grime artists Ghetts, Logic, Mic Righteous and DVS. A future episode will deal with the coalition government’s budget cuts.
The terrible truth is that hard times can bring people together. Four years ago it would have been inconceivable that student protestors and grime artists would find common ground.
Things aren’t about to get any better – an “anarchist threat” is already being talked up by the Met in the run up to the 2012 Olympics, with predictably hilarious consequences.
More seriously, Mark Duggan was fatally shot by the police in Tottenham last night, about a mile away from where I am typing this. Unusually, the IPCC were on the scene within hours – perhaps as a result of the scrutiny they have found themselves under this year?