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Solidarity with the police?

Jamie Potter is a graduate in Journalism and Politics, a member of the Labour Party and his blog can be found here.

Today the police made noises about taking to the streets to protest against impending job cuts. Not nice when the shoe’s on the other foot, is it?

Guy Aitchison asked on Twitter whether people would be joining them. Cue much pondering on and my conclusion that no, I won’t be supporting the police. This isn’t so much to do with the idea they’re the enduring violent arm of the state, though admittedly that is part of the reason, but more because of the most recent violence meted out to protesters regardless of any provocation, simply for being there.

At some of the student protests before Christmas, notably those on the day of the actual vote on tuition fees, the police sought from the outset to curtail and control any act of dissent, whether it was a civil march or something more fluid; whether the participants were anonymous or unmasked, young or old alike. This is not a new occurrence – it’s happened countless times before around the country. I first experienced it at the G20 meeting in London where I was kettled, stopped and searched and narrowly avoided being subject to a police raid in the squat I stayed in overnight. I’ve already written (angrily) about my distrust of the police. The point is, this dangerous attitude towards protesters remains and appears unlikely to change anytime soon, so why should I support them? What’s to say this support will go without thanks when I next face them on the streets? Will we receive solidarity in return?

I understand that sounds a bit them and us. I recognise police officers are still individuals and many don’t subscribe to the authoritarian, bullies in uniform attitude that is so prevalent throughout the various factions of the police. So this is why I also won’t be ‘kettling’ the police. It sounds like a fun idea and I actually got a little excited when I saw somebody suggest it on Twitter. But as individuals officers have a right to protest, even if it’s to protect jobs I’m at odds with. I guess I’m taking the moral stance here by appreciating and accepting that. I wouldn’t like to think that targeting police protests may put off the rank and file from one day dissenting and standing up for my ideas too. So I won’t stand in solidarity but I’m quite happy to ignore them.

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Filed under: Activism, Law and Order, ,

2 Responses

  1. NGC says:

    Perhaps we should use the police whinging about their pay (which is higher than most public sector workers and a lot of more highly skilled and qualified people) opportunity to point out something. namely that espite all the money that is thown at the police, all the new laws introduced, all the new technolgy used to monitor us, the level of anti-social crime inflicted on communitys has gone up. All we have to show for this is a more restricted society with a climate of fear and blame hanging over peoples heads.

    We should start pointing to positive ways that the resources spent on police can be used to build communitys, make people feel safer and reduce crime against communitys.

    By supporting police protests we would be accepting the idea that strong law and order policy is the answer to most of societys problems, rather than a cause.

    Likewise we would be supporting the police in the role they have selected to play in society. They have chosen to be the mercenarys of the state, enforcing its policys, so they have to live with it when the state bites them back.

    Of course, we could all just get together and kettle them when they attempt to march.

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