By Amanda Thorley
The Casey report released recently has confirmed what many women, LGBTQ+ people and people of colour have known for a long time: that the Met Police is misogynistic, homophobic and racist.
Many of the leaks released on Friday were an attempt to ‘soften’ the impact of the report, however this will not wash with victims of crime at the hands of the police.
Role of the police
Our policing system is one whose very foundations are rooted in sexism and misogyny. Suella Braverman and her Tory cohorts are eager to use terms such as “policing by consent”. But in reality, the police readily use brutal violence to enforce the rules of our capitalist system.
As early as the beginning of the 20th century, the police savagely beat, kicked and battered suffragettes fighting for the right to vote. In our own century, we have seen how police behaviour led an initially peaceful vigil for Sarah Everard to devolve into ugly, shameful scenes, where police kettled mourners, shoved them to the ground and punched them without provocation. Far from protecting women as it claims, the police often presents more of a danger, as its officers commit acts of violence.
The police cannot be trusted to reform itself. Such reforms will never be enough when it is the entire system that is the problem. The purpose of the police force will always be to protect its corrupt officers, and the oppressive, patriarchal capitalist system whose interests they represent. Our police system must therefore be overhauled and replaced with a democratic system by and for workers, with full control over the firing and hiring of officers.
Any inquiries into police mistreatment or violence should be carried out by trade unions, feminist and anti-racist organisations to ensure it is done properly and action is taken. Decisions should also be made by ordinary people about how resources are used – funding investigations into sexual assault and domestic abuse cases and supporting survivors rather than carrying out racist stop-and-searches or intimidating picket lines, for example.
It is vital that such a system operates within a wider socialist society, where wealth and resources are publicly owned and democratically planned by workers in their communities and in the interest of the majority. Immediately, workers and young people should build on the back of International Women’s Day (8 March) to build a movement against our misogynist and violent police, and overarching capitalist system.
Following the death of Sarah Everard, we saw the explosive growth of movements such as Reclaim The Streets. We need to build upon and strengthen these movements in order to mobilise in opposition to gender-based violence. Only by doing this can we forge a socialist society run in the interests of the majority, that will truly protect women and gender non-conforming people’s welfare and safety.