What is the problem?
For several decades we have demanded action to stop police rape and police racism.
In 2020, Black Lives Matter brought police racist violence to public attention. That year after two sisters of colour, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, were murdered in a London Park, the police behaved appallingly, not even investigating. Their mother Mina Smallman publicly campaigned for the police to find the murderer and it emerged that two officers had taken selfies with their bodies and mocked them in a WhatsApp group. They were later prosecuted.
In 2021, Sarah Everard was kidnapped, raped and murdered by a serving police officer, Wayne Couzens. There followed an extraordinary outpouring about police violence, particularly against people with less power: women, people of colour, queer, trans, people with disabilities… including from women officers and police wives/partners.
Rape has been practically decriminalised. Convictions are at an all-time low of 1.3% of reported rapes. We demand thorough rape and domestic violence investigations and convictions. Investigate the accused and stop the intrusive searches of victim’s phones, other media, and medical records. But instead, Parliament gave police sweeping new powers including to arrest and criminalise protesters, in the Police Crime Courts and Sentencing Act, against which we protested as it passed through parliament.
What we did
Read more about what we did to stop this Police Act, together with Women of Colour in the Global Women’s Strike:
- Time to clean up the the police force, Camden New Journal,
15 October 2021
- Rallying Against the Police Bill, Morning Star, 22 Sept 2021
Our protest leaflet, 11 Sept 2021
- Statement - Why women oppose the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill, July 2021
- Evidence to Joint Committee on Human Rights, May 2021
- Mayday National KilltheBill Protest
- Police Bill: 5 years for rape, 10 for damaging a slaver statue
What is in the Act?
- New police powers to criminalise protests which are ‘noisy’, ‘annoying’, cause ‘obstruction’, ‘trespass’ and ‘nuisance’.
- and further criminalise Gypsy, Roma & Traveller communities.
- New Serious Violent Crime Reduction Orders leading to curfews and more stop and search.
- A legal obligation on public sector workers (healthcare, schools and youth services) to work with police to ‘predict crime’.
- Longer and mandatory sentences.
- Moves the automatic release date from half-way through a sentence to two-thirds.
- Whole life sentences for children as young as 10. This without even considering evidence of widespread abuse by guards in juvenile secure units, secure children’s homes and detention centres.
The police did not need more powers. They need to use the powers they have to protect women and children and everyone against violent men, including violent officers. For decades they refused to investigate child abuse (see Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford, Jersey, Shirley Oaks…), and dismissed women reporting domestic violence (2 to 3 women a week are murdered by ex/partner!) and racist attacks.
In 2022, we joined protests against the police strip searching of teenage girl Child Q at school. A report by the Children’s Commissioner found 650 children were strip searched by the Met 2018-2020.
A series of damning official reports into police criminality, including sexual violence, have been published, including by Dame Louise Casey and HMICFRS.
There is still no visible sign that officers who break the law are held to account for their crimes. Many are transferred rather than sacked, or leave with a full pension, even fewer are prosecuted. A police force that grants impunity will attract men who long to impose their will, biases and violence on the public, especially on women, children, people of colour, immigrants, and others who suffer discrimination.
Police leaders say they are trying to restore public trust. There is a long way to go…
Read more on Police Violence
Defending this racist, male supremacist force’ Hampstead & Highgate Express Opinion: View from the Street Published: 8:52 AM February 9, 2022 Ms Kristina O’Connor was assaulted in a street robbery in Kentish Town in 2011. When she reported it, DS James Mason, called her “amazingly hot” and asked her out. A disciplinary hearing found him guilty …
Time to clean up the police force Camden New Journal LETTERS 15 Oct 2021 ‘How can we expect convictions of violent men when police abusers protect other abusers inside and outside the force?’• AS Camden women’s organisations, we welcome the CNJ‘s article and Comment on women’s safety. Since then national newspapers have criticised the institutional …
Why women oppose the Police, Crime, Sentencing & Courts Bill Women Against Rape & Women of Colour Global Women’s Strike We have been organising for decades for protection and justice from a pandemic of sexual and domestic violence against women and children, reinforced by policies of austerity that target us, undermining our financial independence and …
The Police Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is a major threat to all justice movements. The police don’t use the powers they have to properly investigate rape, domestic violence, racist attacks, and other violence we report. Worse, they abuse their powers: women police officers have joined the public outpouring on sexual abuse by male colleagues. …
OPINION Police Bill: 5 years for rape, 10 for damaging a slaver statue Lisa Longstaff, Women Against Rape Women Against Rape, protesting in Parliament Square – Credit: Women Against Rape The strength of feeling provoked by Sarah Everard’s murder and the police response to women paying their respects remind us of the fury at the police killing of …
Police response to women’s outcry at Sarah Everard’s murder discredits Bill to increase police powers
Police response to women’s outcry at Sarah Everard’s murder discredits Bill to increase police powers We are shocked but not surprised at the police response to women’s distress and fury at the murder of Sarah Everard. When thousands of women took to social media, Met chief Cressida Dick said not to worry because such murders …