Sometimes, it's just a cigar

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Pretexts and portals

There’s been plenty written about the way the Met Police are addressing sex work at the moment. There’s a great article by Frankie Mullin here.

I don’t disagree with anything Frankie says. I was just struck by the way in which the police, in their role as a mechanism for disciplining and controlling the population in the interests or property and power, stick to the tied and tested methods of the past, seeking pretexts to create portals to the disciplinary system for those they wish to control.

In the case of Operation Lanhydrock, as Frankie Mullin describes it, the pretext was information provided by an unnamed charity that led to the operation and the involvement of the Border Force. As pretexts go ‘information received from an anonymous source’ is as old as the hills, and as unreliable. Nevertheless, action taken arising from the tipoff becomes the portal through which individuals move from being relatively free to being controlled.

It’s a police approach as old as time itself; ask any black driver from the 70s or 80s who was stopped ‘because your brake light’s flickering’ and who found himself given a producer. Ask any young black man who found himself stopped in the street on suspicion of being an offender; successful police officers thrive on creating pretexts that open up portals to the system that will discipline and control the others, the minority who can be cut off from the mainstream population.

The Border  Force, as a specialist police force, is no stranger to the techniques and traditions of British policing. Show it  a pretext and the portals swing open. As a specialist police force it is also less scrutinized and less susceptible to local control. Any decent left politician should be arguing for the Border Force to be replaced by separate units in each police force area, accountable to the local police and crime commissioner. The Met Police were at their most corrupt, and racist, when they were run by the Home Office;guess who runs the Border Force? Exposing the Border Force to more local public scrutiny would be a good start.



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This entry was posted on November 24, 2016 by in Uncategorized.

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