Alex MacFarlane, Mauro Demetrio and the anti-racist police’s lack of direction and value
AFTER PC Alex MacFarlane meet his colleague PC Joe Harrington. Harrington allegedly assaulted a 15-year-old black teenager at an east London police station. PC Joe Harrington has been placed on restricted duties. MacFarlane was recorded calling black 21-year-old Mauro Demetrio, 21, a “nigger”, allegedly. Another voice calls Demetrio a “cunt”. Harrington was with MacFarlane at the time of the Demetrio incident.
The alleged incidents occurred in the summer of 2011, in the shadow of the riots trigged by the police killing of Marc Duggan – the black man who never fired a bullet.
MacFarlane has been suspended.
Demetrio claims he saw Harrington allegedly attack the 15-year-old.
And that’s all we know. The Guardian says there is CCTV footage of the Harrington matter, but is grainy and might not be of any use.
Against that backdrop, former policeman David Gibertson writes:
In any liberal democracy, policing must be by consent, and you lose that consent immediately if you alienate the community and treat them as the enemy.
Confrontational – yet frightened and defensive – officers are nowadays trained to see the public as a threat to their very existence….
From Stephen Lawrence to Mark Duggan; from the kettling of peaceful protesters, to the riots of last year; from the manifest incompetence of the first phone-hacking inquiry to allegations of corruption at the Leveson inquiry – a path has been beaten towards the edge of a precipice, and it is time for those concerned about the vital role of policing to challenge what is happening.
The police have dug their own hole.
But are the police all racist? Such incidents are now rare. The police have come a long way from the 1970s and 1980s, when the police talk was of of “coons” and “Paddys”. Now the police are desperate to show off their anti-racist credentials, asking people to turn into narks on twitter and shop the likes of Emma West and Liam Stacey. The police are desperate to look active, on the ball and above all caring. But their job isn’t to offer therapy. It’s to police. But they seem to have forgotten what they represent – maybe because what they represent – the State – lacks direction and certainty.
During last summer’s riot, the police were reduced to observers, looking on as homes and businesses were set alight in Tottenham and Manchester. When looters went nicking for fun, the police filmed them and stood back. They didn’t know what to do. They were offering protection only to themselves. They did nothing. They then tried to looked tough after the event, nicking people for looting in photo-oped raids.
This was not the police of the 1980s, thank God, when Tottenham’s Broadwater Farm estate was occupied by half of the Met coppers telling non-black residents “You’re white so don’t be a nigger-lover because it’s the niggers we want. If you give us the names of the niggers we will remember you’re white and we’ll let you go”, and banging shields while chanting, “Niggers, Niggers, Niggers.”
But what have the police turned into? They are scampering away from the charge of being “institutionally racist”. They are a group apart, staring out of car windows like foreign tribes of aggressive tourists while PCOs – those plastic coppers – amble about the shopping centre offering directions and tips on staying safe.
Would today’s police be able to contain a miners’ strike and do the State’s work? Or would they just hide behind water cannon and look insecure?
Gibertson is right – the police no longer represent anything. They are the Police Service, unsure who and what to serve…