Activists campaign to scrap section 60 outside Stoke Newington Police Station
- Credit: Dean Ryan
Activists held a rally outside a Hackney police station to protest against police brutality and section 60.
The protest outside Stoke Newington Police Station on July 11 was organised by anti-racist and anti-fascist organisation Hackney Stand Up To Racism and Fascism (HSUTR).
Emmanuel Onapa, from the campaigning group Hackney Account, detailed how section 60 disproportionately impacts black men.
He said: “We are tired! Black men, black people, black communities, we face trauma.
“We do not have trust in the police system or in this borough - let alone nationally.
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“We do not have trust in these institutions that are inherently racist.”
The activist also spoke about the upcoming anniversary of Rashan Charles’ death on July 22. He died in 2017 following contact with an officer from the Met Police in Dalston.
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Though an inquest in June 2018 found Rashan’s death was ‘accidental’ his family said the inquest process was a “farce.”
Thirty-five years earlier protesters had also gathered outside the same police station where a young black man called Colin Roach was fatally shot. Allegations of a police cover up followed.
In both cases, no police officers were prosecuted. There have been no successful prosecutions for manslaughter or homocide of a person in police custody since 1969 though, two officers were found guilty of assault in 1971 - according to Full Fact.
Section 60 is a specific power that gives police the right to stop and search anyone in a defined area during a specific time period.
A spokesperson for the Met Police said: “it is only used in response to serious violence, or where there is intelligence to suggest serious violence will take place, or if someone is carrying a dangerous weapon.
“Its implementation must be authorised and justified by a senior officer of Inspector rank or above.”
But official figures show between April 2018 and March 2019, there were four stop and searches for every 1,000 white people, compared with 38 for every 1,000 Black people and almost half of all stop and searches took place in London.
Police say that stop and search is a “legitimate and important” power that protects Londoners and keeps streets safe by “preventing crime, removing dangerous weapons, detecting offenders and building public confidence”.
“We do not underestimate the impact stop and search has on communities and individuals; we know that to maintain public confidence in its use, stop and search must be used in a fair, effective and professional manner.
“In Hackney, the Met has long-standing links with community representatives who evaluate and feedback on such activity to ensure we can continue to learn from stop and searches that are carried out,” said the Met Police spokesperson.
Over the last decade, 163 people have died in or following police custody in England and Wales, according to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) - the body responsible for police complaints.
Of these deaths 140 people were white, 13 black and 10 from “other minority ethnic groups”.
When population size is taken into account, the figures show black people are more than twice as likely to die in police custody.
According to INQUEST, since 1990 there have been 1746 deaths in police custody or following contact with the police in England & Wales. The numbers imply a significant reduction in the number of deaths in police custody over the past three decades.
A Black Lives Matter Vigil will be held in memory of Rashan Charles on July 22 at 7pm at Shacklewell Lane Mosque.
For more information and to watch speakers from the rally visit www.facebook.com/HackneySUTR