On the trail of Britain's undercover police

Recent revelations have exposed the routine embedding of undercover police officers within environmental and social justice campaigns. But piecing together the public evidence on undercover police tactics brings as many questions as answers.

Building the blacklist: police spies and trade unionists

In 2009 a UK construction industry blacklist, administered by a private company holding files on thousands of people, was busted. Evidence is now emerging of police involvement, bringing yet another layer to the scandal of police spies and state surveillance.

Losing Pride

London's Gay Pride includes the Metropolitan Police marching in full uniform. Visibility as proud LGBTQ police officers threatens to make invisible LGBTQ people oppressed by the police. Has the notion of gay pride been co-opted, and is it now lost as part of a struggle for LGBTQ liberation?

Egypt’s police: a department of thugs

Mina Fayek

Ironically, the protest which was peaceful and demanded freedom for political detainees and an end to the "protest law" ended with more of them locked up and served with trumped up charges.

Predictive policing: mapping the future of policing?

New predictive policing technologies seem to promise crime reduction. But predictive policing also threatens the extension of policing biases; risks to privacy emergent from the data gathering required; and neglect of alternative interventions tackling the root causes of crime. Are the trade offs too large?

Building the blacklist: police spies and trade unionists

In 2009 a UK construction industry blacklist, administered by a private company holding files on thousands of people, was busted. Evidence is now emerging of police involvement, bringing yet another layer to the scandal of police spies and state surveillance.

I was arrested 75 times: how violent policing destroys mental health

Police harassment drove me into hospital. Why aren't we questioning their tactics? This is the final article in Transformation's series on the politics of mental health. Content warning. 

Muslim women and the Met: Only a pawn in their game

The attempt by British police to get Muslim women to inform on their friends and relatives as part of a counter-terrorism programme, repeats the police errors of the past and endangers any woman involved, says Yasmin Rehman

Spain: how a democratic country can silence its citizens

Spain, one of the European countries at the sharp end of imposed austerity measures, has also been in the van in imposing restrictions on protest against them

India’s policing disorder

In the 1990s Mumbai's 'crime-busting' policing strategy included routine extra-judicial executions, known as 'encounter killings'. Here this state violence is examined as communalisation of the police, enforcing insecurity for the minority over security for all.

Policing academia: exporting 'expertise', importing marketisation

Manchester Metropolitan University is working with the Qatari government to train Qatari police officers. What does the export of policing 'expertise', such as within this lucrative business deal, reveal about the transformation of academia in the UK?

#IPCCFail – the police complaints watchdog’s “decade of failure”

It's ten years since the Independent Police Complaints Commission was founded, and they've utterly failed.

Barton Moss: policing in the absence of democracy

Violence has been a running theme within the policing of anti-fracking protests at Barton Moss. Individual officers are acting with impunity. Is this reflective of a policing strategy seeking to disrupt the protests on behalf of vested interests?

Community policing or counter-terrorism: What was Britain doing in Sri Lanka?

Why were the British delivering a 'community policing' program during and after Sri Lanka's 2009 civil war? And why are 'national security and counter-terrorism' the reasons for refusing disclosure about it?

Fish rot from the head

Torture is routine practice in South Africa's police stations and prisons. A lineage of impunity, traced from apartheid, has meant de facto immunity for perpetrators. With South Africa celebrating its 'Human Rights Day' this weekend, the shocking reality behind its prison walls must be a central focus.

Policing public sexuality: queerness, intimacy, protection and violence

Excluded from police protection, subjected to intimate scrutiny of one's public sexuality, and regularly victim of police violence, for LGBTQ people in India police presence routinely signals danger. The queer rights movement has developed intertwined with this reality of intimate police violence.

Content warning: this article contains description of rape and sexual violence.

Five thoughts on abolishing the Met

Whilst seemingly necessary and incisive, recent calls to 'abolish' London's Metropolitan police do not go nearly far enough.

The violence of denial

Twenty-one years since the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence in South London, the criminal justice system maintains a reflex to deny racism. This amounts to the routine denial of justice.

The thin blue line between security, policing and the arms trade

On March 12-14 the quiet English town of Farnborough will play host to the Security & Policing conference and exhibition. This event will bring together some of the world's largest arms companies with some of the worst human rights abusers.

White-washing the water cannon: salesmen, scientific experts and human rights abuses

Scrubbing away the white-wash of 'less lethal' riot control reveals a history littered with humanitarian disasters, weaponisation, inadequate testing, and corporate profiteering. What does a 'public consultation' on water cannon mean when this history is hidden?

In search of security: "as transgenders we don't count at all"

Film: An organiser for transgender rights from The Humsafar Trust discusses insecurity and everyday experiences of policing for LGBTQ people in Mumbai. Part of the Whose Police? collection of interviews with citizens, analysts and activists around the world exploring the question: where does security come from? This video is in Hindi and English.

Britain, Turkey and trading human rights for 'counter-terrorism'

openSecurity was inspired by a 2005 conference in Madrid on the anniversary of the Atocha station bombings, marked by consensus that 'counter-terrorism' measures had to be consistent with human rights and the rule of law. The UK was hardly represented at the event—and its performance since resembles a state whose human-rights record is ill-starred: Turkey.

Violence visited on Cambodian garment workers

Cambodian garment workers make around $80 a month, taking on long hours of overtime in harsh conditions. Now workers across the country are standing up for themselves to demand more—but the fight for a better wage in Cambodia is a dangerous one. At least four garment workers were killed this month during a crackdown on protesters demanding a decent wage from the government and international clothing companies. This video shows the workers who are standing up—and the violence consistently employed to keep them quiet.

Race, class and the price of policing

Metropolitan Police officers assaulted two protesters, then claimed they had been attacked. Video footage exposed their lie. One of the victims, this week awarded a £20,000 settlement, writes about police brutality

Doreen Lawrence, police spies and institutional racism

Allegations of police spying on anti-racism groups shed new light on the meaning and operation of 'institutional racism'. Here, Adam Elliott-Cooper reflects on the Stephen Lawrence Campaign and the MacPherson Report.

Local surveillance since 2001

The almost exclusive focus on the NSA obscures the degree to which surveillance has become integrated into almost every level of government. For most of us, the first point of contact with the surveillance state isn’t the NSA – it’s the local police department. 

South Korea: rail workers, repression and resistance

An almost unreported strike in South Korea, which has just come to an end, epitomises how a ‘free’ market can be incompatible with the liberty of workers to defend their own security.

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