Outgrowing the Police

Outgrowing the police

This is an original submission to Autonomy News

With recent events speaking for themselves, and with disdain towards the Police as an institution growing by the day, This article aims to introduce the idea of trying to live without the police in your local communities, and some things to keep in mind if you are ever arrested or know someone who has been.

The problems of the Police have been well known to anarchists for many years, and living without them is among our goals, thus I hope this article proves useful to those who have been introduced to this line of thinking in recent times. Most of the things mentioned are tips and tricks taken from general observance of different forms of anti-police media.

Firstly, it is important to be aware of something known as the ‘Blue Wall of Silence.’ A term I came across recently, which is mostly used in the United States, to refer to when police officers do not report misconduct of other officers, and stay silent to their transgressions. This informal code is a prime example of the toxic culture within police forces of “protecting themselves and not others.” This is important to be aware of when realising that, the police are unlikely to report the wrongdoings of their fellow officers, this means it falls upon us to do so. 

Film the Police: Filming the Police is one of the most effective ways to ensure accountability. If you ever witness a police officer doing something wrong, out of their power, or even if they are doing something that seems suspicious, record it. Attempt to get the police officer’s face and/or identification badge/number into the video. Furthermore, according to NetPol, the police have almost no power to stop you from filming them, unless they believe it will be used for terrorism. As such, any threats made against you by the police about filming are usually empty threats, so make sure to film those too. After which, distribute the video.

Don’t voluntarily bring the Police to your area: This usually refers to calling the Police in case of a crime being committed. Firstly, if you yourself are a victim of a crime, such as a burglary, theft, vehicle damage or other similar offences, do NOT call the police, try and go to your local police station if you need to report it to get your crime number for insurance. Secondly, think of the real victims if you witness crime. Notice someone shoplifting from a major chain supermarket? Or stealing from work at a FTSE 100 corporation? Don’t report them, don’t support the system that forced them to that end in the first place. Finally, if you notice someone injured or wounded on the street, call them an ambulance first, meaning if any police arrive, it is because of the caller at the other end, not of your own actions. These are simple tips, but can help to reduce their presence near where you live, and in your life, and could drastically help other people in your community, who may not be looked upon favourably by the police.

Set up your own mechanisms: This one is undoubtedly more difficult, and can be almost impossible depending on where you live, but can be a good step regardless if you have similar minded people to help. Community or neighbourhood watches are usually closely linked to the Police and are usually just an extension of their own apparatus. However, having mutual aid groups in the area you live, doing jobs such as feeding the homeless, educating others on our ideals and other such praxis, can lead to an increased sense of community solidarity and comradeship, which can assist in reducing crime in general. It is no secret to us that most crime is committed due to socio-economic reasons, and by helping to combat these, naturally crime will reduce. This also increases community solidarity generally, which can help with the issue as well. The police are, to most, a faceless mob with no name, an extension of the state’s monopoly on violence, by helping your community be more self-reliant and cohesive, it can help to ensure the police will not be required to pay a visit,  and it also helps to drive forward all of our other goals too.

Other areas of the Autonomy News website can help guide with setting up/finding such groups in your areas, Food not bombs is also a good one.

If you are arrested: These 5 tips come from the Green and Black Cross, an incredible organisation assisting those who are arrested at protests. If you are ever arrested, keep these 5 things in mind:

  1. No Comment – Whilst it can look self incriminating, saying nothing is the best policy.
  2. No Personal Details – IF you are stopped and searched, the police have no power to force you to give up personal details.
  3. No Duty Solicitor –  Try and use a solicitor you know, who is experienced in the area of law you are arrested in instead of the duty solicitor.
  4. No Caution – Cautions come with you admitting guilt, and thus you should NOT accept one without legal advice.
  5. What Power? – If the police are doing something wrong, or suspicious, or are acting beyond what you know they can do, ask them “under what power are you doing…?” to challenge their actions.

The Police are a natural by-product of the state’s monopoly on violence, and thus will remain with us until the state itself is disbanded.

Furthermore, due to the high levels of corruption, the rich and powerful are usually protected from ‘the long arm of the law.’ Obviously other issues are present, the exploitative nature of capitalism increasing crimes rates, wage slavery and the authoritarian laws against victimless crimes passed in parliament are all to blame as well as the police as an institution. However, by making some changes and by doing some small actions, we can weaken the institution as a whole, and hopefully use it to lead us to a better world.

The police, as we all know, is part of a bigger problem in society, which wont be fixed until the state topples and capitalism is destroyed, but as they say “aim high, hit low, think global, act local.”

(Image Credit – u/yuligan on reddit)