The term 'community policing' has been much abused in recent times, most particularly in the North of Ireland where it has become shorthand for vicious punishment beatings and shootings. In this article Gregor Kerr takes a look at the issue of community policing - what it is and more importantly what it isn't. The question of what levels of real community policing would actually be possible or allowed under capitalism is looked at, and the debate about crime, anti-social behaviour and reactions to it in an anarchist society is touched on. (pic: Anti-heroin dealer march, N. Inner city Dublin c1996 Photo Joe Black)
The sex industry is expanding and is said to gross millions of pounds per annum. Over the last year this has been reflected in the increasing focus in the media on prostitution. In October, a brothel keeper was arrested and charged. In November, Young Fine Gael passed a motion supporting the legalisation of prostitution. It is now a popular topic on the late night chat shows on tabloid radio stations.This summer, an inevitable tragedy happened. As a result of having to work unprotected on the street Sinead Kelly, a young Dublin prostitute, was murdered as she worked. Politicians and high-ranking cops shed crocodile tears for the cameras. Few of them pointed out that it was their stringent laws that made Sinead Kelly an easy target.
We maybe 10 years on from the signing of the Good Friday but the blight of militarism in the form of the state and vigilantism continues to raise its ugly head and shows little sign of fading away. In fact it is embedded and enshrined in the new discourse which even the hype around the Titanic cannot simply wash away.
Plans by the PSNI to visit catholic schools as part of a recruitment drive is a cynical cosmetic exercise designed to a camouflage a paramilitary police that has abandoned working class communities and continues to aggressively intimidate and criminalise any dissenters from the status-quo.
Three Gardai have been convicted in Waterford in the case of a man set upon and assaulted in the city centre. Anthony Holness was taking a piss in New street when he was set upon by the Gardai who beat him and arrested him. Garda Daniel Hickey and Sgt Martha McEnery were both convicted of assault whilst Garda John Burke was convicted of intending to pervert the course of justice, in his case by moving away the cctv cameras from recording the scene.
David Ford, Minister of Department for Injustice has once again refused to release long suffering prisoner Brendan Lillis on compassionate grounds to receive proper medical attention. Roisin Lynch, partner of Brendan, and representatives from Sinn Fein and SDLP met with the minister today to lobby for his release but have been rejected once again, despite a ground swell of popular support, protests and rallies.
A 19 year old who died by suicide at Hydebank Wood young offenders centre in south Belfast last year had been locked in his cell for around 22 hours a day because of short-staffing. Allyn Baxter took his own life after disgracefully spending three days on remand for not paying his TV license.
Overcrowding, slopping out, TB infection, pathetic education facilities, Irish prisons are in deep crisis. Judge "Padlock" Patwell recently retired after 52 years on the bench. He was notorious for his hardline attitude and sent many a man and woman to jail. It was on the subject of Cork prison that he remarked whilst being interviewed on radio the other day, he was bemaoning the temporary release system, but refered to the 40 prisoners currently sleeping on matresses on the floors of the recreation room.
Gardai have made 177 arrests in a crackdown on "aggressive" or "inappropriate begging" in Dublin city in the past 2 months. The Dublin Chamber of Commerce are jubliant, boasting that begging has dropped tenfold as a result of the crackdown, meanwhile no charges have been brought nor even any serious garda investigation concluded into the corrupt awarding of a mobile phone licence to Denis O'Brien by Michael Lowry.
Crime has always been a prevalent factor across societies for millenia; today it helps to sell newspapers and get politicians elected, and wars against it consume vast amounts of public resources. Some believe that crime will never be eradicated from our social fabric, whilst others believe our social fabric to be the main propagator of crime. In the 6th Rethinking Revolution talk, Julian Brophy will be looking at different perspectives on crime, assessing the power relations that exist within modern criminal justice systems, and addressing questions like: Would a society without crime be possible?