Press Release: Racism and the Police (March 9th, 2011)

Students from the University of Manchester held a flashmob-style protest against racism in the criminal justice system on March 9th. The students are part of the Re:Vision Drug Policy Network, a new organisation that hopes to change the public”s views on drug law.

The protesters held up banners outside Green Heyes Police station in Moss-side and also outside Manchester Crown Court. They handed out leaflets to passers-by explaining that black people suffer institutional discrimination both on the streets and in the docks. Ethnic minorities are more likely to be imprisoned for drug offences than white people, even though it has been shown they have comparable or lower rates of drug use.

“People in the police and judicial systems might not intend to be racist but the overall effect is that people who aren”t white get a raw deal,” said campaigner Andi Sidwell. “This is not what justice looks like.”

The UK”s criminal justice system arrests and imprisons non-white people more than white people, with black people 6 times more likely to be arrested than white people for drug offences and 11 times more likely to be imprisoned. There is no evidence that black people use or deal drugs more than white people. [3]

The Re:Vision Drug Policy Network is a newly formed national network of young people speaking out to create the belief that a drug policy based on the ideas of human welfare and human rights is both possible and necessary. We started up in March 2011 and are based in Manchester. We are seeking to empower all young people aged 16-25 to campaign for effective drug policies, control and regulation, and harm reduction methods. The Drug War is fought in the name of youth, so it is essential that we as young people argue for an end to punitive, harmful drug laws.

Ends

Editor”s notes

  1. Hi-quality photos are available from our Flickr account here: http://bit.ly/fzDmMa
  2. Statistics come from Alex Stevens” book “Drugs, Crime and Public Health”.

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