Feminist movement calls for limiting police power in the UK

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 14: Mourners for the life of murdered 33-year-old Sarah Everard, whose remains were found this week in woodland in Kent, take part in a demonstration organised by group Sisters Uncut outside New Scotland Yard in London, United Kingdom on March, 14, 2021. Wayne Couzens, a serving Metropolitan Police officer, has been charged with the kidnap and murder of Everard, who went missing over a week ago from south London and whose disappearance and death has seen women across the country speaking up about their own fears of not being safe on the streets. ( Ray Tang - Anadolu Agency )

Sisters Uncut is a direct feminist action group that has recently raised its voice against police crimes against women.

The UK has been shaken by news of violent murder and rape of Sarah Everard. Five months after the crime, it came to light that Wayne Couzens used the powers, training and weapons available to him as a police officer to arrest, abduct, rape and murder Ms. Everard.

This is not an isolated case. One piece in the Guardian points out that one woman a week reports a serving police officer for domestic or sexual violence.

Sarah was seemingly arrested by Couzens under Coronavirus Legislation, which gave police officers increased powers to stop and question anyone outside their home.

This same legislation was used days later by the Metropolitan Police to stop the vigil organised for Sarah’s death, according to Refinery29.

Alongside that, expanded police powers led to 22,000 searches of Black men in London alone. An official review found that every single prosecution using Coronavirus Legislation was wrongful.

“This is why we”, writes the Sisters Uncut movement, “are announcing a series of training sessions on police intervention, and the launch of a nationwide network of CopWatch patrols.

Women and all those from marginalised communities must stand together to protect ourselves from police violence and all forms of gendered violence.”

Police Injustice

It was reported that there were witnesses to Sarah’s kidnapping, the feminist movement wonders what might have happened had someone intervened.

Coronavirus Legislation led to racial profiling and harassment at its best and murder at its worst. It is our firm belief that increased police powers will always mean more violence.

In recent years, the UK have seen an increase in legislation that increases the power of police. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill, passed in 2020, allows officers to deceive women into sexual relationships, essentially legalising rape, movement says.

Sisters Uncut organized a protest in the wake of Sarah Everard’s murder by a police officer (Anadolu)

The proposed Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will allow police to stop and search individuals without any suspicion, digitally strip-search survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

Sisters Uncut strives to put an end to all of that. Formed by domestic violence survivors and sector workers in 2014, members of the movement aim to defend domestic violence services from austerity cuts.

“And so,” writes the movement, “we remember Sarah by fighting to make sure that what happened to her never happens again. Justice takes all of us to build it. You can sign up for our workshops here,”

Source: Refinery29

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