Police

Working for the clampdown - the police and the cuts

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These are troubling times for the police. The march against cuts by 30,000 off-duty officers in May took place against a backdrop of widespread revulsion at police involvement in News International's illegal phone hacking operation, a scandal which has already led to the resignation of two of the Metropolitan Police's most senior police officers, Sir Paul Stephenson and John Yates.

The Leveson inquiry has revealed the scale of collusion between police officers, government ministers and News International staff, providing ample evidence of police complicity in a deliberate cover-up of illegal hacking. It would generally be considered unusual for the police to wine and dine with suspected criminals. Yet Paul Stephenson met with News International chiefs 18 times in the course of the "failed" investigations into hacking.

A dangerous enterprise

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Judge Red

A column about socialists and the legal system

The law on joint enterprise is one of the most complex and controversial in criminal law. It can be used to convict people who are said to have acted together while committing an offence. Each defendant is held "liable for the acts done in pursuance of that joint enterprise", including "liability for unusual consequences".

Justice For Trayvon

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In late February George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida. That much is not in dispute - Zimmerman and his lawyer admit it. It's a scandal, but not for the reasons most of the media are telling you.

Zimmerman is a neighbourhood watch "captain" in a gated community. Martin was a 17 year old African American wearing a hoodie and visiting relatives. Zimmerman thought maybe Trayvon Martin was a prowler. So he called 911 (the American 999) and followed Martin, talking to the 911 operative as he did so. On the tape of the call, Zimmerman says to the 911 dispatcher, "He looks [...pause...] black."

The Sun isn't shining

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The wheels continue to come off at News International. James Murdoch's resignation as executive chairman is the latest blow. It came a few days after Metropolitan police deputy-assistant commissioner Sue Akers' explosive account to the Leveson Inquiry of a "culture of illegal payments" to a "network of corrupt officials" by the Sun

Ackers' broadside came a day after Rupert Murdoch launched the first Sun on Sunday, replacing the News of the World which was shut last July. His abrupt move followed the dawn arrests of ten Sun journalists - an eleventh is wanted for questioning - sparking such discontent among Murdoch's loyal hacks that Rupert himself descended on Wapping to reassure them.

It wasn't the Daily Mail wot won it!

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The Daily Mail has claimed that it drove forward the campaign for justice for Stephen Lawrence. Brian Richardson sets the record straight and argues that the real pressure for justice came from below

Daily Mail editor in chief Paul Dacre is one of the longest serving and most influential people in the press. He is also notoriously reclusive. In the wake of the Stephen Lawrence murder trial verdict, however, he could not contain himself.

Racism: a very British institution

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The conviction of Gary Dobson and David Norris for the racist murder of Stephen Lawrence was a moment to celebrate for all anti-racists. But, argues Talat Ahmed, institutional racism still lurks at the heart of the British state

The guilty verdict in the Stephen Lawrence case for two of his murderers has reopened a debate about racism in Britain. The conviction and life sentences handed down to Gary Dobson and David Norris for the murder of Stephen Lawrence was a moment of celebration and vindication for anti-racists throughout the country. Yet one fact conspicuous by its absence has been any serious consideration of institutionalised racism. This was the defining feature of the 1998 Macpherson inquiry into the police's handling of the investigation into Stephen's murder.

Black and fighting back

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The riots that happened last summer highlighted the gulf that exists between many young black people and mainstream black political figures. Brian Richardson and Mark L Thomas spoke to Weyman Bennett about the new mood of anger among black people.

“There is a significant change taking place among young people. The people involved in the riots generalised politically much more than in 1981 and 1985.”

But there were signs of this even before the riots, argues Weyman. The demonstration a couple of months earlier over the death of the black musician Smiley Culture during a police raid on his house attracted several thousand people - the biggest protest over a death in custody for a number of years.

After the riots

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The riots that exploded on the streets of London and other English cities last month provoked a vicious backlash by politicians and the media. Brian Richardson argues that the rage people expressed was rooted in the grinding poverty and injustice at the heart of British society.


Photo: Guy Smallman

How many rivers do we have to cross
Before we can talk to the boss?
All we have it seems we have lost
We must have really paid a cost

How the mighty Murdoch has fallen

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It's seldom the daily news brings joy such as the News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

Rupert Murdoch is a man who held prime ministers in his palm - "the 24th member of Blair's cabinet" according to a Labour insider. Yet there he was in July, called to account by MPs, pushed to close his biggest-circulation newspaper and drop his bid to control the absurdly profitable BSkyB, his son James poised to lose his role as heir, his US empire in jeopardy.

From Coulson to Cameron

Crumbling Pillars of the British Establishment

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The phone hacking scandal has rapidly spread to engulf the police, the government and sections of the media. Estelle Cooch looks at the crisis of legitimacy spreading through the British establishment.

A succession of scandals have engulfed British public life over the last three years, each one placing under the spotlight the entrenched corruption of a different institution that governs our lives. First, there was the banking crisis and the huge bailouts that followed, and then came the parliamentary expenses scandal. Now the phone hacking scandal has raised profound disquiet not just about parts of the press but also about the cosy relationship of sections of the media with both politicians and the police.

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