We’re all terribly surprised that Nesrine Malik has got the wrong end of the stick here, aren’t we?
Since its beginning, the primary purpose of Anglo-European policing was to exert control and quell uprisings by those demanding rights – be they sovereign, racial or economic – and protect those with land, property and wealth. The world may have changed since the days of British “bobbies” suppressing Irish republicanism, and escaped-slave-hunting militias in the US, but the mentality and structure of those institutions endures.
The entire foundation of Anglo-European policing, that idea of Peelers and Bobbies, was exactly the opposite of that. Sure, we can argue about how well those principles are still adhered to but to that’s another matter.
The entire damn point was not to be an army of occupation suppressing the proles – we had an army that did that already. It was to protect those rights of the proles just as much as those of anyone else. The police did, after all, investigate – even if without solution – the Jack the Ripper murders and which system of oppression bothers to do that for a few tarts?
That’s the thing about the Anglo part of that policing at least. The innovation was that it wasn’t to merely entrench extant privilege.