Racist Policing Accelerated During the Pandemic. Mounting Protests Could See It Get Even Worse

Novara Media, June 2020

Dwayne Francis was racially profiled and detained by police in London last month, while on his way to work in a secondary school.

“The rhetoric is always the same,” he said, describing how police routinely tell black people: “You fit the description of someone who has committed a crime, this is a high-crime area, we can smell cannabis, you are a drug dealer because of the car you drive or the clothes you’re wearing.”

The seven officers who stopped Francis on 13 May accused him of having cannabis in his car, without evidence. They did not practice social distancing or wear PPE.

Francis believes the police’s heavy-handed tactics, racial profiling and stereotyping are being “magnified and made more apparent” by Covid-19.

With demonstrations set to continue in the UK in the wake of the police murder of George Floyd in the US, police monitoring groups and anti-racism activists are also highlighting that racist policing has persisted and accelerated “even in a time of pandemic”. Some are warning that things could get worse in response to Black Lives Matter protests in the UK.

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