In 1979 anti fascist campaigner Blair Peach was killed during an anti far right protest in Southall. Many believed his death was a direct result of excessive police brutality-a dark shadow which has loomed over us for some thirty odd years.
Fast forward to 2010, and at the very least many questions regarding the deaths of countless others as a result of police brutality remain unanswered. We do not need to name the victims. We know who they are.
A report of the events leading up to the death of Peach has been released. The report confirms what many have suspected all along. It states that it can “reasonably be concluded that a police officer struck the fatal blow”
Peach who was a school teacher from New Zealand was 33 at the time of his death.
According to the report the senior Met officer in charge of the inquest following Peaches death deliberately attempted to undermine the facts from the coroner’s report- and the accountability of the officer who struck the fatal blow to Peach.
Earlier this week friends of Peach gathered outside Scotland Yard and read out the names of the officers who they believe killed the anti Far- Right campaigner.
The story of Peach is a cutting reminder that drastic reform is needed within the Metropolitan Police. Has there been any real progress in the thirty years since Peaches death?
Until the Met becomes a fair representation of the people it exists to serve it will continue to remain unaccountable to the public. Ineffective deliverance of justice to black people, excessive brutality being allowed to take place unpunished – even when it is captured on film – and an institution that cannot implement equality because it is unequal itself is in need of a serious shake up. The mayoral election will take place in 2012. We need to ask ourselves how we can make the Met more inclusive to prevent further tragedies, and we need to question the structural changes that have changed the Met since Mayor Johnson booted out Blair and took control of the MPA (Metropolitan Police Authority).
As it stands the Met is needs change and no more reports and enquiries paying mere lip service to what needs to be done particularly-with the needs of minority communities.
By Richard Sudan