Last week, 4FRONT joined thousands of protesters who took to the streets to demand police accountability and racial justice. There have been 1742 deaths in police custody, or following police custody in England and Wales since 1990. This figure was 1741, but tragically, it has come to light that another Black man died in police custody on 20th May in Devon. His name was Simeon Francis.
We empower young people with experience of violence and the criminal justice system to fight for justice, peace and freedom. Our members suffer extreme levels of violence through policing, prison and probation. We're protesting because the young people we support are victims of police brutality every single day and are not seen or treated as victims. Most victims survive, but never get support or justice. We're protesting because we refuse to wait until they are killed.
We're protesting because we cannot rely on the criminal justice system to protect us. The National Council of Police Chiefs issued a statement claiming to stand in solidarity with all who are horrified by George Floyd’s killing and calling for “justice and accountability.” Their hypocrisy is disgraceful. They have never been held accountable here in this country. The proportion of 'BAME' deaths in custody where restraint or use of force is a feature is over two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. The proportion of 'BAME' deaths in custody where mental health-related issues are a feature is nearly two times greater than it is in other deaths in custody. Policing is an inherently violent and racist institution.
At 4FRONT, we are calling for divestment from the police and investment in community support, mental health care, education and opportunities. We want investment in services that are proven to increase safety and accountability for us all. The total police budget for 2020/2021 across England and Wales is £15.2 billion. The Metropolitan Police budget alone is £2.9 billion. How could we spend this money in a way that would actually support young people and our communities? In Minneapolis, the city council has vowed to "dismantle and abolish the police agency responsible for George Floyd's death." We demand that the UK follows suit. We have reached a turning point. When we say "No Justice, No Peace" we fundamentally mean that peace will never be possible, until we achieve real, long-lasting justice for our communities. To support our work, please donate to our community fundraiser here.