Defunding the Police: Reformist Reforms vs Abolitionist Steps for UK Policing

The  purpose of this chart is to explain the difference between reformist reforms, which entrench or increase the reach of policing, and abolitionist steps, which reduce the overall reach and impact of policing while increasing the resources available to communities for health and flourishing. We acknowledge that abolitionist steps in terms of policy go far beyond defunding the police. Carcerality exists in all areas of governance - including health, housing, education and culture, as well as the more obvious prisons, detention/immigration borders, and surveillance. In sharing these resources we aim to support the development of anti-carceral, non reformist reforms/abolitionist steps in all these areas. We work together towards the creation of an ‘Abolitionist policy platform’ so that we can collectively push for change across Britain and Ireland.


This resource was developed in summer 2020 by abolitionist academics, organisers and NGO workers from a range of groups to support British and Irish based abolitionist work and strategy in the context of global Black Lives Matter protests. It adapts a resource developed by US-based group Critical Resistance, Reformist reforms vs.abolitionist steps in policing, and draws more broadly on the work of abolitionist organisers and scholars Mariame Kabe, Prof. Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, and Dr. Angela Davis, to whom we are deeply grateful.

The slides to go alongside the chart are downloadable and sharable across social media platforms. You can access these here. The designer’s Instagram handle is @rowanweatherwax

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