This summer, the eyes of the world will be on east London during the Olympics. Communities across east London and visitors to the area will witness an extensive policing and security operation with up to 12,000 officers on the ground during peak days. A prime community concern is the impact of this on equality and human rights entitlements.
The need for Community Legal Observers has already been explored in articles both by NMP and its supporters in recent months. In short, we and many others based in east London are concerned about the impact that such high levels of policing will have on specific sections of the community, many of whom already experience disproportionate contact and often discriminatory treatment from authorities – young people, people from black, Asian, minority ethnic, refugee or white working class backgrounds – but we are also conscious that policing and security at ground level can impact on others including visitors for whom English is not a first language, students and residents. In recent times in Newham, community confidence in the police has been severely tested by the disastrous Forest Gate anti-terror raids, where two Muslim families endured a terrifying house-raid based on faulty intelligence, the inordinately high level of Section 60 searches compared to other boroughs and most recently the allegation of racial abuse by police from NMP case Mauro Demetrio. An increase in human rights abuses has been documented in cities where sport mega-events have been held in the past; it is therefore essential that communities in east London are strengthened to resist and challenge any infringements on their rights. Read more