Thoughts please…

July 4, 2007

So, you’re the patrol beat officer for an urban area, a market town, with a shopping centre and cafe culture. There are nightclubs and the all too common Friday night bash ups. There are not many Black or Asian people in the area, though numbers have increased over the last 18 years or so. Most are professionals and are settled.

A few years ago a well known multinational organisation decided o employ South Asian men for their IT skills. This meant some were coming alone, and some with their wives and small children. This community has grown considerably. These people work on fixed contracts up to for example 5 years or so.

During the cold winter nights I would usually see a husband, wife and a child, sometimes they would be with another group, and they would walk from 2 miles away to the local supermarket, known to reduce it’s prices at around 7pm. And there are 30 families or so. It ’s the cheapest time to shop, so who would blame them?

A car is a luxury. Still, it’s summer now. Six years ago I advised the local Race group, (some of whom were just do good Liberals), that these people are vulnerable victims, they do not know our community, and they might not have experienced racism.

A few weeks ago I was at home, it was 10.30 in the evening, I got a call. A friend of a friend called and said there had been another assault, the usual thing, some thugs had shouted “Paki” to some of these people and then hit them, ABH type thing. Reminds me of the days of the 1970’s but I thought we had moved beyond that. A little more digging and I found out that something similar happened a week ago, a litle more and I remember it’s Cricket season. And Indians love their cricket!

So whilst they were playing in the local park some youths would interrupt their game, walk across the wicket and shout racial abuse. The thing is this minority has not grown up here. The lad that was injured got a severe punching to the face and he was at the police station writing a statement hoping we would catch the perpetrator’s. What thuggery, I wonder drives, these offenders.

Today’s minority would fight back. Is this for real I wonder? The purpose of me writing this is to seek some thoughts here?

There is no criticism of the police, and if you were the PBO or the employer, knowing that these victims are vulnerable, what preventative actions might you take? Racism doesn’t go away of it’s own accord.


  1. Racism is like a cancer. Deep rooted, ingrained and very nasty. Maybe some racial assaults are carried out by poisonous individuals who choose to use race as an excuse to channel their anger. Sorry if that sounds defeatist- we should do our utmost to deal with racist behaviour/attitudes. However I believe in many cases it is ingrained within the home. The child hears the parent and thinks this is the way of the world. Then they get to feel superior as they are part of what they perceive to be some sort of master race. I don’t defend them – we can all see the results of racism in our communities and all right thinking adults can form their own opinion and change their attitudes.

    I’m not sure what the answer is. These employees have an absolute right to protection.Maybe it is for the employer to secure accommodation in slightly better areas. One where the risk of assault is lower. OK that would cost them, but they have a duty to protect.

    I did think that maybe they should be advised that the prices may be cheaper at that time of night, but it’s not worth it. Then I thought why should they be effectively on a curfew in our so called civilised country. Sorry if that is a bit like a ramble, I did try so very hard to make sense.

  2. Minty your thoughts are valued. I agree, the employer has some part to play. The unusual thing here is that some of those from overseas don’t know what to expect. Some will stand there and take the assault. Kids from here won’t. This is where we have to be careful and not criminalise people acting in self defence. Minty your not rambling at all. If you want to meet a rambler meet ranter. You’ll see that he adds extremely constructive items, (not), here and there. It’s nice to have good people on board.

  3. Cheers flower! I think you may have hit the nail on the head that “some of those from overseas don’t know what to expect”. Yes, some are a lot more street wise than you or I will ever be. Some are very naive, which is why they are so easily exploited by unscrupulous employers/landlords. I assume that these people are not earning a Kings Ransom if they are prepared to walk 2 miles on a cold winter’s night to save a small amount of money. I thought IT professionals were generally fairly well paid, so maybe they are being paid under the odds. Not a Police issue but surely a contributory factor to their predicament.

    I suppose the whole acting in self defence comes down to what is reasonable force. Which to me is fairly woolly. My reasonable force maybe the next persons over the top reaction. And fear can make anybody react in an over the top manner. Maybe if it’s always the same aggressors, with the same tactics maybe even the Local Authority have a part to play with ASBO’s and the like (I mean for bullying, not assault- that’s the Polices remit). Maybe higher visibility patrols? Terrible isn’t it. “Welcome to Britain- you may get assaulted, mind you don’t retaliate, you could get in trouble”.Look at that, I have written 218 words without answering you directly! Maybe I have a brilliant future in politics!

  4. Minty, you’ve hit the nail on the head. Mind you that has a different meaning in Sharp’s journey to India where Sean bean plays Sharp.

    High visibility patrols – there are no resources.

    The perpatrator’s are not the same – They are using the excuse that these people won’t retalliate to fuel their prejudice and stake their claim as kings of their area. Sad, but true.

    As for pay, 6 years ago I raised that as a question. Everyone from any side refused to comment. That was an internal issue for the employers, but they still refused to comment. 6 ago it was raised. That shows you how far we have progressed. Minty, the question is, is this cheaper labour?

    I think on the Cricket pitch when these yobs were abusing people, one of the lads from the firm took a cricket bat stance with a bat or baseball bat, but I think he is now seen as a perpetrator? Yes, this is some welcome. Hoepfully, we will see how the perpetrator’s use the law to help them.

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