BREAKING: Sisters Uncut call fourth day of action against police powers bill
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
“The police don’t keep women safe: don’t reward them with more powers”
- Sisters Uncut lay flowers at the crack of dawn on Parliament Square to announce a demonstration there at 6pm on Monday 16 March.
- This is the fourth consecutive day of action from the group, following police violence against women at the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common on 13 March 2021.
- Sisters Uncut say the police are institutionally violent against women and cannot be trusted with women’s safety given their own record for perpetrating violence. Only 1 in every 100 sexual cases results in conviction, and only 3.9% of officers reported for domestic abuse are convicted.
- The group say ‘police do not keep us safe’ and demand secure funding for domestic abuse support services.
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On 17 March 2021, on the second day of the government’s reading of the draconian Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, feminist group Sisters Uncut have laid flowers outside parliament spelling out the words ‘kill the bill” in a bid for the government to scrap the legislation.
The group say that as the actions of police at the Clapham vigil on Saturday this weekend show, police abuse the powers that they already have – and should not be rewarded with more in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
Sisters Uncut say the violence at the police at the vigil is demonstrative of institutional violence against women, meaning women and gender non-conforming people experience violence in their homes, in their streets, and through the systems that claim to keep them safe.
Recent research by the Prison Reform Trust found that survivors reported being repeatedly arrested by the police despite their partner being the primary aggressor. In 2018/19 60,000 reports of rape to the police, but less than 1,800 men charged. In 2018 domestic violence hit a five year high. Between the start of 2012 and 2 June 2018, a total of 562 officers were accused of sexual assault and only 43 faced subsequent proceedings.
Only yesterday it was reported that police failed to help a women flashed on the way home from Saturday’s vigil, a mum was threatened with social service action for attending a vigil in Liverpool, and Metropolitan police officers involved in the Sarah Evereard case were taken off duty for sending offensive messages, all the while the police suggest increasing police powers and presence.
Giving the police more power, as is proposed in the Police, Crime, Senencing and Courts Bill, will lead to an increase in the number of survivors being arrested, especially black and minority ethnic and poorer survivors. It will give police more power to digitally stripsearch survivors of gendered violence who report to the police. It will give police more powers to enact sweeping new stop and search powers, to increase surveillance and criminalise Gypsy and Traveller communities. And most importantly it will give police more power to to decide where, when and how citizens are allowed to protest institutional systemic violence.
This is the fourth consecutive day of action taken by the group and thousands of members of the public following police violence against women at the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common on 13 March 2021. They are supported by over 150 organisations and over 20 cross-party MPs.
An anonymous member of Sisters Uncut said: “The police protect themselves. The police do not keep us safe, and plainclothes police won’t protect us. On Saturday night, the police were drunk with power. And now the Government is voting to give them more power. We say no.
“Even at a vigil where women are expressing their rage at the rates of violence against women in society, police are violent. Even after the vigil, when an attendee on her way home was flashed by a man and reported it to the police, the police refused to act on her report.
“The behaviour of the Metropolitan Police on Saturday was an absolute disgrace. They abused women who were at a vigil to show homage to women allegedly killed by their colleague. We are not going to let you silence us.
Notes for Editors:
- Sisters Uncut are a direct action group protesting cuts to domestic violence services. The group was formed by domestic violence survivors and sector workers in 2014 to defend domestic violence services from austerity cuts, and has blossomed into a mass movement across the UK, with groups in Doncaster, London, Newcastle, Bristol, Portsmouth and Birmingham.
- Sisters Uncut is formed of non-binary people and women renowned for bold protest tactics, including jumping on the red carpet at the ‘Suffragette’ premiere and dying the Trafalgar Square fountains red.