Am I being racially HARASSED?
Most people's reality is somewhere in-between. If you find yourself constantly being stop-searched, frequently arrested (invariably in a violent and aggressive manner), are deprived of your rights to phone-calls, solicitors, medical attention or clothing, are woken by police throughout the night, get fitted up for things you haven't done and repeatedly kept in custody after charge, before picking up the phone to The Daily Mail to complain of police discrimination, please consider the following questions:
- Do you wear weather-inappropriate clothing and hang around burglary hotspots on dark nights?
- Do you often find weapons/tools lying around on the ground and conceal them within layers of your clothing for no reason?
- Do you tend to run/hide when you see police officers coming?
- When having the circumstances of your search explained to you, do you tend to shout 'This is harassment, man' repeatedly at the top of your voice so you are unable to hear anything else?
- Do you continue to do the same when brought in front of the custody sergeant?
- Do you answer 'yes' to all the questions about your health and welfare, including intention to commit suicide, contagious diseases and medication?
- Do you while away the boring hours in custody head-butting the walls and trying to form a noose out of items of soft clothing?
- Do you demand the doctor, then refuse to come out of your cell to see him/her? Do you then wait until the doctor has just left custody before stating that you will now see him?
- Do you refuse to be interviewed, or threaten to carve up the first police officer to open your cell door?
- Whilst in custody, do you share your thoughts on retribution against members of your family?
- Do you regularly oversleep on the morning of court/bail?
If the answer is genuinely no, apply the same questionnaire to your significant other, parent or sibling.
In reality, the bulk of people who get badgered and harassed by the police are usually doing something to encourage it. The trouble is, you only need one or two examples of where they aren't to set the public opinion of such cases.
Ali Dizaei first united the public in support of the supposed corruption of his force. Now his conviction has sealed that opinion, perhaps for good.
How do we win back the support of society, without ceasing our relentless pressure on those who commit crimes against it?
'Diary of an On-Call Girl' is available in some bookstores and online.