The role of the police in western society is beginning to be understood and challenged in ways that were inconceivable only a decade ago. The belief in ‘law and order’ and the infallibility of the police – or at least their role as a force for moral good in a system designed to uphold basic rights was deeply held.
But the deluge of state violence now routinely witnessed and shared has fatally undermined that belief system and exposed as being based on a set of myths. ‘Policing by consensus’ – the idea that you can only police a society if a level of good relations is maintained is under threat and new radical notions of abolishing the police system as we understand it are emerging.
How did this happen?
Police forces in the US and Europe work in different social contexts, with different histories and different gun laws, but for many years now people have witnessed and shared police violence and gained an insight into how they operate.