Plebgate shows the police need reform

If this can happen to a privileged white Tory cabinet minister, what hope for a young black man in Brixton

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First, a full apology to Andrew Mitchell. I was among those who ended up in the perverse position of believing three Police Federation representatives' account of what happened at their meeting with Andrew Mitchell in Octember 2012.

It is abundantly clear that Mitchell was stitched up.

But it is a case with troubling implications. If this can happen to a privileged white Tory cabinet minister, what hope for a young black man in Brixton – an argument made by Mitchell himself.

Because of Mitchell’s media and political connections, the truth has been established within a year. Compare that with the quarter of a century it took for the working-class families of Hillsborough to secure truth – against an establishment that disbelieved, undermined and smeared them. And they still haven’t got justice.

Then there are the miners at Orgreave, attacked by South Yorkshire Police who – as they later did at Hillsborough – fabricated statements. Black people are not treated as equal citizens. There are deaths in police custody, such as Sean Rigg in Brixton. There are the women who had relationships with undercover police officers; one of whom had a baby with an agent with a false identity, and says she feels “raped by the state”.

It’s clear that we need far-reaching, radical reform of the police and those who hold them to account – beginning with a royal commission with the broadest possible mandate.

More from Owen Jones this week: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/those-wanting-a-living-wage-or-tax-crackdown-are-as-dangerous-as-the-bnp-apparently-8927496.html

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