Former Commissioner with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, Mike Franklin was also HM Assistant Inspector of Constabulary and has acted as a Specialist Assistant Inspector, Race and Diversity across 43 police forces in England and Wales. Mike was Chair of the Community Police Consultative Group for Lambeth and also served on the TUC race relations committee. Mike is currently an Independent Member of the Ministry of Defence Police Committee(ProfessionalStandards Lead) and a Non Executive Director at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust.
“I’d be in Brixton with my friends on a Saturday, none of us were criminals, we didn’t carry drugs, we didn’t carry guns, we didn’t carry knives, we had no criminal records, just young people out on the street going shopping, and we’d get searched on a regular basis. You’d guarantee that it would happen on a Saturday. I had friends that got stopped and searched, arrested, taken into the police station, came out the next day with physical injuries. So, you know, that’s the way it was. But stop and search, sus, was the 1824 Vagrancy Act. So it was a very, very old piece of legislation. It was designed in Victorian times to remove tramps, tramps from the street. And how that became a law that was said to be a crime fighting tool, but was generally used to harass and criminalise our community, that was one of the reasons why a lot of us stood against it.”
“In England and Wales, the ‘sus law’became the informal name for section 4 of the Vagrancy Act 1824 which permitted a police officer to stop and potentially convict individuals as ‘suspected persons.’ Section 4 was repealed in 1981 following uprisings in Brixton.”Based in Brick lane, we at Fighting SUS recorded oral histories in order to preserve and explore the events, effects and significance of the SUS laws. This is our creative response to the oral histories we recorded and our findings in various archives such as the Bishopsgate Institute, National Archive and George Padmore Institute. Our artistic expression branches through poetry, spoken word, drama, rap, singing and music.
WHY ARE WE CALLED FIGHTING SUS?
Despite repeal, SUS may have embedded itself into modern society: using art, research and oral histories, we are fightingSUS and its legacies in present-day Stop and Search, systemic racism and social injustice.We started out as a small group of young people in year 10 in January 2018, researching the history of the SUS law and interviewing individuals affected and campaigners who fought for the repeal of SUS. This summer, our group expanded to create artistic responses, do research and learn about the SUS era: the nation’s history of black power, rebellion and resistance.
TEAM: Jolina Bradley, Esmeralda Atikpoe, Mariam Bangura, Saqif Chowdhury, Shanaz Conteh, Thery-Claire (TC) Leshe, Tania Aubeelack, Jessica Lima, Liza Akhmetova, Memuna Rashid, Sarah Ogunfeyimi, Brandon Leon
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