Community Defence, March 1993


Police lies exposed in Court of Appeal

FOUR people jailed for possessing drugs planted on them by Stoke Newington police had their conviction squashed earlier this month.

The Appeal Court ruling is a breakthrough in the campaign to halt police crime, and a blow for Stoke Newington’s senior officers who who wish to whitewash corruption. But it is not justice.

Although eight police officers have been transferred and six suspended, not a single officer has stood trial for framing innocent people. And many of their victims still languish in jail while the legal system blocks or delays appeals.

Only Detective Constable Roy Lewandowski is serving an 18-month jail sentence for theft from a manslaughter victim’s house.


But he remains unpunished for his part in drug dealing and falsifying evidence. And, more alarmingly, so do his crooked colleagues — who continue to walk free, often patrolling local streets. A Hackney Community Defence Association inquiry, launched last year and based on extensive interviews with those framed by police, has exposed a core of 13 offending officers, and suggests up to 30 others may be involved.

Meanwhile, Scotland Yard’s corruption probe, Operation Jackpot, continues at a sluggish pace. Although it is investigating drug dealing, theft and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, it is a police complaints and not a criminal investigation, working behind close doors. Its findings may never be made public. Whatever Operation Jackpot decides, the catalogue of quashed prosecutions, acquittals and dropped charges shows Stoke Newington police are already discredited.

VICTORY: Ida Oderinde, Rennie Kingsley and Dennis Tulloch outside the Appeal Court after their convictions were quashed

Ida Oderinde, Rennie Kingsley, Dennis Tulloch and Everald Brown were cleared of drug charges on 2 March after prosecution barrister Kenneth Aylett admitted: “There are police officers upon whom suspicion has fallen as to their reliability in any evidence they may give in court.”

Most of those facing trumped-up charges are black, including the four cleared this month. Kingsley, who was sentenced to four months after police planted cocaine and LSD in his home, said: “There is a lot of racism in a system which only takes the word of police officers. The officers who raided me were all white and the people in court were all white.”

The four received no apology. Their appeals were adjourned three times before reaching court. Kingsley said: “I am very bitter, angry and disappointed that the system failed us. I just wish all this had taken place earlier.”

Want to know  more?
Discover the full story in these two HCDA pamphlets

Report into police crime in Hackney, 1989-1991. Presented to the Royal Commission on Criminal Justice in November 1991.

HCDA’s first report into Stoke Newington drug squad’s criminal activities. Includes personal accounts and describes how HCDA investigated the police.

£1 each from HCDA, Colin Roach Centre, 10A Bradbury Street, London N16 7NY.



Outside “Take-Two”, Kingsland High Street Wednesday 23 December 1992, 5.15pm

Did you see a young black woman get assaulted and manhandled by police officers?

If you see anyoody being unjustly treated by the police, you might be able to act as a witness for them. If we stand together and support each other we can rid our community of police injustice. If your have any information, please contact HCDA on 071 249 0193.

Officers  planted crack on innocent man

IDA ODERINDE, Dennis Tulloch, Rennie Kingsley and Everald Brown have had their convictions quashed. But others framed by the police are still waiting.

In 1990, Hugh Prince was in a Dalston shebeen when it was raided by police. An officer ordered Prince into an empty, unlit room to be searched. When he refused, PCs Christopher Hart and James Havercroft threatened Prince with a sledgehammer and planted eight rocks of crack cocaine in his cigarette packet.

PC Ronald Palumbo – who helped frame the four cleared earlier this month – and DC Barry Lyons took charge of the case.

“They took me to my home and searched it without me there – I had to wait in the car,” Prince says. “They didn’t find anything. It was like a big joke to them. I made a complaint, but nothing was done about it, and now I’m a convicted criminal.”

Prince was sentenced to two months in jail for possession of crack. He was released in January 1991. He says: “Palumbo and Lyons didn’t give evidence in court. Although they’ve been sus-pended, it’s no good to me. I’m still struggling to clear my name. Hart and Havercroft are still at Stoke Newington police station. “

“Although it’s three years since it happened, I live in fear of it happening again, because nobody’s taking any notice.”


Prince’s grounds for appeal have yet to be lodged, but three more cases are waiting to be heard by the Appeal Court: those of Sirus Baptiste and Leroy Lewis – who were fitted up by PC Terrence Chitty – and Eula Carter, whose case was adjourned on 2 March.

HCDA does not know how many others have been framed. While the police conduct their secret inquiry, they are condemning people to stay in jail for crimes they did not commit. HCDA has investigated two other cases – Danny Bailey and Winston Thompson. We are convinced they were planted with drugs.

Bailey is serving three-and-a-half years for intent to supply crack. He was planted with one rock by DC Peter Popham in Sandringham Road in 1991. There is evidence that Popham committed perjury while giving testimony. Thompson was released from prison last year serving 11 months of a two-and-a-half year sentence for intent to supply crack. He was planted with five rocks by PC Palumbo on Sandringham Road in 1991. Grounds for appeal have been lodged and he is waiting to hear if his case has been referred to the Appeal Court.

Many more people have contacted HCDA claiming to have been fitted up by Stoke Newington police. Some of these allegations, which include robbery cases, involve officers at the centre of the police crime ring. HCDA has not thoroughly examined these cases but believes they warrant further investigation. We know of ten such cases, including:

  • Maxine Edwards, who claims she was planted with crack by DC Beinard Gillan and PC Gerrard Carroll.
  • Cecil Forbes, who claims he was planted with crack by PC Chitty.
  • Val Howell, who claims she was planted with crack by DC Peter McCulloch.
  • Mohamadou Njie, who claims he was fitted up by PC Chitty and DC McCulloch for intent to supply crack.


THIS month’s appeals against false drug convictions attracted extensive media coverage. But while the media focused on the appeal decision, it ignored the other people who have been wrongly convicted – despite having been given detailed briefings by HCDA. HCDA’s role in getting cases to the Appeal Court was mentioned in some TV and radio reports but over-looked in every national newspaper except The Guardian. If the group had not unrolled its banner outside the Appeal Court on 2 March, it would have been shunted aside altogether.

The media likes to portray passive victims rather than people fighting back, and overlooks the fact that Ida Oderinde, Rennie Kingsley and others are centrally involved in HCDA. We have moved on from being just victims and it’s time the press caught up.

The media has also ignored HCDA’s call for an independent judicial inquiry. Instead, journalists run around like headless chickens looking for “media-friendly” sources such as Diane Abbott and Liberty.

And as ever, the police are given their usual platform. The recent appeals were portrayed as hampering the efforts of Stoke Newington Chief Superintendent Niall Mulvihill and his “incorruptible” officers to get drugs off the streets of Hackney.

Whenever the media chooses to report on a subject, it treats it as an isolated incident, hardly worth its interest. The media rushes to respond to “topical” issues and overlooks the problems we face in the community.

The media comes and goes and leaves us to deal with the problems. Journalists focus on law and order to the exclusion of all else — including the unemployment and poverty that fuel crime.

HCDA uncovers web of corruption
HCDA believes that a core of at least 13 officers have been at the centre of police crime in Hackney. One is in jail and three are suspended on full pay. Another, Sergeant Gerrard Carroll, shot himself on 29 January 1992 — the day when eight officers were transferred. But most of the suspect 13 are still on the beat.

DC Roy Lewandowski is serving 18 months for stealing from the house of Hackney manslaughter victim David Berman. In February, the two men convicted of killing Berman — James Blake and Francis Hart — had their convictions quashed. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor, said Lewandowski’s evidence was “rotten”. Lewandowski’s antics prompted the setting up of Scotland Yard’s corruption Inquiry, Operation Jackpot, in 1991, after jailed crack dealer Pearl Cameron revealed that Lewandowski was her supplier.

There is a danger that senior officers will focus accusations on Lewandowski and a few others in order to let the rest off the hook. Yet most of the suspect 13 appear in several HCDA cases. Even the Crown Prosecution Service is reluctant to prosecute drug cases brought by Stoke Newington police. On 4 January, it dropped five cases because of doubts about police evidence. In three of them, PC Terrence Chitty, one of our 13, was a key witness.

The extent of police crime suggests senior officers know about it and either condone it or cannot control junior officers. HCDA knows of officers forging each other’s signatures, bypassing the system controlling the issue of notebooks, leaving relations with informers unsupervised, and flouting complaints procedures.

Police crime in Hackney requires an independent judicial inquiry. Drug dealing, theft and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice are criminal offences — whoever commits them. Those officers who have wrecked people’s lives and gained from corruption should be punished as criminals.

Police lawlessness has set back the fight against other forms of crime in a poor working-class area. A public examination will be able to propose changes to improve society’s ability to deal with all crime.

The Suspect Thirteen

  1. PS Gerrard Carroll Deceased; involved in six HCDA cases.
  2. PC Mark Carroll Transferred; 10 cases.
  3. PC Terrence Chitty Transferred; 12 cases.
  4. PC Bruce Galbraith Suspended; five cases.
  5. DC Bernard Gillan Transferred; six cases.
  6. DC Paul Goscombe Transferred; five cases; Lewandowski’s partner August 1990.
  7. DC Christopher Hart No action; 12 cases.
  8. DS Graham Lebiond On long-term sick leave; one case; Lewandowski’s partner 1989 and 1990.
  9. DC Roy Lewandowski Convicted of theft; four cases.
  10. DC Barry Lyons Suspended; eight cases.
  11. DC Peter McCulloch Transferred; seven cases; Lewandowski’s assistant in Blake and Hart false convic-tions.
  12. DC Ronald Palumbo Suspended; 14 cases.
  13. DS Robert Watton Transferred; four cases.

Centre unites local campaigns

THE Colin Roach Centre, set up by Hackney Community Defence Association and the Trade Union Support Unit, opened on 12 January.

The opening marked the tenth anniversary of Colin Roach’s fatal shooting in the foyer of Stoke Newington police station. Roach’s father unveiled a plaque, and then more than 350 people joined the fifth annual We Remember march to commemorate those who have suffered or died in police custody. A wreath was laid outside Stoke Newington police station.

Ten years ago, Colin Roach’s death prompted a vigorous campaign supported by trade unionists and community groups. The new centre represents the coming together of these two strands of resistance.

HCDA and the Trade Union Support Unit have worked closely for five years. When new premises were needed, they decided to combine resources. But the centre also aims to reach beyond these groups and develop campaigning organisations to fight all attacks on working-class people.

The centre has formed an anti-fascist collective and an anti-corruption campaign, and is home to Hackney’s Miners Support Committee. It holds regular discussions, video events, produces the bi-monthly Hackney Heckler newsletter, and holds surgeries to advise on issues such as squatting and the council tax.

If you would like to get involved in any of these activities or want to set up a new campaign, contact HCDA on 071 249 0193 or TUSU on 071 249 8086.

Membership of the Colin Roach Centre is £5 a month waged (with reductions for low waged), and £1 a month unwaged.

The Colin Roach Centre, 10a Bradbury Street, London N16 &IN.


VICTIMISED local council workers last month started a campaign to challenge council corruption.

Hackney Anti-Corruption Campaign plans an in-depth investigation into corruption allegations. It is backed by HCDA and the Trade Union Support Unit, and based at the Colin Roach Centre. Most Hackney residents know corruption is rampant, but feel powerless to stop it. The Labour and Conservative parties are not fighting corruption — their main interest is in attacking workers.

Hackney is one of Europe’s poorest regions. The black market economy fuels corruption. Textile sweatshops avoid VAT and pay refugees low wages; police officers are involved in organised crime; and a Labour Party mafia, including some councillors, senior council officers and trade union officers, runs a £300 million empire. Meanwhile, the Hackney Gazette stifles public debate.

If you have any information, please contact HACC on 071 249 8086 or 071 249 0193.

Sandringham Road E8 1983

Some amateur and unique footage of black youths hanging out on “The Frontline”.

Part one includes some police-community relations including an arrest at 6:40 and a cop getting lumped at 7:05 – after which his helmet is used as football.

Part two is a bit more relaxed and includes a visit at 5:58 from reggae royalty Dennis Brown (of “Money In My Pocket” fame).

More context about the policing and community of Sandringham Road available in Hackney Community Defence Association’s “Fighting The Lawmen”.

There’s an audio guide to Sandringham Road as part of A Hackney Autobiography.

Hackney Heckler issue 8, May 1991


All across the borough creepy crawly cockroaches are causing horror for council tenants. Coming out in the dead of night from nooks and crannies in walls and under floor-boards, devouring any food in sight and leaving their sickly sweet smell wherever they crawl. Some tenants have collected them by the bag full to prove to sceptical council officers of their abundance.

Why is it Hackney and not Hampstead these bugs choose to bug we ask? The answer’s plain — sweeping cuts in services, from rubbish collection through to general maintenance are fast turning our estates into slums: a cockroaches’ paradise. The foolish and pathetic bunch of incompetents who are running our council don’t have a clue what it’s like trying to get the most basic of repairs done to our homes. Not surprising really when the majority of them don’t live on estates but own their own homes on the poshest streets in the borough. Cockroaches may be a problem but they don’t bug as half as much as a council so spineless and corrupt as Hackney’s got. With their readiness to impose the Poll Tax without a whimper leading to huge cuts in services, they’ve abandoned any pretence of being “the caring council”. Caring to them means keeping their jobs, balancing the books and toeing the Tory line.

Oxford Dictionary: (n) scavengers by nature, cockroaches are a threat to health because of their predilection for drains, sewers and rubbish. They inevitably foul more food than they eat, leaving a trail of excreta and regurgitated material.

But people aren’t being conned so easily. Thousands of tenants are already refusing to pay rent because of inefficient services. This could be extended to an organised rent strike to unite all those who are really sick to death of the council’s mismanagement.

Woodberry Down tenants had the right idea when after years of living without a decent rubbish collection, they got together for a mass dump of rubbish right outside their area housing office. We’d like to suggest a councillors’ front garden next time! A council tenant in Brent who had cockroaches took her council to court and got over £5000 of rent arrears dismissed, setting a legal precedent to anyone with a similar problem to do the same. But in the short term we suggest anyone who has problems with vermin or pests such as cockroaches, slip them in an envelope or parcel and post them off to our present Chair of Housing, Linda Hibberd, for inspection. She lives at the swanky 6 Oakfield Lodge, 37 Kenninghall Road, E5 which, as you can guess, is a far cry from a council flat in Hackney.


• Hubble bubble, toil and trouble! The council embark on their audit this month after being forced to do so by the ombudsman. After three years of creative accounting, McCafferty and Co. will need copious amounts of whitewash to cover their tracks and we eagerly await, the lame excuses, the stern denials and the realisation that public funds have mysteriously disappeared. The report will be ready later this month, so watch this space for further developments.

• When Hitler invaded Poland, first thing he did was seize government records. These details gave him ready access to where the Jewish community were living, and many met their deaths quicker because these documents were available. Consider this before giving any information on the census or any state forms. As part of their policy for some kind of United States of Europe, they want everyone to carry identity cards after 1992. No doubt Poll Tax registrations and census had that in mind too.

• Hackney Council chiefs recently put the “loony” firmly back onto the “left” over women’s issues. First, their campaign to get women to report harassment while using LBH Leisure Services’ pools, gyms, libraries, etc….now there’s nothing wrong there….trouble is it’s all hypocrisy because the women (and men) actually working in Leisure Services are regularly harassed — and generally treated like shit — by LBH managers, to which the trendy “Women’s Committee” turns a blind eye. Then there’s the Department of Technical and Construction Services’ banning of patronising words like “love”, “darling”, etc. What nonsense! Offensiveness is just that, whatever the words used. Middle class managers can get away with it by hiding their sexism beneath “correct English” and slimy smiles. Meanwhile, I.BH pretends it defends women — yet evicts homeless mothers!

• Labour councillor Martin O’Connor was spotted recently jumping a bus queue. That’s right, he was last one at the stop, first one on the bus. How’s that for socialism?


In their well publicised campaign to rid the borough of squatters for 1992, McCafferty and Co. have recently shown yet again that when it serves their purposes, they’re more than willing to bend and even break not only the law of the land, but also their own council policies.

Council documents leaked to us reveal the Director of Housing’s written policy is to not evict those in “priority housing need”, yet that’s just what they did on 26th April in their dawn raid evictions on Holmleigh Road Estate, Stamford Hill. Of the 10 households evicted that day, the council had to rehouse 4 of them elsewhere. Further evictions were prevented only when construction union UCATT workers walked off, refusing to carry on doing the councils’ dirty work.

Housing Services Chair Linda Hibberd later told the ‘Hackney Gazette’ “We have not evicted squatters who have high priorities, such as those with medical reasons or children, and those families that were evicted have all been rehoused”. A fine piece of double-talk indeed Linda! During these evictions, the whole estate was awakened at dawn and van-loads of cops stood around all day, so that the housing managers could feel they were safe from the angry residents surrounding them.

How much did this fiasco cost? Why didn’t they let those people stay and spend the money making empty flats liveable? Hackney Council is still leaving 1400 of our flats unoccupied. We say NO EVICTIONS — FILL THE EMPTIES FIRST!

Know Your Rights — if you’re threatened with eviction or need any other advice on squatting, you can phone the Advisory Service for Squatters, weekdays between 2pm and 6pm on 071-359 8814.


Kingsmead Estate
Homerton E9

Dear Hackney Heckler,

After receiving the last two issues of the Hackney Heckler, I just had to write and tell you what a breath of fresh air it is. Like a lot of people, I was getting sick to death of Militant and the SWP claiming responsibility for beating the Poll Tax, closely followed by Labour Party stalwarts who feel we ought to vote Kinnock because he isn’t a Tory. They all know in their hearts that it was the ordinary people that forced Major and Co. to radically alter their handiwork.

I just hope the momentum and thought stirred up by this lousy piece of legislation will carry on into other areas of social injustice. I’m fed up with cuts in services, I’m fed up with bad administration and I’m fed up with lame excuses. Hackney is a dump, but it needn’t be. The area is alive with talent, it has a network of people committed to making things better and, if you don’t mind me saying so, it has a voice in the form of your paper. You are the only people who haven’t tried to tell me it was all your idea, and I appreciate thathonesty.

Yours Sincerely, Ray.


Hackney Council likes to boast that it is a bastion of equal opportunities. But, as so often with this council, there is much difference between reality and rhetoric. So womens’ rights are upheld by this council? Like the right of women in the Labour Party who refuse to attend meetings where Tommy Sheppard (the Deputy Leader) is present due to his sexual harassment? And the right of women to have nursery places for their kids? The Victorian Grove nursery (60 places) has been closed; the Ann Taylor Centre (50 places) has not been opened — yet the queue on the waiting list for nursery places is two and a half years long!

On top of this, the fees at the councils’ workplace nursery are going up by an average of 75%. This shouldn’t bother the Chief Executive of the Council, Gerry White, who has one of the precious 50 places — he’s only on a mere £60,000+ a year. This council is run for the benefit of its careerist councillors and greedy fat cat managers. Workers and residents are at the bottom of the pile and they don’t give a toss about us. We’ve got little to lose… they’ve got everything — how about kicking them out for starters?


A curious thing happened in March. For a few days, every time the news was on and in every newspaper, we had the likes of Dame Jill Knight practically encouraging unmarried women to have sex — unprotected sex at that.

The fuss was about a single women in her thirties, who had gone to the London Hospital in Whitechapel and asked for artificial insemination so she could have a child alone. This Hackney woman was not only unmarried, but celibate. As the mainstream media dubbed the episode — there was to be a virgin birth.

The issue was her virginity, but as a Birmingham fertility clinic doctor summed it up, “Are virgins something special? It’s as if there’s something wrong with being a virgin!”

For most women, the state of virginity is not a big thing. Our lives don’t become earth-shatteringly different after our first sexual event. Women still have to do most of the housework, control their fertility, and work for two-thirds of the money men get, whatever’s going on in the bedroom or the car or cinema. But this society tells men that virginity is the physical equivalent of being brand new, and along with all the other trappings of consumer society, is a highly desirable object to possess.

The heart of the matter was that men were being hit where it hurts — made redundant. This feeling was whipped up by the papers, like in the Daily Mail’s article on production line babies without men getting a look in. But a virgin birth wasn’t quite what was going on: there are no pregnancies without male involvement, even if through the cold pricks of hospital syringes. That apparent lack of men having full-blown sex was what was getting them hot under the collar!

The controversy linked sex with a man to being essential for a woman to be a good mother. Alongside lesbians, single celibate women wanting children were called irresponsible, inadequate and selfish — exactly the labels the media usually lavishes on single mothers by natural insemination. These so-called irresponsible potential mothers had clearly thought about the consequences of their actions. Yet again, women appearing to make rational decisions about their own bodies threw the media into panic.

We believe that a child should be wanted, have a secure home and be loved — but that none of these things have anything to do with a person’s sexual activity.

So they’ve scrapped the Poll Tax. It’s a great victory for us.

‘s something to celebrate — and it’s always a good laugh seeing politicians get stuffed. But we’ve still got the bills, the cuts and other problems. We should take heart from the Poll Tax and learn some lessons: basically, we don’t have to take crap. We can fight it and win! So stuff the Poll Tax and the cuts — we want good local services based on our needs. Latest leaks from the council’s Poll Tax Office (it makes a sieve look secure!) are that 33% haven’t paid a penny of the Poll Tax and only 65% of the total has been collected.

The geniuses who run this council said 95% would be collected —just goes to show what planet they’re living on! Bailiffs Rayner Ferrar have pulled out of Hackney, claiming details on the Poll Tax register are 80% incorrect, making it impossible to collect any debts. But the truth is Rayner Ferrar were driven out of Hackney by local people. Since they started demanding money with menaces, they have found the resistance here too much to handle. They have been picketed, followed, threatened, physically attacked and their cars have been vandalised. Dogs have been set on them, baseball bats waved at them and groin injuries issued. Since saying bye-bye to Rayner Ferrar, Hackney Council confirm they intend replacing them. Meanwhile, we must remember tactics used on these para-sites and maybe we should practise our new found skills on councillors or even McRat himself.
Hackney Heckler is a bi-monthly, free . news-sheet pro-duced by the HACKNEY SOLIDARITY GROUP.
• We all live or work in the borough and are sick of what we see around us. That’s the aim of the Heckler: to encourage struggle for a decent life for all. We welcome contributions, do-nations, reports and help with distribution (we currently get rid of 10,000).
• What’s happening on your estate? Which councillors are corrupt? Who’s the worst boss in Hackney?
• Write to us at Hackney Heckler, c/o PO Box 824, London, N1 9DL. Our next issue will be July 1991.


Too often in this world we forget to talk about love. We are surrounded and swamped by pressures that drive us into depression and frustration.

Good times
But it is good to remember why we are actually here, what is the point of our existence. We’re not here to be obedient workers and quiet consumers. We’re here to have a good time, to enjoy our-selves, to have a laugh, to have a smile. Basically, our lives should be about pleasure not pain! Of course, this is denied by those who stand above us. As far as they’re concerned, we’re nothing more than workers and consumers — and occasionally soldiers to die in their wars. And their idea of pleasure is always at someone else’s expense because they want to ensure that we remain divided… and so ruled! But there is a different reality to this. There’s the reality of the helping hand, the friendly smile, the shared laugh, the warmth of human companionship. This is the reality that we want and it’s a reality that we see glimpses of all the time in our daily lives.

Real enemies
Often, struggling together helps to bring this reality out. Artificial divisions disappear as we realise that our basic interests are the same — and we realise who our real enemies are. We talk to each other a lot more and the crap that normally fills our lives is seen as being utterly irrelevant. But this doesn’t mean that we just wait for a struggle. We’ve got to start now. We’ve got to fight for our reality against theirs. We’ve got to free our immense abilities from the chains imposed on us.

All of this might sound weird — but look at it realistically. We have the potential to completely change the way we live, to replace hate with love, fear with care: we’ve got nothing to lose but our chains!

PDF version available here.

Report From Hackney, 1980

Published by Policy Studies Institute, 1980.

62 pages.

A survey of just under 1000 people in the Borough in 1979, focusing primarily on housing, (un)employment, crime, race/immigration etc.

Some choice quotes:

The story is not one of unrelieved gloom. The people of Hackney are as energetic as they are friendly, as immensely varied in their origins as in their present way of life. Many of the buildings are dreary, never their inhabitants.


[…] almost every great act of intolerance in Europe, or elsewhere, has had its repercussions in Hackney, from the persecution of Huguenots in France, the suppression of the Basques in Spain, the pogroms against the Jews in Russia to the victimisation of the opponents of Idi Amin. The incomers have all contributed to the vitality of the borough. They have often arrived in the south of it and moved northwards, and sometimes right out of it, as their circumstances have improved. The three latest waves of migration have been of West Indians in the 1950s and 1960s, of the Asians from East Africa and the Indian sub-continent in the 1960s and 1970s and of Turkish and Greek Cypriots in the 1970s.

People have clearly gone on being attracted to Hackney as a place in which to live. More than three out of every four people in our sample – 77 per cent have moved into the borough since birth. Nearly one out of every two – 46 per cent – came in from other parts of London or Britain, some brought in by their parents but most as a matter of choice.


[…] In spite of the gulf the women felt between their way of life and some of their neighbours, neither of them supported the National Front.

Mary: ‘Someone near here has been vicitmised. He’s had NF painted on his door, he’s had paint and rubbish thrown.’

Janice: ‘He’s a nice man, he’s a doctor in fact. I don’t know why they pick on him. I mean, he heals their wounds, so why should they?’

Mary: ‘The Front are nut cases. Once they start on about the blacks, say the blacks all go, the Asians all go, right? Next thing you know it’s the Jews. Then it’ll be the Irish, then the Catholics. As far as I know, unless you’re white, English and Protestant, you’re out. That the way they see it.’

Gentrification, 1970s style

One quarter of those in our sample who had arrived in the last five years were in the professional managerial class […] Another young single woman lived with four others like her, all members of the women’s movement and consumers of health foods […] the areas where professional people are most in evidence are De Beauvoir Town, Victoria Park and parts of Stoke Newington.

Fewer of the people in the professional and managerial class wanted to leave Hackney than in any other occupational class […] The reasons they had moved into Hackney are obvious enough: cheaper houses near to the centre than in many parts of London. Several of them also appreciated the combination of an old house to live in and the presence nearby of working-class people. Insofar as they were politically minded they tended to be of the left.

[…] Their arrival has, of course, not been welcome to everybody. They have taken over some of the most desirable housing in the borough, and pushed up houses prices beyond the reach of some local people who might otherwise have been able to buy. […]


There has been, and is, much poverty in Hackney. An enquiry in 1971 showed that the average household income was lower than in any other London borough.


People had many different grievances on this score and we cannot do more than give an impression of them, partly because they varied so much. In a furnished flat or room the complaint was often enough about the rent. In an unfurnished flat it could be about the lack of a bathroom (There are still some 14,000 households in Hackney which do not have exclusive use of bath, hot water and an inside W.C.). In Council flats, where most of the people lived, it all depended on the flat.

A nation grievously divided between poverty and affluence will never survive. If Mr Heseltine thinks that areas like Hackney do not need special help he should first come to Hackney to spend a night on one of its housing estates.

Hackney Heckler issue 7, March 1991


On March 31st last year 200,000 people marched through central London against the poll tax. One year on, over 10 million people haven’t paid a penny of their poll tax and many millions more have only paid a bit. Most of us see what the poll tax was meant to be — less money in our pockets! But it has come to mean much more: a focus for all our discontents — inflated prices in the shops, cuts in health, education and social services, job losses, the government, the police. and so on. . .

Last Straw
For many the poll tax is the last straw. We were promised that the 1980s were to be the “boom years”, that we would all “get richer together”. The rich did get richer — but the rest of us have seen little of this supposed “prosperity”. The 1980s were an extended con-trick. Those who believed the propaganda and bought their homes were never told about the hidden extras — rocketing interest rates, repossessions, etc. The rest of us have faced constant rent increases, while repairs stayed unrepaired! Services were supposedly made more “efficient” by privatisation — we’ve just seen less of them… apart from increased bills.

Poll tax protestors

But it’s not all doom and gloom. The fight against the poll tax shows that we don’t have to take things lying down. After a year of mass non-payment and resistance, the government is promising reforms — and they had to dump Thatcher! So a Prime Minister got the chop and they’re now talking of change. But we’ve still got the poll tax, a Prime Minister, and a Gulf War — there’s lots more needs changing!

This March there will be another huge demonstration against the poll tax: a chance to show them that we still don’t want it — new model, old model, it’s just the same! And a chance to show them what we think about everything else they’ve thrown at us! But ordinary people are rightly cynical — just demonstrating doesn’t bring about change. We’ve got to go beyond their limits: why just stop on the Saturday? What about returning on the Sunday, going on strike on the Monday. . . the only limit is our imagination. We shouldn’t stop where they want us to — we should only stop once we’ve won!


Very soon government snoopers will be asking us to fill in the 1992 census and give them details of who we are, what we do, how old we are, and so on. What business has the government got sticking its nose into our personal affairs, and why should we help people who ride on our backs? We’re not filling the form in, and suggest you don’t either. Tell Big Brother where to get off!

Jazz FM wisely decided to sack their top DJ Giles Peterson after he had the cheek to play peace songs and mention an anti-war rally on his show: obviously the subversive was intent on undermining the war to “Free Kuwait”. Also, thank the Lord, those sensible people at the BBC have banned records like “Give Peace A Chance” and “Walk Like An Egyptian”. After all, the battle to “Free Kuwait”, where a whole 6% of the men and none of the women have the vote, means we shouldn’t take liberties with our own freedom.

There’s going to be a massive anti-war get down on Saturday 16th March at the Triangle on Farleigh Road (N16). Lined up are five bands, including One Style and Bush House, 4 DJs — and there’s a late licence to 3am. It’s only £3.50/£3.00 to get in and kick-off is at 8pm: one not to be missed! There’s also a disco/karoake night at the Rose and Crown (on Mare Street) on Friday 29th March to celebrate one year of the “Hackney Heckler”. Finally, the new “HSG Bulletin”, our theoretical and practical magazine, has just come out — send 50p to HSG, PO Box 824, London, Ni 9DL.

Anti-Fascist Action have a picket-demo against the continuing Nazi presence in Brick Lane. Meet at Whitechapel tube 10am sharp on Sunday 17th March.


The nomination for the worst boss in Hackney must undoubtedly go to Captain Ahab Muldoon of the Hackney Empire.

Over the past four years the crew of this great ship have worked, slaved, sweated and yes even cried so that his vessel stayed afloat. Conditions on board were and still are draconian, with employment rights salty to the taste. Equal Opportunities are met with a nod and a wink — aye aye captain. If the crew organised for meetings, Captain Muldoon would throw tantrums, threatening to put everyone in irons or throw them overboard. Captain Muldoon has been responsible for the loss of a number of crew members. Most resigned, three of them mangers; the rest were sacked. These crew members weren’t allowed a fair hearing, whether to voice their grievances or to defend themselves from false accusations.

On his lone quest of self-gratification and heroism Captain Muldoon forgets two important facts. Who built the Empire to what it is now? And whose money keeps it afloat? Admiral Hajira Khote (chair of Hackney Leisure Committee) along with kiss me councillor Tommy Sheppard hands out our money, £25,000 of it, with a chorus of yo ho ho and another bottle of rum. No doubt councillors drinking in the Empire after hours helps with the grant. The Hackney Empire belongs to the people of Hackney and everyone wants to see it sail on, but without a megalomaniac at the helm. If it doesn’t change captain now, then the Jolly Roger will continue to fly from its mast.


Dear Heckler I am at present squatting in the Trowbridge Estate. Although this is the first time that I have had to resort to such action, I find that there is little option when it comes to finding some-where to live.

On this estate the council are evicting squatters, and sending workers to the now empty flat to devastate it by taking out electrics, water supply, etc. How much do you think it costs to send people to do this vandalism, and who do you think is paying for it? It seems wasteful to me when a council property is squatted by people who truly want to live there, and then for that same council to evict them, making the place uninhabitable, so that nobody can live there. I charge the council with gross misuse of public funding, criminal negligence and being a pack of pompous, misunderstanding, stupidly arrogant fools.


Crowds at football matches have consistently gone down since the war, when attendances were twice as high. Ordinary fans are treated with contempt by those who run the game. The latest idea of all-seater stadiums has been around for years, the argument being that it would deter hooliganism; but this argument was totally discredited by the emergence of hooligans in seats.

Since Hillsboro’, where people were crushed to death when overcrowded into a small area of terracing by the police, they argue that seats will be safer. They weren’t saying this after Bradford, where people in the seats died in a fire a few years ago. Most people prefer to stand, but the people who run the game want more money from fewer fans, for football to go up-market, pricing out ordinary fans who don’t want to sit down in uncomfortable seats and pay more.

Spurs built more seats and executive boxes, bought top players like Gazza and Lineker — everything to please the experts, and are going bust! Ordinary fans are allowed no say in the way football is run, and the people running football are ruining it. Crowds are likely to decrease further while the game is run by an out-of-touch rich minority.


On 16th January war started in the Gulf. It is impossible to know how many people have been slaughtered but it is definitely tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands. Parts of Iraq and Kuwait have been reduced to rubble. The human costs of this war can only grow, despite all their promises of a short war. Saddam Hussein received military aid from the western powers throughout the 70s and 80s. This was because he was acting in their interests in keeping the lid of working class struggle in the Gulf. But when Saddam invaded Kuwait the world’s most hated copper, America, put its foot down and got up a large army under the UN banner to show Saddam who his boss was.

The Home-front
In Britain the government has been using the war to turn the screw on us, the working class. 7,500 hospital beds have been set aside for war-wounded from a Health Service which already has a two year waiting list for essential operations. It’s not that we’d begrudge the young squaddies a hospital bed, but why can’t they commandeer private hospitals? In Hackney 150 empty council flats have been set aside for families to visit injured soldiers in London hospitals while Hackney Council prepares to evict hundreds of families in the borough in an attack on “squatters”. We give our blood in their war and they still want more.

Sabotage the war effort

The best way we can support our boys and girls in the Gulf is to stop the war. (World War One ground to a halt as a result of uprisings in Russia, Hungary, Germany, Ireland, Britain and elsewhere.) We can organise against the war drive in our work-places and on the streets. We must speak out against the false patriotism that sends our relatives and friends to their graves in a bosses’ war. All our lives we are offered empty choices: in this case the Iraqi ruling class or that of the West.

There’s a different choice — a war to end all wars — THE CLASS WAR!!

In the interests of popular participation in the democratic process the Hackney Poll Tax Office have informed us of the home addresses and phone numbers of the directors of Rayner Ferrar & Co, the bailiffs firm used by Hackney Council: David Westley lives at 51 Ladygate Lane, Ruislip, Middlesex, HA4 (tel 0895 632983) and Anthony Downsett lives at 44 The Spinney, Chesham, Bucks (tel 0494 771335). Thanks for the in-formation!

The Poll Tax Office also inform us that the council are very worried that even more people aren’t going to pay next year either. People are seeing that the only way to stop it is not to pay it. You know it makes sense, as they say! The next national demonstration against the poll tax is going to be on Saturday 23rd March, starting from the Embankment at noon. It should be a good chance to show the council and the government that they can stuff the poll tax where it belongs — in the dustbin of history. Another present from the council (on top of the poll tax) is that come April rents are going up. Considering the state most council places are in, they’ve got a nerve charging rent at all, let alone putting it up. As Hamlet would have said (had he lived in a council place in Hackney) “to pay or not to pay, that is the question”.

Sabotage the war effort

Hackney Heckler is a bi-monthly, free news-sheet produced by the HACKNEY SOLIDARITY GROUP.

We all live or work in the Borough and are sick of what we see around us. That’s the aim of the Heckler: to encourage struggle for a decent life for all. We welcome contributions, do-nations, reports and help with distribution (we currently get rid of 10,000).

What’s happening on your estate? Which councillors are corrupt? Who’s the worst boss in Hackney?

Write to us at Hackney Heckler, PO Box 824. London, Ni 9DL. Our next issue will be May 1991.


What’s the difference between a Rottweiler and a social worker? It’s easier to get your kids back from a Rottweiler.

But what’s the difference between a bogus social worker and a real one? You get more visits from a bogus social worker.

Social Services is one of the main areas that have been cut back due to cuts in funding from Westminster but we don’t think this is a major tragedy. The only job social workers do in Hackney is “child protection”, commonly known as kid snatching. Do they focus on children because they are genuinely concerned about their welfare? The main reason why the state “protects” children is because they are the next generation of workers and they need them to do crap jobs. Social workers are supposed to help people suffering from mental distress, elderly people and disabled people. But what can they offer with so little money from Hackney council? The best they can manage is a home help, meals on wheels and “a little rest” down Hackney Hospital.

No begging
We can do without begging at Social Services and explaining our needs in front of the waiting-room audience. We don’t need social workers gently tapping on our doors telling us how to run our lives. Social workers usually haven’t got a clue how we live.

What we need is decent homes with affordable rents and the right to live there as long as we choose. We need enough money not just to survive but to enjoy life. We need to be able to live in the type of families we want, not just Oxo cube families.

We do need control of our lives and support from each other so if something goes wrong, we can get some help to sort it out. Social workers are just another way the state divides us by telling us society is all right, it’s us who are the problem. This is not true. Social workers think that anyone who doesn’t live in a “normal” family is deviant even though 54% of the British population don’t live in “nuclear” families.

Anti-social workers only work on the symptoms of living in this society and do not want to change it. This “Caring Profession” is really a CONTROLLING profession.

PDF version available here.

Hackney Poll Tax Riot, March 1990

Did you know that Hackney had its own Poll Tax Riot, a few weeks before the Trafalgar Square one?

Early Day Motion from Diane Abbott in Parliament:

“That this House notes the urban disorder that took place in Hackney on Thursday 8th March, that at least 38 people were arrested and there was violence and looting and that the people of Hackney are united in condemning the disorder and looting; but further notes that the blame for this disorder ultimately lies with the Government and its unjust poll tax; notes that very large numbers of Hackney residents will not be able to pay this tax; and further notes that in the matter of the poll tax the people of Hackney know who the real Urban Terrorist is.”

Another view:

(was Ian Bone discussing the riot)

Prime Minsiter Margaret Thatcher was asked about the riot the next day when visiting Glasgow:


Prime Minister, ITN. Can I just ask you, if I may, your reaction to the events last night in Hackney?



I’m afraid it’s one of a series which we know are being organised by Militant, as you know. And it is not the way to conduct affairs at all. In a democracy the way is to debate in Parliament, the legislation has been through Parliament, and anything that is intimidatory or violent is absolutely flatly contradictory to democracy. People can demonstrate, of course they can. They should do so peacefully. But they are of course tending to go for some of the councils that are setting very high community charges, as a result of Labour Councils, and some of them … [inaudible] … very very high charges indeed. So they have got something to grouse about, but the way to do it is complain quietly.

Hackney Community Defence Association published A People’s Account of the Hackney Anti-Poll Tax Demonstration on March 8th 1990. This is one of the many things I don’t have that I would like to add to the site.


Community Defence, undated (summer 1992?)


The most serious case of corruption in the Metropolitan Force in 20 years. That’s how one of New Scotland Yard’s top cops anonymously described the scandal at Stoke Newington Police Station. The Yard’s anti-corruption squad, CIB2, has been running a high level inquiry into allegations of drug dealing and planting at the North London “Supernick” for more than a year. “Operation Jackpot” – as the police call their investigation – was set up following the arrest of a Stoke Newington PC, Roy Lewindowski, who has been charged with theft and VAT fraud.

The six strong “Jackpot” team have tapped the telephones of officers under investigation, and taken hundreds of statements about corruption and malpractice. They are thought to be investigating more than a dozen officers up the rank of sargeant. Scotland Yard claim that the inquiry has led to the transfer of eight officers and leaks from Stoke Newington revealed that 27 disciplinary notices had been served at the “supernick” .

In addition to the arrest of Lewindowski, two officers have been suspended. DC Ronald Palumbo and PC Bruce Galbraith were suspended in June, after both had featured in media reports about the scandal and Palumbo had been named by in Parliament by Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Brian Sedgemore.

The MP also named PS Gerry Carroll, formerly a custody officer at Stoke Newington, who shot himself dead with a police firearm after his mysterious transfer to Barkingside Station. Sedgemore claimed that Carroll was involved in organised crime.

But HCDA has been running its own independent inquiry into the scandal. We have discovered that at least 19 officers involved in drugs operations at Stoke Newington up to a year and a half ago are no longer serving at the station. HCDA is investigating more than 30 drug plants stretching back to May 1989. The cases involve more than 40 officers up to the rank of inspector.

Many of those who have approached us have independently made similar allegations against a core of about a dozen officers. HCDA has uncovered evidence that police officers:

  • were supplying drugs to as many as four street level dealers selling in the Sandringham Road area from late 1989 onwards.
  • were protecting their dealers by warning them about police anti-drug operations.
  • took out anybody they suspected of competing with their dealers, sometimes by planting them with drugs.
  • covered their drug dealing activities by claiming that their dealers were police informers.

There is no way of knowing how many people have been planted with drugs by Stoke Newington Police over the past three years, but the “Jackpot Team” are investigating more than one hundred complaints, and it is certain that many of those planted would not have bothered making an official complaint. One officer was making up to £2000 per week from the racket, and one of the dealers that police were supplying was selling up to 30 rocks of crack a day.


A report of the HCDA investigation into the Stoke Newington police drugs scandal AVAILABLE FROM THE HCDA OFFICE Price &2.00 (inc P+P)


H.C.D.A. has recently completed negotiations on the shared rental of four offices and a meeting room. The coming together of H .C .D. A. with other organisations has allowed us to continue with our campaigning. The Family Center, our location for four years, has been closed and will be demolished. The as-yet unnamed center will become an independent community center offering unique facilities for people in Hackney. To enable the center to succeed it needs the support of the community, it needs to be used. Advice sessions and social events are planned. The meeting room is available for hire. An official opening is proposed for September 1, with a public meeting to launch a membership of supporters. All progressive people are invited.


Police tactics against squatters in Hackney have been dealt a ‘double whammy’ by a recent series of court cases. A total of six people were acquitted of charges resulting from two raids on squatters parties in a recent series of trials, which saw police accounts of the incidents clearly discredited.

The raids, on Chat’s Palace in March 1991 and the Neville Arms earlier this year, both saw clashes provoked by the police, and a large number of arrests. They are part of a continuing police attempt to criminalise squatters in Hackney.

At Chat’s Palace, police were called to a benefit gig for Poll Tax prisoners by the venue management when a fight broke out. They arrived half-an-hour later, by which time the incident had long finished. There were scuffles as they entered the venue at around midnight, but the most serious charges resulted from arrests some time later.

A group of three people were charged with obstruction and violent disorder after a bottle was allegedly thrown at police. PC Hargreaves told a bemused jury that officers were called to a disturbance at an anti-Poll Tax meeting, and arrived only to be immediately attacked by participants in a spontaneous demonstration. The raid took place on the eve of the anniversary march against Poll Tax through Trafalgar Square, and all those arrested were held in custody until after the demonstration was over.

At the time, squatters groups and anti-Poll Tax campaigners referred to this tactic as internment. Cases are still coming up from the Neville Arms raid, but the precedent set by the one trial so far is good. A charge of assaulting police was dismissed by magistrates at Highbury after even they couldn’t bring themselves to believe PC Andrew Thomas’ account of how the defendent had spat at him through the open window of a car from over 20 feet away. PC Thomas also gave unconvincing evidence to the jury in the Chat’s Palace bottle throwing trial. Despite serious anomalies in police evidence, the case were only won by careful preparation – tracing witnesses, taking statements and piecing together a coherent account of the events leading up to the arrests.


On March 19th 1992 Mrs Marie Burke, a Black woman in her 70’s, was awarded £50 000 damages by a Croydon jury against the police.

Mrs Burke and her husband Edgar took out a joint civil action against the police. The award was without doubt a victory, however it needs to be seen in the context of the whole case. The victory was widely reported in the national press.

What they did not report was how the Metropolitan Police conducted their defence against Mr and Mrs Burke’ s civil action for trespass, assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. Nor did they report on how Mr Burke lost his civil action and how Mrs Burke nearly lost hers.

The Facts

This was the first case taken up by HCDA – on January 15th 1989.

The Burkes’ car had been involved in a minor road traffic accident while being driven by a family friend. Mr Burke, then aged 76, was ill in bed at the time of the accident but Hackney police officers insisted that he had been driving the car. When Mr Burke refused to be breathalysed, he was manhandled out of his home by three police officers and taken to Hackney police station in his underwear.

After five minutes in police custody he was released without being breathalysed and without charge.

During the arrest Mrs Burke, then aged 70, objected to the way in which the police were treating her husband. He is a diabetic and, at his request, she took his tablets and a jug of water out to him in the police van, dressed only in her nightclothes. She didn’t reach the van.

PC Tina Martin wrestled her to the ground where she was held for several minutes. This scene was witnessed by a passer-by. Mrs Burke was arrested and charged with actual bodily harm against Martin. She was held in custody for a little under three hours. She was strip-searched in Hackney police station.

The police dropped the charge against Mrs Burke two days later.

The Hearing

Mr and Mrs Burke’ s civil action was heard in front of an all white jury, most of whom were over 40. The police could not challenge the account presented by Mr and Mrs Burke. Instead they made it into a political trial by ignoring the facts of the case and concentrating the jurors’ minds on “anti-police agitators” in Hackney.

The central plank of the police’ s defence was that the two old aged pensioners, who the jury no doubt felt great sympathy for had “allowed themselves to be used” by Hackney Community Defence Association, whose members were present in the public gallery of the court.

One officer caused consternation in the police ranks when described what had happened in much the sane way as Mr and Mrs Burke. He even said another officer “might have” been pinning Mrs Burke on the ground.

The Findings

The police had a sympathetic jury – white, middle-aged, respectable working and lower middle class people do not want to believe that the public servants who are responsible for their safety go around assaulting OAPs.

The jury were unanimous when rejecting Mr Burke’ s case. They were also unanimous when rejecting most of Mrs Burke’ s claims. However, by seven to one they found in favour of Mrs Burke on five out of ten of her points. They found that she had been assaulted, falsely imprisoned and maliciously prosecuted.

There was a strong element of racism in the jury’s findings. Where it was a straight question of who to believe, two black people or the police, they found in favour of the police. They only found for Mrs Burke because a white passer-by, and middle class at that, witnessed her being pinned to the ground in a most painful way with 28 officers present on the scene. And even then, one juror couldn’t manage to accept that the police had behaved wrongly!

After all this, the jury awarded Mrs Burke £15,000 compensation for having been falsely imprisoned for nearly three hours, £20,000 compensation for having been held on the ground and manhandled and £15,000 compensation for malicious prosecution, despite the fact that the charge had been dropped within 48 hours!

It was as if the jury had felt guilty about what they had done, and made up for it by awarding Mrs Burke vast amounts of money.

Justice Denied

The Croydon jury arrived at a perverse verdict. The police must have wanted to appeal against the amount of damages awarded to Mrs Burke. But, to have done so would have meant that Mr Burke’s case would also be reconsidered. As it stood, the police could claim that the jury had found only one police officer, Tina Martin, to have behaved wrongly, and the other 27 had done nothing wrong at all. The police did not appeal. They must have decided that £50 000, and tens of thousands more in costs was the inflated price of a cover-up.

The Burkes write…

Dear HCDA, I am writing to thank you all for the help and support given to my parents, Mr and Mrs Burke. The pain and humiliation they suffered is impossible to put into words. At the time, they were over 70 years old, they were terrorised in their own home, dragged onto the street, assaulted in full view of the neighbours and then carted off to the police station in their nightclothes.

Then there was the stress of the civil action.During the trial the police tried to make out that my parents were some sort of political activists trying to stir up trouble with HCDA always in the background, telling them what to do. HCDA gave us good advice, helped us deal with our solicitors, and gave us moral and practical support. My parents did not need encouraging or influencing; they wanted justice and compensation in court for their injuries and punishment for the police officers that had assaulted them.

Nothing has happened to the officers that were involved, they are still working in the same way, doing God only knows what to innocent people. We have to get on with the rest of our lives; all we have left is a bitter taste in our mouths.

Yours sincerely,
Annette Monerville.

Readers’ Letters

Dear HCDA, On Thursday 4th June, I read in the Guardian newspaper that group of lawyers, HCDA, and the people that they represent, met with Hackney South and Shoreditch MP Brian Sedgemore to discuss the investigation into corruption at Stoke Newington Police Station. In the report, there was no mention of Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington . Was she present at the meeting? If not, why not? The station is in her constituency, and many of the people who have suffered live there. Was she invited? If not, why not? I would be interested to know if she was asked to the meeting, and if she didn’t come, whether she has explained why.

Yours in solidarity,
Name and Adress withheld at writer’s request.

HCDA replies: Diane Abbott was indeed asked to attend, and in fact her office booked the meeting room in the House of Commons. It is true that many of those whose cases we are trying to get re-opened are her constituents. They are also all black, and for both these reasons we were very disappointed that she did not come.

Up against the law: JUVENILE LAW – Pt.1

Special safeguards exist to protect young people and juveniles from the police. Here, we present an introduction to this important area of the law.

Legally speaking, a young person is anyone between the ages of 17 and 21 and a juvenile is anyone under the age of 16 years.

Stop and search

Police powers to stop young people and juveniles are identical to those for adults. They must have reasonable grounds to suspect that the person ought to be searched for illegal items:

  • stolen property
  • drugs
  • a blade or sharp point
  • an offensive weapon
  • tools which may be used to commit burglary, theft, taking a motor vehicle or for obtaining property by deception.

The police can only conduct a street search in a public place. This means that they cannot come into a school because this is not a place open to the general public. If police officers come to your school to carry out a search without arrest you should ensure that they have the permission of a Headteacher and discover the reasons that the Head has given.

Force can be used to conduct the search. It must be reasonable and used only as a last resort. If the police use force which is excessive you are entitled to defend yourself. The Police will have to justify themselves and show the violence they used was reasonable in all circumstances.

The police have no powers to strip search anyone in a public place. If they want to conduct a strip search they must remove a person to somewhere not in public such as a police van or station.

Every officer carrying out a search must tell the person his name and the police station to which he is attached. He must also give his reasons for his search and say where a copy of the written record of his search cab be obtained. If the officer is not in uniform he must show his warrant card to prove his identity.

Further practical information about the topics listed below – and others – will appear in future issues of Community Defence:

  • Arrest
  • Interviews on arrest
  • Information on arrest
  • At the police station
  • Place of arrest
  • Bail
  • Search on arrest
  • At court

Watch this space!


The Hackney Community Defence Association was set up in the Summer of 1988. It is a self-help group which consists of people who have suffered police injustice. It is an unfunded organisation which survives entirely on donations. All our work is done by volunteers.

Because of the limitations on our resources, we restrict our work to residents of the London Borough of Hackney, or people whose cases involve police officers from one of the Borough’s three stations: City Road, Hackney and Stoke Newington.

We don’t provide victims of police malpractice with a service. We don’t take up people’s cases on their behalf. People who have suffered at the hands of the police play a major part in preparing their own cases, attend our meetings and help support others in the same position. In this way, we work to give victims control over their own case, to overcome their powerlessness against the police and the criminal justice system.

HCDA is a political organisation in this respect, but we are non-party political.
There are three main ways that HCDA supports its members:

We take up the cases of people who have suffered at the hands of the police. We advise people about the different courses of action open to them; and we help them to prepare their case and deal with their lawyers.

Many of our members have been traumatised by their experience of police injustice. HCDA gives support to victims, based on our collective experiences of having suffered at the hands of the police.

We counter police abuse of their powers by raising the issue of police malpractice and violence in public, campaigning for legal reforms and building an independent community organisation which can challenge the power of the police.

1992 has proved to be a turning point for us. Four years of hard work have started to payoff. As a very small independent self help group, we have nevertheless made an important contribution to the debate on policing.

We have responded to our higher profile by holding discussions about how we can increase the involvement of the community in HCDA.

We have set up sub groups dealing with particular aspects of our activities (eg publicity), and launched a membership and affiliation scheme. We hope that everyone who believes in the need for an organisation like HCDA will take advantage of this opportunity to support our work in any way they can.

Membership is divided into three categories:

FULL MEMBERSHIP is open to everyone who supports HCDA’s aims and objectives; pays their membership fees and regularly attends meetings.

ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP is open to everyone who supports HCDA’s aims and objectives and pays their membership fees.

AFFILIATE MEMBERSHIP is open to organisations; solicitors firms; barristers chambers; trade union branches; etc.

All members receive copies of our bulletin ‘Community Defence’. Annual membership fees are as follows:

INDIVIDUALS £5 waged; £2(or less) low/unwaged

ORGANISATIONS £25 local; more for larger groups.

Join HCDA Today!

Hackney Heckler issue 6, January 1991


Labour Council leader John McCafferty sends in the bailiffs to seize the meagre possessions of the poorest people in Hackney who can’t pay the Poll Tax. “The law must be upheld” he parrots.

Alright John! What about up-holding it against all your own councillors and cronies at the Town Hall. Why was your own brother-in-law, caught red-handed with his fingers in the Town Hall till, shipped off to Scotland quick to avoid a scandal! Labour Mayor Shuka Sheijk is the biggest crook in town — having feather bedded his own nest with funds obtained for his OWN organisation from HIS OWN council! Yet this swindler represents us, the people of Hackney, because the rest of the Labour con merchants are too busy with their own snouts in the trough!

Hackney Council's latest representatives Ronnie and Reggie meet John McCafferty

Hackney Council’s latest representatives Ronnie and Reggie meet John McCafferty

Jobs for the Boys
Those few not on the fiddle are busy carving out their own careers on our backs. Deputy leader Tommy Shepherd is standing as Labour M.P. at the next election; former leader Andrew Puddephat sends in the riot police to evict the homeless from Stamford Hill yet lands a plum job as director of the National Council of Civil Liberties! McCafferty himself sucks up to his hero Kinnochio in the hope of being invited aboard his gravy train.

Councillors’ Surgery
Over the next months we will be blowing the lid off the whole gang of Mare Street crooks. Our corruption exposures will rock the Hackney Mafia back on their heels. But no need to wait till then to see McCafferty shit himselfl Everytime he tries to send in the bailiffs, poll tax rebels will be visiting him at his home at 17 Bayston Road, Stoke Newington, for a spot of genuine “councillors’ surgery” and to let him know what it feels like to be harassed. He also appreciates phone calls at home [phone number deleted] and work [phone number deleted].



Seven Hackney Police Officers have been sacked. Three years ago local lad Gary Stretch was severely beaten outside a pub in Hoxton by off-duty cops. The cops were suspended on full pay to the tune of £300,000 and were never prosecuted. Thanks to Hackney Community Defence Association the case has had widespread publicity, unlike numerous other cases of police corruption and criminality. It all goes to show it’s one rule for them and another for us. A few rotten apples? Festering barrels more like!

A secret report from Thames Magistrates Court has revealed that there is not enough time for all the Poll Tax non-payment cases. Virtually everyone who has turned up at court has had their case adjourned to some date in the future. The courts have now changed the rules (as they usually do when they’re losing) by abolishing the right to help in the dock. Just shows that we can never trust their institutions!

Problems collecting the poll tax in Hackney? Not only have up to half not paid a penny, but some have been taking out their anger against the Cherbury Court Poll Tax Office. First there was a bit of abuse, then some vandalism with the odd brick flying through their windows and the last straw was two armed robberies! The office has now closed down, adding to the council’s despair. The non-payment rate is holding steady despite all the threats of courts, bailiffs, etc. Top dog Mike Craig is talking about further cuts, but he needn’t worry as he’s on nearly £50,000 a year. He’d like to hear what you think about the Poll Tax — give him a ring at home on [phone number deleted].


So Thatch is gone. For eleven years that monstrosity has led a full frontal attack on the working class of Britain and Northern Ireland. We’ve fought back strongly all along, resisting in the workplace and on the streets. The Tories made many tax changes which benefited the wealthy few but made most of us pay more tax. The most recent of these discriminatory tax laws is the Poll Tax. In a country where 30% of the population don’t bother voting the anti-Poll Tax movement has given a voice to the widespread discontentment with the government.

By sacking Thatcher and promoting Major the Tories hope to shift some pressure off the government and to put forward a gentler image for the next election. Since moving to no. 10 Major has been waffling on about changing to a more equal, caring society but his actions in recent years tell a different story. As Social Services Minister ’85-’87 he slashed welfare payments and abolished the maternity grant. In August ’89 as Foreign Minister he backed the forced repatriation of boat people from Hong Kong to Vietnam.

It’s not a new figurehead we need, the whole system is rotten. What use will another election be — Labour, Tories, or Liberals — WHOEVER YOU VOTE FOR THE GOVERNMENT ALWAYS GETS IN. Politicians live off us, we don’t need them.


Last year anti-semitic attacks on the ultra orthodox Jews of Stamford Hill became a media story. What some orthodox rabbis called “the normal level of harassment” had turned temporarily to regular attacks. Anti-semitism didn’t stop with the war against Hitler. Returning servicemen found Mosley’s fascists organising in Hackney in Ridley Road. Those of us who have grown up in more secular Jewish working class families in Hackney since the ’40s, mostly the children of low paid garment workers, have grown up with some form of Jew-baiting and stereotyping (usually about being rich).

Last year saw an event in Stoke Newington which was an important day for the Jewish Socialist Movement. Between 700 and 1,000 people, mostly Jewish but also non-Jewish young and old, attended a day of “culture and resistance” in Stoke Newington. It celebrated a day of Jewish Socialism and opposition to anti-semitism and was a chance for Jewish activists to talk to each other across generations. As well as beigels and pickled cucumbers, there were exhibitions, plays and songs in Yiddish, meetings and discussions, photos, paintings, children’s events, music and dancing.

Hackney Jewish Socialist Group is here to fight prejudice and organised fascism. Remember that the 1905 Aliens Act, the start of Britain’s racist immigration laws, was passed to keep Jews out.

HJSG can be contacted at Box 11, Centreprise Bookshop, 136 Kingsland Road.


Being unemployed in Hackney is grim. Where we sign on is a dump. The dole are inefficient and always “lose your file”. The DSS keep us waiting hours in a prison with no toilets, play area for kids, or coffee machines. They don’t answer the phone. They only tell us what we’re not entitled to and not what is ours to claim. We don’t blame the workers at the offices but the welfare system.

Fun On the Dole?
Income support is calculated at a level of basic survival. Nothing is allowed for entertainment, cigarettes or alcohol. Unemployed people are expected not to need the pleasures of life of other citizens.

Unemployment is high in Hackney. Poor transport links mean that new work is not encouraged to arrive here. The present rate of unemployment is one in ten and rising. This is the result of government policies in the early 1980s.

Talking Out of Turn
The Gulf Crisis has diverted attention from the current recession and is used as an excuse to put up prices. Anyone who complains will be labelled dangerous because after all it’s our interests they’re protecting in the Gulf. Are they ****.


If Hackney Council think they can use bailiffs against non-payers of the Poll Tax, they’re in for a nasty surprise.

Last November saw the bailiffs turn up to deliver warnings to a handful of non-payers and they were met with fierce resistance. On one estate in Haggerston a group of around 50 locals saw off the bailiffs; but not before bricking their windscreen and damaging the bodywork of their car. They’d only come to deliver a letter, imagine when they try to take peoples belongings!

We have to remember the most effective opposition is organised resistance. This has already started with anti-Poll Tax unions setting up contact lists of those willing to come out and oppose the bailiffs, producing thousands of leaflets and posters on dealing with them and being out on the streets spreading the message “No Bailiffs in Hackney”. We’ve got to ensure the moment the bailiffs arrive, people are out on the street using any means necessary to see them off.

Obviously it won’t just be a matter of dealing with the bailiffs as they will probably get protection from the police. For this reason we should act quickly before the cops arrive or have sufficient numbers to deal with them as well. It’s also important not to always be on the defensive. We could get together and visit councillors, as has already happened with council leader John McCafferty. A group of around 60 people paid him a visit late one night. He almost opened the door thinking they were carol singers, until he heard the dreaded refrain booming out “No Poll Tax, No Poll Tax”. The commotion could be heard all the way up and down his street with people coming out wondering what was happening and, on finding out, joining in the fun. If it happens often enough maybe locals could try getting together to have him evicted on the grounds of “noise pollution”!

Bailiffs are only being used to intimidate and scare us into paying. For most, it’s a matter of “Can’t pay, won’t pay”. And with 54,000 non-payers in Hackney and no more than 15 bailiffs, we have the ability to make Hackney a bailiff free zone.


1 The bailiffs have no legal right of entry. They can only enter your home if they are invited in or if they can get through an open window or door.

2 Contact your local anti-Poll Tax union to go on their telephone contact tree (details below). Or set up your own alarm list on you street/block or with friends, or set one up at work.

3 If they turn up in your area go door to door to alert as many people as possible. Also try place where lots of people gather, ie launderettes, pubs, bookies, local workplaces etc.

4 Airhorns, whistles or someone with a loud voice can alert others to bailiffs arrival.

5 Vaseline smeared on bailiffs windows is like driving at 100mph on the M25 in dense fog!

6 Bailiffs jobs are hot and sweaty. Cool them down with buckets of cold water when they arrive.

7 Good to have transport on hand to follow them when they leave making sure they don’t make any other visits and to “escort them out of town”.

8 The bailiffs Hackney Council are using is Rayner, Ferrar & Co., 20/22 High Street, St Iver, Bucks. Tel. 0753 631144.

Here are just some of the anti-Poll Tax unions in Hackney:

Clapton [phone number deleted]
Hoxton [phone number deleted]
Lordship [phone number deleted]
Shacklewell [phone number deleted]
Stamford Hill [phone number deleted]
Victoria [phone number deleted]

Hackney Heckler is a bimonthly and free news-sheet which is produced by HACKNEY SOLIDARITY GROUP. We all live or work in the Borough and are sick of what we see around us. That’s the aim of the HECKLER: to encourage struggle for a decent life for all. We welcome contributions, donations, reports and help with distribution (we currently get rid of 10,000). What’s happening on your es-tate? Which councillors are cor-rupt? Who’s the worst boss in Hackney? Write to us at HACKNEY HECKLER, do 61 Leswin Road, N16 — and the next issue will be March 1991.


We work to live…. but the boss wants us to live to work. No matter where we work or what we do, this conflict of interests exists. Most of the time the bosses seem to get everything their way, they choose our workhours and rates of pay and are almost in total control of what we do, how we do it, in what conditions we do it and at what speed!

But we do have something on our side. Although the bosses may act like they’re doing us a favour by giving us a job, they need us, no matter what we do, they employ us because they need us. And they get very upset when we’re not there, they try to negotiate (i.e. tell us) when we have our holidays, and if we catch one of the many illnesses which the human body can get, they demand you go in because there’s work to be done, frequently using the ultimate threat, the sack!

Nothing Changes
At this moment in time, as the economy goes into deep recession, they try to fob us off with excuses, “we can’t afford a pay rise… we don’t know if we’re going to go bust… there’s plenty of people out there who’d be glad of your job”. To try and make us submissive and cheap workers. Times may change, the conflict doesn’t. It can only be made more bearable. To do this the boss must be confronted, and the more workers who join in, the bigger the chance of success. By fighting for what we want we regain some dignity as workers and teach the boss a lesson. We’re workers, not robots, and, hopefully, one day, the day will come when the conflict is abolished – which must mean abolishing bosses.


At work we killed the boss today
He should have paid us higher pay
We all sat down and made a plan
“Let’s get the bastard while we can
while he’s treating us like shit
We work to make him a rich git
With Persian carpets — wall to wall
While we don’t have a home at all
And only just afford to eat
Like half the people on our street”
So all together we struck back
And gave the boss a hefty whack
And with a token of class hatred
Strung him up with no time wasted
And though there’s just one solution
World wide working class revolution
That’s one rich bastard out the way
A pleasant start to any day.

PDF version available here.

Policing In Hackney 1945-1984

Published by Karia Press and RSFC in 1989

Copyright Roach Family Support Committee, 1988

313 pages


The terms of reference of this Independent Committee of Inquiry into the death of Colin Roach are clearly set out in the Introduction. Broadly speaking, the purpose of the exercise was to clarify the circumstances in which Colin Roach died in Stoke Newington police station on the night of the 12 January 1983. The nature of the events leading up to this event and its possible causes were the subject of an inquest.

In effect what the police in Stoke Newington station appeared to have assumed, without adequate evidence, from the outset; what the Coroner recommended to his jury as the most ‘plausible’ account; and what the Home Secretary has since invited the Roach family and the community to accept is the following account of the events of that night: that a young Black man, who was not wanted in any way by the police, late one night, walked into a police station unknown to him, entered the foyer, took from a shoulder bag (which was not large enough to hold a weapon), an old shot-gun, put it into his mouth and, without a word to anyone, blew his head off — “You may think on the facts you heard that this is the only possible verdict. . .” the Coroner told his jury. You may think so. On the other hand, you may not. You may assume, as a very large number of unprejudiced people have assumed that there is something extremely unlikely, not to say ‘fishy’, about such a story. It is open to doubt, for example, whether any Home Secretary in his right mind would calmly and quietly acquiesce in such an implausible story as an adequate explanation of the death of his own son in similar circumstances.

That event in itself was sufficient ground for calling an independent inquiry into being. However, the death of Colin Roach did not take place in a vacuum. It happened in a place, in a community, in a context which has its own history. This history is part and parcel of ‘the Colin Roach story’. Stoke Newington police station has a notoriously poor reputation in relation to the policing of the Black community and the handling of legitimate grievances and protests in the Hackney area. It is not a reputation which engenders confidence amongst the great majority of the local community who have been concerned about the suspicious circumstances in which Colin Roach died.

The Report has carefully examined this background history and presented the evidence which substantiate these public perceptions. It is worth reminding ourselves as the Report does, that this was by no means the first time in which Black people had died or been injured, in suspicious circumstances, in police stations. It is not the first time in which the subsequent accounts of deaths and injuries in custody, offered by the police, were in direct contradiction with those offered by the families and friends of the deceased or injured people.

Anyone concerned to improve relations between the local police and the Black community or anxious to restore the trust on which we are told ‘policing with consent’ depends would have thought it their plain duty to go out of their way to clear up in the public mind the last shred of doubt or ambiguity concerning the behaviour of the police on an occasion like this. No such view was taken then, or since, by the powers that be.

Against that background, the Roach Family Support Committee quite rightly decided that Colin Roach’s death had to be examined and analysed in the context of the general problems of policing the Black community in Hackney and against the background of the long-standing and unresolved series of complaints which have arisen over the years about how Black people are treated by Stoke Newington police station in particular. That evidence, which has been the subject of a good deal of speculation on previous occasions, is now systematically set out and documented here.

The Report is well aware that this is not an isolated story. It could be repeated in any inner-city area with a significant Black population in Britain today. This, then, was the thinking behind the decision to set up an independent Inquiry and explains why the terms of reference drawn up as they were. The way the Inquiry set about its task and the evidence it saw and heard are set out fully in the Report. No attempt has been made to cover over or ‘resolve’ contradictions which arise from that evidence. They are, of course, pointed to and underlined, since they effectively undermine the confidence and certainty which, in subsequent years, has accreted around the quite unplausible definition of what occurred advanced by the inquest and the press.

Can definitive answers be given, on the basis of this Report, to the questions which led to its being written in the first place? The Inquiry does not commit itself to an alternative explanation of how Colin Roach died. What it clearly and incontrovertibly shows is that he could not have died in the way the police and the inquest say he did. The Report does not say or suggest, for example, that Colin Roach was shot by the police in their own station. But it does show convincingly that he did not shoot himself with a gun which he carried into the station: which is what the police and the inquest asked us to believe.

Was Colin Roach shot by someone else, in or outside the foyer of the station? The Report does not say definitively that he was because it does not know. However, it does remind us — as the inquest did not — that this is not quite so implausible a story as it appears at first. For weeks preceding the event, Colin Roach did both talk and act as if in fear of being ‘got at’ by someone. Indeed, he gave this as his reason for entering Stoke Newington police station at all, at 11 o’clock one evening, when there was — and still is — no apparent other reason for his doing so, “Someone’s going to get me and I want to get in there to be safe…” Colin told his friend, moments before entering the station. Who was going to ‘get him’ and why, the Report is not in a position to say.

But the incontrovertible fact is, that someone did ‘get to him’. The Report brings to light the reason why this was a plausible explanation for Colin to offer, given what had happened to him earlier in prison. The police are not in a position to challenge this argument, says the Report, because they never investigated it. From the first to last, the police behaved as if the ‘fact’ that Colin Roach’s death was a suicide was a foregone conclusion. The police certainly advanced an account of what they said or thought happened. But they conducted no investigation.

If Colin Roach shot himself, why did his body fall in the way in which it did? And why did it and the objects in contact with it appear to move around and change position, when no one is supposed to have touched the body? The Report cannot answer these disturbing questions either, but at least it is prepared to ask them. No one else was prepared to do so then, or at the inquest and no one has been willing to do so since. Indeed, far from the burden of proof lying with the police and the inquest, the very legitimate desire of the Roach family to find out what really happened and to have answers to these awkward and unresolved questions has been consistently treated by the police, the court, the Home Office and the press as nothing more than an unjustified and illegitimate slur on the good name of the local police.

In our view, any unbiased and objective person reading what is written here must conclude that contrary to every-thing which has been officially put about, nobody has the slightest idea why and how a young Black man lost his life in the foyer of one of the most controversial police stations in London. Further, that steps have been consistently blocked which might have led to these matters being systematically and satisfactorily inquired into. Why this should have been so is not for the Committee to say. But that it is so is clear. And the fact that it is so is a prima facie case for extreme public disquiet, not simply in Hackney or in the Black community but in the society at large.

The reader may also conclude that the current form and conduct of inquests leaves a great deal to be desired. The criticisms of current practice in inquest courts, which has been mounting in recent years, are now very convincing. Coroner’s inquests were never designed or intended to be, and cannot function as a substitute for an independent public inquiry into matters of this kind which affect public confidence in the expectation of justice under the rule of law from the courts and the police. Nor in such circumstances can the police continue to investigate and ‘clear’ themselves when it is their own practices and procedures which are in question. The practice of a succession of Home Secretaries to refuse public inquiries on the grounds that the inquest was, in effect, such an inquiry is, to put it frankly, a dodge and a deceit which convinces no one, least of all the families and individuals involved.

I believe that an unbiased reader will also conclude that relations between the police and the local Black community in Hackney have deteriorated to such an abysmal level that anyone in office with responsibility for the policing of London under the rule of law (and that is the responsibility of the Home Secretary) must immediately institute a public inquiry, irrespective of the circumstances surrounding Colin Roach’s death. Whether the Government of the day will take that view is another matter. The present Government seems to believe that the ‘rule of law’ (which obliges the state itself to be bound and constrained by the law) is the same as ‘law and order’ (which is nothing but a convenient political catch-phrase meaning that the police and the courts should support the state, whatever it does, and protect it against any inconvenience).

The ordinary people who demonstrated outside of Stoke Newington police station were exercising their civil rights under the ‘rule of law’. The brutal treatment they received at the hands of the police, who appear to regard civil rights as a matter of legitimate amusement was ‘law and order’ in action. Far from being the same, the two are diametrically opposed, as the underlying argument in the second half of this Report clearly demonstrates.

The fact is that inner-city boroughs like Hackney, where large numbers of Black people live, are places in which the state itself, and administrations and authorities of various kinds, constantly intervene, always in the interest of influencing what happens on the ground in the direction which suits them, but rarely in order to strengthen justice and equality for the ordinary citizens who live in these harassed communities — especially if they also have the ‘misfortune’ to be Black. That is the underlying ‘message’ of this Report. It is the message which anyone who has been attentive to what has been happening between Black people and the police in communities like this up and down the country in the past seven years will not fail to have grasped. As the Report clearly shows, it was also the context in which Colin Roach died. It was the reason why those people from the local community who held public demonstrations in favour of a public inquiry came, as the evidence here suggests, to be treated by the police like common criminals.

The Report presents a wealth of evidence, independently collected and fairly summarised. It will strengthen the political will of people in Hackney and elsewhere not simply to accept as gospel what those in power say and do, just because they are the powerful. This is a lesson which many ordinary people, especially those in the Black communities, have already worked out for themselves, for they have consistently supported the Roach family in their search for justice. They have sustained an active campaign of resistance around this and related issues. They have, by their own efforts and organization, made the holding of an unofficial inquiry possible and helped to provide the material means and the political support to have its Report made available to a wider public. Their efforts over the several years since Cohn Roach disappeared into the entrance hall of Stoke Newington police station could, of course, be undone in an instant, as it was undone before, by a press and media treatment which, in its haste to accept official versions of events, however improbable, revealed its contempt for ordinary people.

Fortunately for us all, there are other ways of getting at the truth. In the absence of a public and official duty to discover the truth at whatever cost, it is at least some comfort that ordinary people are still willing and able to take action for themselves.

Professor Stuart Hall
Adviser to Independent Committee of Inquiry into Policing in Hackney

Chronology of the Campaign Following the Death of Colin Roach


January 12 Death of Colin Roach in Stoke Newington police station.

14 Demonstration outside police station by local Black and white youths. 8 arrested.

17 Second demonstration outside police station by local youths. 17 arrested. Roach Family Sup-port Committee (RFSC) formed at meeting called by Hackney Black People’s Association and at-tended by 150 people.

18 Inquest into the death of Colin Roach opens at St. Pancras Coroner’s Court. Immediately adjourned until 18 April.

22. First demonstration organised by RFSC. 22 arrested. 27 Commission for Racial Equality calls for pub-lic inquiry into policing of Hackney.

February 3 RFSC writes to Home Secretary asking for a public inquiry into the death of Cohn Roach, and the surrounding circumstances.

12 Second demonstration called by RFSC. 9 arrested.

18 Funeral of Colin Roach attended by over 300 people.

Hackney Council for Racial Equality (HCRE) publishes dossier on policing in the borough.

Roberts M.P. tables early day motion in Parliament calling for a public inquiry.

Hackney NALGO passes resolution calling for members to ‘break links’ with police.

March 2 Home Secretary replies to RFSC agreeing that a full and independent public inquiry is necessary but saying that this is what the inquest will provide.

12. Third RFSC demonstration. 24 people arrested including James Roach and Councillor Dennis Twomey. Campaign Against Racism and Fascism publishes in Searchlight a dossier of incidents of police racism in Hackney, 1971-83.

April 18 Inquest opens at St. Pancras Coroner’s Court and is adjourned immediately. Coroner applies to the High Court on the issue of the venue.

30 High Court rules that Hackney Council and the Greater London Council have no power to compel the coroner to change the venue of the inquest, but suggests that a larger venue be found.

May 14 Fourth demonstration organised by RFSC. No arrests.

June 6 Inquest opens at Clerkenwell County Court.

17 Jury returns majority (8-2) verdict of suicide.

20 Jurors write to Home Secretary criticising police handling of the case especially their treat-ment of Mr. and Mrs. Roach.

28 Home Secretary replies saying that he is referring the jurors’ letter to the Police Complaints Board.


February 12 Mail on Sunday reports that the officers in the Colin Roach case will not be disciplined.

April 9 Police Complaints Board informs inquest jurors that no further action is to be taken.


April 13 Independent Committee of Inquiry into Policing in Hackney launched by RFSC.