The Black Lives Matter paramilitary-style march in Brixton has had a lot of coverage, including videos of protestors yelling at police and calling them “terrorists”. Only three arrests were made despite the widespread “threatening, abusive or insulting” behaviour being clear public order offences…
That tiny arrest number is even more surprising when taking into account photos of dozens of men wearing matching para-military outfits with face coverings and branded stab vests reading “FF Force” (Forever Family).
In 1936, a new public order act was introduced to counter the rise of Oswald Mosley’s fascist Black Shirts, banning political uniforms:
Prohibition of uniforms in connection with political objects.
(1) Subject as hereinafter provided, any person who in any public place or at any public meeting wears uniform signifying his association with any political organisation or with the promotion of any political object shall be guilty of an offence
We have seen the police being defied by violent criminal gangs on the streets, now they are being defied by an organised militia, it does not take much imagination to see them becoming armed with weapons, improvised or otherwise. Britain does not tolerate private armies for political forces for very good reasons – a Ministry of Justice source told Guido he could see no reason why the “FF Force” uniforms didn’t contravene the Act. Under the Public Order Act the decision to arrest or not arrest is devolved to the officer in charge of policing the operation, in this case Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor. Why was the law not enforced in this case – was DAC Taylor leant on from above for political reasons?