An illustrated history of the birth of the Metropolitan Police

The brutal murder of George Floyd has once again forced police violence and racism into the public spotlight. On both sides of the Atlantic, people are starting to ask big, radical questions about the role of the police in white supremacist, capitalist societies.

While much attention has focused on the US, the Black Lives Matter protests in London, Manchester and beyond have highlighted the violence and institutional racism of British policing, both historically and in the present.

As a contribution to this ongoing discussion, we are sharing this excellent comic on the birth of the London Metropolitan police, originally posted on the Drawn Out Thinking blog. Starting with the question posed by a group of teenagers “why do the police treat us differently?”, the comic situates the present day operations of the police in a wider historical context, examining the roots of British policing in racism, colonialism and the genesis of capitalist production. It is essential reading for anyone wanting a stimulating, accessible introduction to the origins of the biggest gang in London.

You can read the comic in full here.