Labelling and the Brixton Riots

Back in the 1980s (ish) there was some level of crime among the people of Brixton – and for those who don’t know, Brixton is a predominately black area. Now one day, the chief of police decided that there needed to be a crackdown on crime in Brixton. The next day Operation Swamp was born. Now what Operation Swamp meant was that the police had the right to stop and search anyone they felt was suspicious. In theory it made sense – stop trouble before it began. But after a while, it got a bit… out of hand. It was unlikely that a black person would walk out and not get stopped at least once. This was creating a lot of tension in Brixton – people were fed up.

Then one fateful day a black lad got stabbed and a white police officer went to his aid…people got the wrong impression….and the rest is history. Watch me 

The aim of the story above is to explain the role of moral entreprenuers and social control. The moral entreprenuer here was the Chief of Police that decided that Operation Swamp would help reduce people that were victims of crime. What it actually did was simply create another group of people that could be arreseted – it made more deviants. An extension in the number of people you can arrest, inevitably leads to more arrests. the increase in arrests confirmed the police’s label that black people were criminals.  The riot itself shows how social control can cause deviance. This is also referred to as deviance amplification. There was so much attention on the black community, they revolted.