Communities rooting out discriminatory policing


This project stems from a need to acknowledge the failure of decades of gradual police reform –or lack thereof– and reckons with the legacy of historic and systemic racism in policing institutions.

The articles of In Our Hands are stories of communities around the world who are successfully replacing violent police interventions with collective care in crisis situations. From 2022 to 2024, we explored the intersections and disconnects between safety, policing and community-based solutions to social issues. This is what In Our Hands is about.

Inspired by social movements and activists’ protests, INCLO members teamed up with grassroots groups in their countries to take a closer look at violent and discriminatory policing and draw up the common trends that stretch across borders.

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Illustration by Alina Calzadilla via femiñetas

Illustration by Alina Calzadilla via femiñetas

Illustration by Maldulls - Meritxell Garriga Riba via femiñetas

Illustration by Maldulls - Meritxell Garriga Riba via femiñetas

Reflections from the co-editors of In Our Hands

Two years ago, INCLO started discussing if and what it should do as it grappled with the powerful protests and demands that came after the killing of George Floyd and the international movement they inspired. INCLO members around the world had been working on police violence since their inception, but many reforms seem to fail in bringing long-term and systemic change. It wasn’t working and there was no reason to think that would improve in the future. There was an overall sense that hopeful lessons and positive alternative, community-based approaches were to be learned, but we were missing them by keeping the conversation mostly between partner NGOs or more policy-centred actors.

Two things became clear: we needed to listen better to the solutions already being proposed or implemented by the communities most affected by policing and we needed to broaden our imagination if we wanted to even begin heading towards the big shifts needed to unroot decades of harm.

In Our Hands became a two-part exercise. On one hand, INCLO and each of its members who collaborated on an article with a local grassroots partner had to challenge its own understanding of the police’s role in society. This meant asking themselves what care and safety stood for and who was at the root of the discrimination projected on certain communities. On the other hand, we produced this collection of locally rooted stories that reflect on how to address social issues without reaching out to or over-relying on the police given that history has shown police intervention most times worsens the situation. The compendium of articles is an offering, an invitation to those who want to learn from other communities on how they are simultaneously challenging violent, racist policing –beyond the façade of law enforcement institutions– while taking care of each other. 

Read more about the main themes from In Our Hands and highlights from different articles in this interview conducted by Laura Kauer Garcia (INCLO/Argentina) with the project’s co-editors Emmanuelle Andrews (LIberty/UK) and Sherylle Dass (LRC/South Africa).

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