People from all walks of life feature in 24 Hours in Police Custody – but this week there’s a really intriguing story when English Defence League co-founder Tommy Robinson is arrested and brought into Luton police station.
He’s been accused of racially assaulting someone while serving a prison sentence several months earlier, but Robinson says he was only protecting himself because he believed his life was in danger. Someone tipped him off, he says, that there was a big reward for whichever inmate would throw boiling water on him.
As an ex-leader of a far-right organisation which opposes Islam in the UK, Robinson claims he’s not exactly a popular person among the Islamic inmates.
“I had to make a decision that if you run once, you run forever, ” he says darkly of the violence he’s been involved in over the years. “So I made a decision not to run. And that’ll land you in a few fights”.
But interestingly, he knows how to play the game and is very co-operative with police. He argues that there was no racial motivation in punching the prisoner, simply a reaction to feeling his life was endangered.
But the facts of the incident aside, what he describes gives us an unsettling insight into prison life. He claims that the reward for burning his face with boiling water is an ounce of legal high Spice, and that if you’re behind bars, that’s like gold dust.
It’s also a revealing look at the former EDL leader’s perception of Islam, which one of the policemen says he’s got “all wrong”.
“Fighting ISIS abroad?” Robinson says to the camera. “You don’t need to fight them abroad, I’m standing next to them in the bank.”