Thursday, 2 July 2009

The police out of control?

The Metropolitan Police are said to have relied too heavily on untrained and inexperienced officers to maintain control of protesters during the April G20 summit in London in which Ian Tomlinson died, concluded the parliamentary Home Affairs Committee on Monday.
The committee also said that even though police had managed to keep disruption to a minimum in the city's financial district, part of this was due to chance.

"This success should not distract from the failings in the operation which were also on show and we feel that an element of luck must be attributed to the success of the operation."

What wishful thinking and simple regression, on the part of the committee that's led by Labour MP Keith Vaz. They seem to overlook the small fact, that senior police officers used the press and media in advance to smoke up the possibility of trouble from Anarchists and others as reported on the BBC news:

"Known activists are planning in an "unprecedented" way ahead of next month's G20 summit in London, the Metropolitan Police have warned.

Cdr Bob Broadhurst, in charge of the policing operation, said anarchists and environmentalists were plotting a series of demonstrations.

Groups active in the late 1990s were re-emerging and forming new alliances to protest at the meeting, he said."

Now Bob Broadhurst is blaming his officers by claiming that many only received two days training in public order policing a year. He said that his relatively young officers had little experience of the kind of large-scale disorder seen regularly in the summers of the 1980s and 1990s. Keith Vaz said in respose to this: "Never again must untrained officers be placed in the front-line of public protest." So who or what dose he suggest, we were told that all police leave was canceled, so what was the problem considering that the protest was nothing on the scale of say the 1990s poll tax demonstrations. One other area of concern must be an interpretation that is being made between protest and disorder especially considering that there is ongoing investigations into the death of homeless newspaper seller Tomlinson and allegations of excessive violence by officers, not to mention the police tactic of "Kettling" containing people in a small areas for many hours - meaning that many were unable to go to the toilet or pick up the kids from school. As someone that was present my own estimation is that the police had no idea what they were doing, they showed a complete lack of tack and diplomacy in there attitude and course of action. In a new development The Home Office pathologist who ruled that Ian Tomlinson died of natural causes at the G20 protests has been suspended pending investigations into his professional conduct. Freddy Patel, who conducted the first post-mortem examination on the newspaper vendor from east London and concluded he died of a heart attack, has been removed from the government register of accredited forensic pathologists
amid concerns as to whether he has breached regulations.

The Guardian reported on the 30 June that a senior police officer who investigated the death of Ian Tomlinson told his family that the officer who struck him at the G20demonstrations could have been a member of the public "dressed in police uniform." The City of London police investigator made the comment at an emergency meeting with Tomlinson's family and the Independent Police Complaints Commission on 8 April, hours after the Guardian released footage showing the attack on the 47-year-old newspaper vendor.

Tomlinson's family also said this week's home affairs select committee report into policing of the G20 protests failed to properly identify the issues that may have contributed to his death. "I feel very upset by the report," said Julia Tomlinson, his widow. "It refers to Ian collapsing but does not mention the video evidence showing that he was struck."

She said her family was particularly frustrated that the inquiry appeared to focus on the inexperience of some officers, suggesting they should receive more training.

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