Monday, October 26, 2009

Dialogue with an Officer Over Kettling &c.

Photograph: Chris Ison/PA; Thanks to Observer; link below.

[This is a response to a comment on the piece about Ian Tomlinson and the TSG, the latest Anonymous comment, as the Comment slot would not take it]

Good Consternoon, Aftable.

Thank you for taking the trouble to visit and for such an extensive comment. I will deal briefly with your substantive points, as I am short of time this morning.

Anon: This phrase concerns me 'Members of the unit would also be screened by being hooked up to a polygraph and exposed to images and key words to see if they respond to right wing triggers.' Your answer is to alter what is an apolitical organisation into one which is filled with the 'right' (or left) kind of people

RL: OK: provide left wing triggers too, in order to balance it up. Would that be acceptable to you?
Would you be prepared to place a £10 bet, proceeds to go to Practical Action, on which side will get more positives?

Anon: At the G20 people in some places were not behaving, and it was necessary to try to restore order.

RL: Events at the Climate Camp give you the Lie Direct.


Anon: It is not the fault of the police or any police tactic on the day that lead to violence, but the intent of some in the crowd.

RL: The police are beyond blame in any circumstances?

Anon: As to your criticism of containment as a tactic, how do you propose that we prevent the events of the may-day riots of around a decade ago. This tactic has proven highly effective at stopping this kind of disorder, if this is removed from the options it is only a short time till we see disorder like this again and we will be blamed for failing to keep control of them.

RL: Kettling/containment may be used as a response to real violent disorder, but must never again be used on peaceful demonstrators.

Anon: Granted the containment tactic will lead to some non violent people being detained, however this has been a tactic for around a decade and the vast majority of people are aware of it, yet choose to come to protests (generally the tactic is used at illegal protests as opposed to organised and lawfull protests).

RL: So any demo we choose to go to may result in being detained? We should bring tents, provisions and sleeping bags to all demos? Will you provide Portaloos?

RL: You have also mentioned 'agents provocateurs' please justify this, as this is not a tactic the police use, we attempt to minimise the use of force, not incite it. This is in my opinion an absolutely outrageous allegation and should be corrected immediately.

RL: The grossest example is with the Black Bloc in Geneva - admittedly, italian police, not peelers, but we have to make sure we don't even set off in the Italian direction.

I personally have been heckled by a pair of what I reasonably suppose to be agents provocateurs at an Aldermaston demo.

Craig Murray has an incident here.

And here's an Observer piece.


More evidence

UK agent provocateur search here, full of evidence.

Anon: You have also contradicted yourself, you have said how you are not 'anti-police' yet you repeatedly fail to show respect to the anonymous poster calling him 'Anonymofficer.'

RL: I have to differentiate the Anonymi who write in. I do not respect Anonymouses as much as people with an identity, just as you would tend to be suspicious of masked demonstrators.

Anon: And finally when you compare the tactics of the British police with our continental cousins, we do not use tear gas, we haven't used baton rounds. We very rarely even get our helmets on, even when under attack from missiles, for fear of 'provoking a riot.' So how do you propose we deal with the admittedly small corps of protesters intent on causing disruption?

RL: see above. You can defend yourselves against real trouble. Just please refrain from attacking and provoking non-violent demonstrators. Please, in all our interests - yours and ours. Remember that we are all there to uphold democratic values.

To finish on a note of agreement, I hope that we can both agree that it is regrettable that the media give more coverage to violent demos than to non-violent demos, which is itself an indirect incitement to riot.

38 comments:

murderedpaulsfriend said...

Thought I should respond.

'RL: OK: provide left wing triggers too, in order to balance it up. Would that be acceptable to you?'

No, the briish police traditionaly have not been and should not be pawns of politics. They are apolitical servants of the state, and the move to greater politicisation is on of the sad factors of modern day policing. The only test for a constable should be can they do their job fairly and well.

'Anon: At the G20 people in some places were not behaving, and it was necessary to try to restore order.

RL: Events at the Climate Camp give you the Lie Direct.'


Appart from being a little confussed by this link I think I should say.

You have already stated that you were at another peaceful protest elsewhere so neither of us can claim first hand knowledge of what occured at the climate camp (and even if we could we would only have one small perspective from a large event). I have spoken to people who were there, and they have given me a very different impression of the days events than the media and protest websites.

As an asside the protest at the climate camp was not a lawful protest, the intent was to cause disruption to the city. The classes on various styles of direct action (generally not lawful activities again) and the siting of the climate camp itself were intended as a deliberate incitement for the authorities to act. There is no government worth the name that would allow an unlawful gathering of such intentions to sit itself in the center of their financial district.

So the question is, why was it possible for so many protests to go ahead peacefully while one decended to disorder? It was the same police, who had received the same training, and briefings. The difference was the climate camp, being an unlawful protest, was more likely to attract those intent on trouble. The fact that there was so little trouble was a testiment to the police, not a cause to criticise their actions on the day.

'anon: It is not the fault of the police or any police tactic on the day that lead to violence, but the intent of some in the crowd.

RL: The police are beyond blame in any circumstances?'

murderedpaulsfriend said...

Not in any circumstance, no. There will have been mistakes, however I did state that it was police tactics 'on the day.' The correct tactics were adopted as disorder was prevented as best it could be.

'RL: Kettling/containment may be used as a response to real violent disorder, but must never again be used on peaceful demonstrators.'

The idea that containment can be started once a crowd has 'gone off' is a falacy. Containment is a preventative measure that needs to be introduced before the violence starts.

Any violent demonstration will contain a variety of people. From those intent on extreme violence, to inocent members of the public just there to see what is going to happen. It is not feasable for the police to contain only the violent element, there are only limited options to seperate them from the mass of people they use as their cover. These options themselves can lead to increased tensions (arrest teams entering the crowd ect). From another post citing fitwatch it appears (although not certain) that you are against police trying to gain inteligence on individuals who attend protests like this, even if it is 'this person has not been violent'. Without the gaining of this intelligence you are setting the police an impossible task; identify the violent in a crowd and do nothing agains the non-violent, however don't try to record what people have done as you might have information that some people aren't criminals.

To me the gatehring of inteligence is an attempt by police to identify those within a crowd who cause problems. By doing this it can be possible to prevent these people (intent on criminality) from distrupting the protests of non-violent people. As part of the process they gather intelligence on these non-violent individuals then this actually furthers the attempts to seperate non-violent from criminal protestors.

'RL: So any demo we choose to go to may result in being detained? We should bring tents, provisions and sleeping bags to all demos? Will you provide Portaloos?'

Lets not be nieve, there are certain types of protest, and certain types of protestor. People going to these events have some idea of what they are attending, those intent on criminality will congregate at one type of event; those with other, lawful intentions, are more likley to avoid that type of event. If we take you as an example, you (a peaceful protestor) chose not to attend the climate camp, why? Was one part of the reasoning that trouble was expected there?

It is in truth up to the organisers of climate camp to police themselves (policing by consent). They must identify and ostracise those intent on unlawful activities. They must also not carry out unlawfull activities themselves, obstruction of the highway being one. They can, with authorisation protest, however trying create distruption and prevent others carrying out their lawful activities (banking) is not protest but an attempt to instute mob rule. Something, I as a democrat am against. The trouble with this is that those who organise these events are not democrats. They have failed to win mass public support for their arguments (sometimes not for the beter as some of the thing they argue for would be positive). So they have taken to direct action. A method which is genearally unlawfull, which attempts to prevent others from carrying out their lawful activities. As I have said already this is nothing other than mob rule and I (as a student of history) will be quite happy to prevent this from happening in my country as down that path leads many bad things.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

On 'agents provocateurs';
'I personally have been heckled by a pair of what I reasonably suppose to be agents provocateurs at an Aldermaston demo.'

Without knowing more about this incident I find it hard to comment, however ther police have no interest in starting disorder. It depends when though as policing has changed over the last 50 years and I don't know how things were done a long while back or even when this incident occured. If recent I think a far more reasonable conclusion is that these two you speak of were attempting to provoke a reaction from the crowd, for no beter reason than to entertain themselves.

As to the craig murray incident, I have read it (not the comments afterwards) and can find no eveidence of 'agent provoctures' there. If you are suggesting that as the group causing the trouble was the same from previous protests. That is because this is the group of people that want to fight the police. From having policed the gaza protests I can safely say that the minority causing trouble there were the same scum (as there is no other word for them) who I have to police day in day out. These are the low level drug dealers, the want to be gangsters the people who brake into your home or car. They have been given the oportunity to fight the police and have taken it with both hands. That is why he has seen the same group again, many will have recently been charged with violent disorder and will hopfully be off the streets for a few months. It is this type of person that only shows at these kinds of protest which are likley to result in disorder, this is their motivation.

The observer link doesn't seem to want to work for me.

As to the more evidence then look at this page http://niqnaq.wordpress.com/2009/05/13/mille-pardons-a-insp-dreyfus/

or this one

http://www.socialistunity.com/?p=3531


So I still await proof of agent provocture within the british police, or as stated a retraction and appology for an outragous accusation.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

RL: I have to differentiate the Anonymi who write in. I do not respect Anonymouses as much as people with an identity, just as you would tend to be suspicious of masked demonstrators.

Granted, however I am in one of the few occupations where voicing a lawful political opinion could lead to the sack. The only other one I know of is the army. I personally know of people who have been sacked for posting things on the internet and don't intend to join them. So the annalogy is not exactly fair, in that a lawfully held opinion needs not be hidden in a demonstration, as the statement of something lawfull cannot lead to arrest.

RL: You can defend yourselves against real trouble. Just please refrain from attacking and provoking non-violent demonstrators. Please, in all our interests - yours and ours. Remember that we are all there to uphold democratic values.

As I have said several times, the protests you attend have from your accounts ended peacefully. This is as the people there want them to. At other protests the intentions have been different; violence for violence's sake, the execution of mob rule or any plethora of other motivations, however they decend to disorder because of the makeup of the crowd, not the actions of police. I have been involved in numerous instances where we have not been allowed to carry out actions I thought appropriate to deal with the threat I was under, as senior officers were trying not to antagonise the crowd. So we already do 'defend yourselves against real trouble. Just please refrain from attacking and provoking non-violent demonstrators'. It is a minority of demonstrators that instigate the violence, not the police.

To finish on a note of agreement, I hope that we can both agree that it is regrettable that the media give more coverage to violent demos than to non-violent demos, which is itself an indirect incitement to riot.
It is regretable indeed. In fact at the Israli embassy this year the 'media' made up around 2/3 of those in the front ranks. Their presence provoking action from the protestors seeking their x-factor style 15 minutes. And making it harder for police to control the disorder.

DocRichard said...

Hi murderedpaulsfriend
Thanks for taking the time on my blog. It all deserves an answer, but busy, so later.

It is good that we can be at one in our criticism of the role of the media in rewarding violence. Other coppesondents also agreed with our distaste for (some, not all) lawyers.

Before I spend time on your points though, I want to be sure that you are not in denial ofer global heating? Because if so, this would radically affect how you see people who are campaigning for the Government to move from talk to action on climate change.

DocRichard said...

The only test for a constable should be can they do their job fairly and well.

RL: Maybe a polygraph to make sure they were not BNP or stalinist fellow travellers would be such a test?

DocRichard said...

The classes on various styles of direct action (generally not lawful activities again) and the siting of the climate camp itself were intended as a deliberate incitement for the authorities to act.

RL: Act by using edges of shields on people with their hands in the air chanting "This is not a riot"??

DocRichard said...

So the question is, why was it possible for so many protests to go ahead peacefully while one decended to disorder?

RL: See my piece. One was kettled, the other was not. Yes there were other factors, but the kettling made things worse.

You must understand things in terms of systems, not in simple linear "good cop - bad demonstrator" terms.

You may say that this is an oversimplification, but that is how you are coming across. And this is not acceptable, because it continues the avoidance of responsibility over the death of Blair Peach.

You of all people should know that nobody who is murdered should be forgotten, and their murderer should not be pursued.

DocRichard said...

The correct tactics were adopted as disorder was prevented as best it could be.

RL: The facts are otherwise. There was more disorder with kettling than with traditional British policing. Subsequent demos without kettling have been more peaceful.

Face up to it, kettling was a strategic mistake on the part of the supremos.

DocRichard said...

If we take you as an example, you (a peaceful protestor) chose not to attend the climate camp, why? Was one part of the reasoning that trouble was expected there?

RL: I did not go to the climate camp because it involved a long journey, and also, I am ashamed to say, part of me did not want to be harrassed by the police. I am not totally averse to being arrested - I am proud to have been arrested at Faslane - but it is not a pleasant experience. So, yes, police tactics have served to filter off some non-violent protesters to some degree.

DocRichard said...

It is in truth up to the organisers of climate camp to police themselves (policing by consent). They must identify and ostracise those intent on unlawful activities. They must also not carry out unlawfull activities themselves, obstruction of the highway being one.

RL: All demonstrations are strictly illegal. It is against the law for any citizen to walk along the carriageway, yet all demonstrations of any size do just that.

Civil disobedience is an essential element of democracy. We the people are like an elephant tied by a bit of string. We mainly play the game, and stay put, for the sake of the peace, but we can break free at any time we choose. It is the task of Government to govern wisely, so that the elephant is not provoked to break the string.

DocRichard said...

On 'agents provocateurs';
... the police have no interest in starting disorder.

RL: Maybe not the mainstream police, but there are other agencies with other agendas. We are agreed that the tabloid media lust after disorder, and there are agencies in the establishment whose interest is served by headlines about "Violent protesters", which diverts attention away from the political issues that the protesters are trying to draw attention to.

DocRichard said...

From having policed the gaza protests I can safely say that the minority causing trouble there were the same scum (as there is no other word for them) who I have to police day in day out. These are the low level drug dealers, the want to be gangsters the people who brake into your home or car.

RL: by identifying the Gaza protesters as "scum" and criminals, you are falling into the same pit as those who used to call the police "pigs" in the 70s. Interestingly, we do not hear the same epithet now, which is progress - from our side.

Here we are getting close to the heart of the matter. Absolute, binary, black-and-white divisions and classifications are at the root of all vilence. First, dehumanise your enemy, then you can beat them as you would a dog.

This absolute division does not reflect reality. We are all complex mixtures of constructive and destructive motivations.

The biggest destructive force in the world today is the motive to continue to pump greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere. In being determined to oppose and reverse this tendency, we, the climate protesters, are acting constructively. The role of the police should be to ensure that this democratic protest goes ahead without damage to person or property. This the police failed to do at the G20.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

I shall reply taking each point in turn.

Before I spend time on your points though, I want to be sure that you are not in denial ofer global heating? Because if so, this would radically affect how you see people who are campaigning for the Government to move from talk to action on climate change.

I am quite willing to accept that humans are the driving factor in climate change, my policing style is not effected by my politics, only by the people that I police. That is a matter of professionalism. Which brings me on to the second part.

RL: Maybe a polygraph to make sure they were not BNP or stalinist fellow travellers would be such a test?

I don't care what someone's political beliefs are, if they are Stalanist or facist; unless it can be shown that this individual cannot act fairly, then it is wrong to exclude them from the police. While membership of an organisation like the BNP may play part of the jigsaw in saying someone will not be fair I think that it is wrong to suppose that they will not be proffessional while wearing a police uniform and do their duty fairly based solely on BNP membership. It smacks of MacCarthyism (SIC?) where you loose your job, not for what you do but for what you believe, not something I consider very British.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

The classes on various styles of direct action (generally not lawful activities again) and the siting of the climate camp itself were intended as a deliberate incitement for the authorities to act.

RL: Act by using edges of shields on people with their hands in the air chanting "This is not a riot"??



While I cannot account for others use of force, I can say that was assualted at the BBC the other day, this was while the crowd were chanting, 'this is peaceful protest.' What the crowd are chanting and is not necessarily an accurate assessment of their actions, or mre accurately the action of a small number of them.

You have also failed to address the main point I was making, that the organisers have deliberately sited the camp at such a location to provoke a response.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

So the question is, why was it possible for so many protests to go ahead peacefully while one decended to disorder?

RL: See my piece. One was kettled, the other was not. Yes there were other factors, but the kettling made things worse.

You must understand things in terms of systems, not in simple linear "good cop - bad demonstrator" terms.

You may say that this is an oversimplification, but that is how you are coming across. And this is not acceptable, because it continues the avoidance of responsibility over the death of Blair Peach.

You of all people should know that nobody who is murdered should be forgotten, and their murderer should not be pursued.


You accuse me of over simplifying, however you state that the tactic of containment resulted in the disorder. Now to carry out this tactic, our senior officers have to have an awful lot of evidence that without it something bad will happen. I am sure that there were people passing inteligence to the police of intentions of various groups. The sum of this inteligence meant that the protest you attended was carried out without the need for containment, other inteligence has lead the senior officers to believe that sersious trouble would have come were the climate camp not contained.

To say 'the kettling made things worse'; granted this is a very harsh tactic. However firstly we cannot say how the CC will have gone without this tactic, would it have descended into Mayday style disorder or remained peacefull and tranquil? So although we can say the mood of the crowd was made worse by kettling, we cannot say the disorder was made worse by it. What can be said is that any disorder was contained to a far smaller area than would have been the case were there to be no use of the tactic.

As to raising the Blair Peach issue that was a long time ago now, before my birth. I know so little about it I won't even comment on it.

DocRichard said...

As to raising the Blair Peach issue that was a long time ago now, before my birth. I know so little about it I won't even comment on it.

RL: Let your education start here then, young man. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blair_Peach

murderedpaulsfriend said...

The correct tactics were adopted as disorder was prevented as best it could be.

RL: The facts are otherwise. There was more disorder with kettling than with traditional British policing. Subsequent demos without kettling have been more peaceful.

Face up to it, kettling was a strategic mistake on the part of the supremos.


As already stated, the use of containment will depend upon the inteligence of the intentions of a protest. Those demo's since the G20 have not been as heated for a number of reasons. One is the location, the August CC was sited in a field in suburban South London. The police can afford to allow this, as very little disruption to others will occur. Also you haven't had the Anarcist movements attempting to highjack the protests as cover to cause disorder on any significant scale. The organisers of the CC have also been making attempts to keep everyone in line when containment wasn't used, to show the world what good little boys and girls they are when the big nasty policeman stops bullying them. However to the extremists intent on disorder this is a ploy to get the tactic stopped, so that in future they will have free reign on whatever targets they see fit. If the organisers of the CC had tried to reign in, or even beter isolate their more extreme elements in the first place the tactic may not have been necessary.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

If we take you as an example, you (a peaceful protestor) chose not to attend the climate camp, why? Was one part of the reasoning that trouble was expected there?

RL: I did not go to the climate camp because it involved a long journey, and also, I am ashamed to say, part of me did not want to be harrassed by the police. I am not totally averse to being arrested - I am proud to have been arrested at Faslane - but it is not a pleasant experience. So, yes, police tactics have served to filter off some non-violent protesters to some degree.


So if we can take you as typical, we can say that some non-violent protesters have chosen not to attend the CC due to the anticipated violence, therefore those there were a more concentrated group of those who were willing to use violence against police (assuming that within any large sample of people some would be willig to attack police). And if this is true then the policy of containment of this more dangerous group is more easily justified.

It is in truth up to the organisers of climate camp to police themselves (policing by consent). They must identify and ostracise those intent on unlawful activities. They must also not carry out unlawfull activities themselves, obstruction of the highway being one.

RL: All demonstrations are strictly illegal. It is against the law for any citizen to walk along the carriageway, yet all demonstrations of any size do just that.

Civil disobedience is an essential element of democracy. We the people are like an elephant tied by a bit of string. We mainly play the game, and stay put, for the sake of the peace, but we can break free at any time we choose. It is the task of Government to govern wisely, so that the elephant is not provoked to break the string.


I am aware of no law that says you cannot walk in the road. There is an offence of obstructing the highway. However to do that you must prevent others from being able to use the highway.

Also there are lawful demonstrations, those that inform the police of their protest prior to the event. This then allows the police to say yes or no to their proposals and offer alternatives which minimise the disruption to others. However the CC were not intending to minimise their distruption to others, they were trying to maximise this disruption, therefore they didn't attempt the above.

DocRichard said...

MPF: would it have descended into Mayday style disorder or remained peaceful and tranquil?

RL: You only have to look at the festival atmosphere that prevailed before the attack.

I would be very grateful if you would answer my question about your view on global warming.

DocRichard said...

MPF: the main point I was making, that the organisers have deliberately sited the camp at such a location to provoke a response.

RL: the camp was sited in the City to express our disgust, which is shared by the vast majority of the people of Britain, that the Banksters brought this country to the brink of collapse 12 months ago, that we the people have had to bail them our at astronomical expense, yet now the Carter-Ruckers are carrying on business as usual, using our money to give themselves fat bonuses. That's why they held the Climate Camp in the City. Is there a problem, officer?

DocRichard said...

MPF: I am quite willing to accept that humans are the driving factor in climate change, my policing style is not effected by my politics, only by the people that I police.

RL: Good. Thanks for clearing that up.

DocRichard said...

RL: Maybe a polygraph to make sure they were not BNP or stalinist fellow travellers would be such a test?

I don't care what someone's political beliefs are, if they are Stalanist or facist; unless it can be shown that this individual cannot act fairly, then it is wrong to exclude them from the police.

RL: OK then, let's devise a test to make sure the individual can act fairly. Present with images of "hippies" and other groups marginalised by the tabloids, and measure the autonomic responses, and look more closely at the people with untoward reactions.

If you do not like this, then come up with another way of getting the fabled "bad apples" out of the Police Service. Because there is a problem, there really is.

I stress that I have not just met police on demos: I have had professional relations with police since 1969, as an AE medic, as a psychiatrist, as a GP. Some have been my patients. I have a high regard for professionalism, and the difficulty of the job you do; BUT: you really do have a professionalism problem with recent demonstrations; kettling really is a problem; you have a view that climate change protests are potential terrorists, not people who are trying to give you, your children, and your grandchildren a world which is worth living in.

DocRichard said...

MPF: to show the world what good little boys and girls they are when the big nasty policeman stops bullying them.

RL: Snide. If we do not contain the idiot anarchist/provocateurs on our side, we are colluding with their violence. If we do, it is to show the world what good little boys and girls they are when the big nasty policeman stops bullying them.

This is called a Double Bind. It suggests that you are not here to hold a dialogue, but just to score points, like a politician.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

On 'agents provocateurs';
... the police have no interest in starting disorder.

RL: Maybe not the mainstream police, but there are other agencies with other agendas. We are agreed that the tabloid media lust after disorder, and there are agencies in the establishment whose interest is served by headlines about "Violent protesters", which diverts attention away from the political issues that the protesters are trying to draw attention to.


I am not sure who you are refering to when you say 'the establishment', however you have still failed to retract or appoligise for the initial accusation.

by identifying the Gaza protesters as "scum" and criminals, you are falling into the same pit as those who used to call the police "pigs" in the 70s. Interestingly, we do not hear the same epithet now, which is progress - from our side.

I wasn't identifying the protestors as scum, I was identifying the minority of violent protestors as such. These people were on the whole the youths who terrorise the communities of london with their low level crime (some of the violent group appeared little older and may have in other circumstances been respectable people). They time and again demonstrate their contempt for our society by breaking our most basic rules, while at the same time claiming the rights and privildges this society affords them. In truth most countries around the world would have kept them locked up for their various offences, however the lax sentencing in this country sees them in and out of prisons to reoffend. These people were not protestors, they were not political, they were there mearly to use the crowds for cover while they attacked the police. As to your comment about not being called 'pigs' I am affraid you appear to have not been going to the same events as me, where I have been regularly insulted in such a manner.

Here we are getting close to the heart of the matter. Absolute, binary, black-and-white divisions and classifications are at the root of all vilence. First, dehumanise your enemy, then you can beat them as you would a dog.

This calls in to doubt my professionalism again, I can use force under a variety of powers, however it must be reasonabale and neccessary. One of those powers which I am more likely to use at these kinds of events is the right of self defence. I can use force in self defence, I do not need to dehumanise the receipient as I am in fear for myself or another. I have to admit, when you have just been fighting with someone, it is hard to be polite with someone else who is unconnected. However I have to do my best, I try to treat each person as an individual and I am confident that my collegues do the same from my experience of them.

DocRichard said...

MPF: I am aware of no law that says you cannot walk in the road. There is an offence of obstructing the highway.

RL: All demonstrations of any size obstruct the highway, therefore they are technically illegal.

DocRichard said...

MPF, take a look here. Can you see any similarities between the Rwandan Green Party difficulties and the difificulties we are discussing here?

DocRichard said...

MPF, before we go any further, please take a look at the video "Fair Policing?" on today's blog and comment on the fairness or otherwise of the police action.
Thanks
Richard

murderedpaulsfriend said...

RL: You only have to look at the festival atmosphere that prevailed before the attack.

Those involved in the J18 violence have stated that they were having a carnival and started off with samba music and food. Yet the events of that day decended to violence.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_Against_Capitalism

An initiall carnival atmosphere is not an indication of continued willingness to obey the law.
RL: the camp was sited in the City to express our disgust, which is shared by the vast majority of the people of Britain, that the Banksters brought this country to the brink of collapse 12 months ago, that we the people have had to bail them our at astronomical expense, yet now the Carter-Ruckers are carrying on business as usual, using our money to give themselves fat bonuses. That's why they held the Climate Camp in the City. Is there a problem, officer?

Yes there is, people are attempting to institute a mob rule, where a group undemocratically prevents the lawful activities of bankers. It is up to you to gain the required support to change the laws if you want to stop the way banking was done, not prevent them from doing it through a mass of numbers. And if as you state the majority support this view then it is the green parties job to translate that support to votes at the ballot box.

If the desire was to express disgust at the bankers then a suitable means and place of protest could have been agreed with City of London Police, however the organisers were not interested in such a move and made no attempts to obtain agreement.

And finally are you suggesting that the orgainiser really believed they would be allowed to have their 24 hour camp as intended? Do you really expect me to believe they thought they would be allowed to do this?

RL: OK then, let's devise a test to make sure the individual can act fairly.

I will have to defer to what will be superior knowledge on this (as a former Pyschiatrist) however I do believe in inocence until prooven guilty. I don't think a test can be a true indicator of how a person will react. I have my own prejudices, one being the failiure to secure children with a seat belt, yet I can still deal with people who do this professionally. I believe each individual should be treated as such and be shown unable to act with fairness from their own actions as oppossed to a test.

murderedpaulsfriend said...

As to the video it goes a long way to confrim what I am saying.

How can the police prevent a large crowd, some of whom are intent on disorder, from occupying a road causing disruption to others?

What we saw was largely pushing and shoving, not a serious use of force.

However the video starts, with a male waving his fist and sticking his middle finger up at the police line, an aggressive posture from the protestor yes? You talked about the need to dehumanise your oponent before using violence against them, this sort of behaviour can be part of the process. This demonstrates that some in the crowd were intent on using violence against police.

While this was happening the police stand in silence 20-30 yards away. The police presence is not without a level of intimidation and anyone who sees it should be aware that this is a low level demonstration of strength. They would if they were senesible, take this oportunity to move and get away from the police, or at least move back away from the front of the crowd to the center's relative safety.

Then we jump, which is unfortunate as it would have been a more balanced video were it to show the police lines closing with the protestors, where I am sure there would have been instructions to those present to leave the location.

We move to a point where we have a pushing and shoving match between police and protestors. At this point we have some officers who are using their shields in a variety of methods. Most appear to be using the shields to push slowly(with the flat part) against the crowd. A use of force yes, but not likely to result in serious injuries. On a few occassions some officers have used the bladed part of the shield, this can be a valid tactic, in some circumstances. However I cannot see why they would have done this, and it would be up to them to justify. However there was very limited occassion where this has been seen.

We also have a crowd chanting 'this is not a riot' or words to that effect. Yet while some are chanting this others are throwing missiles at the police, generally from seveal rows back. Which goes to proove my point that within a peacefull crowd there are those present who are willing to attack police. Therefore policing tactics have to take account of this potentially dangerous group.

There is also the point at around 1:30 where the man in the dark coat with the beany hat on has thown a can of beer into the face of an officer. Which had he or she been wearing traditional beat duty uniform could well have reculted in a moderate degree of injury. Yet the creator of the video does nothing to hightlight this, however the point where the police officer has used their batton is slowed down and magnified. Again I can't pretend to know why this was done and it is up to them to justify.

So in answer to your question I believe that it demonstrates a high level of professionalism. The group are shown that police are present, giving those who don't want trouble the oportunity top move off. When police lines do close with the protestors they are on the whole using a very low level of force, despite the fact that a minoriy in the crowd are trying to cause harm to them. There are however a few occassions where a higher level of force is used, and the fact that this was not very common speaks for the professionalism of my colleagues, they are only using this higher level of force when it is reasonable and necessary. Otherwise there would be a lot more images of people getting battoned.

DocRichard said...

MPF:
Those involved in the J18 violence have stated that they were having a carnival and started off with samba music and food. Yet the events of that day decended to violence.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnival_Against_Capitalism

RL: The spontaneous procession erupted in anger at London Wall when a woman was hit by a reversing police van and had her leg broken.

DocRichard said...

MPF: Yes there is [a problem] , people are attempting to institute a mob rule, where a group undemocratically prevents the lawful activities of bankers.

RL: you call it mob rule, we call it democratic protest. In a democracy, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights applies, and article 20 states (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml

DocRichard said...

MPF: Are you suggesting that the orgainiser really believed they would be allowed to have their 24 hour camp as intended? Do you really expect me to believe they thought they would be allowed to do this?

RL: Well, not originally, but when they were kettled at one stage the police told them that they would be there all night. Kettled.

Your superiors are objecting them being there peacefully in a festival atmosphere, but were prepared to imprison them illegally, without conveniences, in the same spot, all night. Illogical, Captain.

DocRichard said...

MPF: I do believe in innocence until proven guilty. I don't think a test can be a true indicator of how a person will react.

RL: not a final proof, because there is no such thing as final proof except in algebra and geometry. It's all down to judgment in the end. However, polygraphs would be a useful tool for weeding out the rotten apples.

Here's another application. CRB checks are used on people who are going to work with children. It is a blunt instrument for identifying paedophiles. Penile plethysmographs would be much more accurate.

I stress that this is my own personal opinion, as is my belief that paedophiles. sexual suppressant medication should be used on some

MPF: I have my own prejudices, one being the failure to secure children with a seat belt,

RL: Believe me, the medical profession had to fight for years to get seat belt legislation. We didn't have to demonstrate or use civil disobedience, but the BMA could hold dinner parties instead.

MPF: I believe each individual should be treated as such and be shown unable to act with fairness from their own actions.

RL: Fair play to you for that opinion.

DocRichard said...

MPF: What we saw was largely pushing and shoving, not a serious use of force.

RL: Take a look at the video on Professional Policing?

DocRichard said...

I'd like to round off by saying that by and large, the protesters do not vote Green. They would if they did, but they won't, so they don't.

Anonymous said...

This policeman sounds like a very reasonable chap with a balanced approach to the sort of situations being discussed.

DocRichard said...

Yes, he is very reasonable, although coming from a bit of an idealistic standpoint. Remember that this all began with a critique of the TSG, and today's news is that they have had 5000 complaints, of which 0.18% have been validated. I wish the complaints rate against my profession was that favourable.