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Friday, 24 April 2009

The tactics of containment

It has been very interesting in the last few days, to read the range of comments posted here about the police justification of policing the G20 protest and the tactics of containment.

It has been particularly interesting to get some views from TSG officers themselves. One, going by the name of MCM comments, “we were doing our job, we were doing what we were told and we were getting on with it and we were doing exactly what we were trained to do. If you don't agree with the training then fine, but don't try and persecute us for doing what we are trained to do.”

Personally speaking, I can’t help but agree that the officers highlighted in the G20 footage were doing nothing out of the ordinary. It may not have been justifiable – as was also said on the comments page, protesters behaving the same way would “be in front of a magistrate within days”. But it certainly wasn’t unusual. For many years now the police have been operating a policy of containment (as opposed to dispersal) of demonstrators, and this is what it looks like. It is close up, and involves kettles and cordons and inevitable pushing and shoving of protesters with hands or shields and the extensive use of batons. As MCM says, “this has been going on for years - especially at football - because we are trained to Police public order situations that way.”

Containment as a tactic was developed by the police as a way of avoiding the sort of full-on confrontation seen at the Poll tax protest in 1990. According to many commentators, including academics and police themselves, the widespread violence was largely caused by police dispersal tactics, such as baton charges and horses being ridden at crowds of people. The criminologist academic Peter Waddington suggested that the police should have contained rather than dispersed the crowd, and the tactic of ‘kettling’ was born.

Containment has been widely criticised, apart from the violence inherent in it, because it involves the lengthy detainment of people who have committed no offence. MCM’s views on this are revealing. “The tactic of containment or kettling DOES work however, by having a significant majority of people who don't want trouble they naturally keep the minority in check, even after many hours of getting bored and pissed off.” I suspect that ‘the significant majority’ may have some understandable objections about being held for hours on end, without water, without food, without toilets, sometimes in the cold or wet, just to ‘keep the minority in check’.

As a tactic containment has surely has reached the end of the line. For years it has been a disaster waiting to happen, and now it has resulted in a death. I stand to be corrected, but as far as I know, the UK police are the only ones in Europe to operate such a strategy. Police elsewhere in Europe adopt more of a stand-off approach, interfering less and using dispersal methods (tear gas, water cannon) from a distance in cases of disorder. Police have criticised this idea as being even more likely to produce injury, but I have no figures on this. But clearly has the significant advantage of allowing people to go home!

Yet European tactics seem unlikely to be adopted here. It runs counter to the UK police’s philosophy of ‘preventative policing’, and I suspect that CO11 and their FIT teams will be particularly loath to let the ‘kettles’ go. They have provided extraordinarily useful opportunities for CO11 and their FIT teams to get photos and personal details of political protesters. In fact, I suspect ‘kettles’ have sometimes been formed for entirely that purpose.

So where will we go from here? I suspect we may see attempts, by police and by press, to make divisions in political protest between the good protesters (law abiding and compliant) and the bad protesters (those who object to having their movements restricted, who defend themselves from police batons, who push at police lines or who may be prepared to damage property in expression of their dissent). The politicians will then seek to give more freedom to the former, whilst putting even more restrictions on the latter.

I fear that the police focus on ‘preventative policing’ of demonstrations will end up being strengthened rather than weakened. This could lead to ‘bad protesters’ being treated increasingly like terrorists, having their movements monitored and being pulled from their beds in ‘anticipation’ of crime or public disorder. Not unlike the action taken against a group in Nottingham last week. Given the ease with which the police can currently go after suspected ‘terrorists’ without apparently even a shred of evidence, that is a worrying thought indeed.

I hope I'm wrong. I hope that all the G20 coverage and the awakening of middle England in outrage at police brutality will bring about a greater degree of freedom for all of us. But I'm not holding my breath. Instead, I think it will ultimately be down to us to get a hell of a lot better at protecting ourselves (and others) from G20 style policing.

45 comments:

Metcountymounty said...

I'm not TSG, I'm a front line officer on a response team and have been public order trained for pretty much all my career in the Met. In the same post you referred to I also said "Personally, I don't like the tactic because every single time we've done it I've had to say literally hundreds of times "no I don't think you're a protestor or are going to cause trouble, but I can't let you through, sorry" and to be honest it's a royal pain in the arse because we can see it on the faces of people who would traditionally support us that the support is now gone"

Interesting post and I agree with a lot of it, but I definitely think as a society the time has come for a debate on the Policing of public order tactics to see what everyone wants us to do. At least then they can have an honest look at what it is we are actually trained to do and what we have to deal with in the context of large scale public order because it is by its very nature as far removed from normal community Policing as we can possibly get.

Really Fit said...

Apologies MCM, for tarring you with the TSG brush.

Just want to make it clear that I am not in any way justifying police public order tactics. Personally, I'd much rather not get shoved about and hit over the head with a baton, I've had too many stitches as it is. And hitting people who are not hitting you is just bullying of the lowest order.

I'd love to have a proper open debate - particularly about police surveillance and data gathering strategies, about the ways in which protesters are targetted and the intimidation and harassment which results.

I'd quite like to have a proper open debate about the activities of ACPO and their 'extremism' units, and the ways in which they use police resources to 'support' business against political protest.

I'd also like to have a proper debate about why certain crimes such as large scale tax avoidance, corporate negligence and politicians fiddling their expense accounts arent treated as crime when fiddling your housing benefit will get you send to prison. And why poor areas get policed very differently to their affluent neighbours.

And why suspected 'terrorists' keep getting arrested without any evidence of any terrorist activity.

Oh, lots of things.

Can't see it happening though

Anonymous said...

RE Kettling, there seem to be only 2 options (both at extremes) here, Kettle or Dispurse, how about a third of just leave alone unless someone actually causes a problem and in that case deal with it?

Metcountymounty said...

that's the European option. Just look at recent riots at demos in Paris or Strasbourg. That's what happens if you leave well alone and deal with it as and when something happens. It takes time to get enough resources in place to deal with it effectively and by the time you have done that it's escalated beyond control and you have to use significantly increased levels of force to bring it under control.

Anonymous said...

third option looks to be a good one then...

Anonymous said...

I regularly read articles on your site, some I agree with and some I don't but either way it makes good reading.

Understandably the cordoning tactics do cause animosity and upset to all involved but I just can't see any other form of tactic that would work.

If left alone the crowd mood will believe the police to be subservient and the ante will be raised.

On that basis protesters cannot simply be left alone until the trouble erupts, I am fully aware that the vast majority of protesters are peaceful however the minority that wish to cause damage and enjoy the mayhem of a public order situation are the ones ruining it for the rest of the protesters, if there actions were lawful, police would not engage.

My bug bear is that when police are being chanted at 'FUCK THE POLICE' and 'SHAME ON YOU'. It has to be remembered that these people are the 1st people you would call if YOU were in trouble, they are also human beings that are completing a job to support their families, you can't help but think when you see the same protesters over and over again, if you injected as much effort into a job or into volunteering in the community, you WOULD be making the world a better place.

I think we both need to look closer to home, if you eradicate the anarchist protestors looking for violence and if the police eradicate those officers seeking lawful violence, protests would not be front page news and no one would be sadly dying.

Anonymous said...

You're quite right, protests without 'violent anarchists' do not make front page news. Or any type of news. In fact, 'peaceful' protests are not only routinely ignored, they are treated with contempt by the politians.

But you miss the point. Anarchists are not violent. Breaking the windows of RBS is not violence, it is property damage. Resisting the violence of the police is called self defence. Anarchists do not drop bombs, cause poverty and starvation, or invade other countries. That's violence.

Clovis said...

I've yet to see a football match where fans shouted the famous chant 'the referee's a wanker' until some questionable decision was made. 'Fuck the police' falls into much the same category. As for 'shame on you', I can't understand why someone could take umbrage at that. The problem with the 'shame on you' chant is that it assumes the people on the receiving end have the capacity to feel embarrassment.

As for the old adage that the police only step in when nasty violent protesters hijack a demonstration, it generally seems that people turn violent following the police stepping in. As numerous sources have documented about the G20, there was no trouble until the people at Bank had been corralled. You yourself say "Understandably the cordoning tactics do cause animosity and upset to all involved but I just can't see any other form of tactic that would work." But if the cordons cause animosity and upset to all involved they're clearly not working!

Perhaps treating people like adults instead of as a group of thugs would lead to a lessening of antagonism. But I expect it's a step too far for the police, who after all have budgets to justify.

Anonymous said...

ALF and SHAC anarchists sent IEDs through the post to people's homes. Anarchists at the israeli embassy demos set fire to a starbucks with someone inside. Strasbourg anarchists set fire to a fucking hotel for christ sake.

Clovis said...

"Anarchists at the israeli embassy demos set fire to a starbucks with someone inside"

I take it you have some proof of this.

Anonymous said...

listen to this

anon 11.40 says - blah blah "if the police eradicate those officers seeking lawful violence". Says it all.
Get out of here with your criminal tendencies. You are lending yourself to the violent suppression of legitimate protest against a state apparatus engaged in illegal genocidal war on two separate fronts right now. You are actively supporting these brutal international criminal adventures, the killing of men, women and children who have in NO way threatened this country and its citizens, when you attack peaceful demonstrators. Your murderous behaviour is now being filmed - your tactics are being righteously turned against you, and you have the temerity even then to lie in your teeth till forced to accept your guilt. You have no business thinking that you are in a position to declare the following "On that basis protesters cannot simply be left alone until the trouble erupts"
You're an arrogant shit, sir/madam, a traitor to the society wherein you were nurtured, a collaborator with the warmongers.

Go look up the traditional fate of spies and traitors.

Clovis said...

incidentally, anon 1343, i'd like to see some proof that it was anarchists and not, for example, provocateurs, who torched the hotel in strasbourg.

Anonymous said...

clovis - http://www.eastlondonadvertiser.co.uk/content/towerhamlets/advertiser/news/story.aspx?brand=elaonline&category=news&tBrand=northlondon24&tCategory=newsela&itemid=WeED13%20Jan%202009%2020%3A43%3A18%3A030

and re Strasbourg, how are you supposed to have proof it wasn't? by the very nature of being a provocatuer they wouldn't be wearing Police uniforms would they?

Clovis said...

I don't see how an article about a man banned from Canary Wharf goes any way to substantiate your point.

As for Strasbourg, I have seen articles saying it was anarchists (eg Daily Mail) and articles saying it was provocateurs.

Anonymous said...

sent an IED indeed.

A team of Sturmgruppen Terrortruppen Robocops stormed a family house in Forest Gate at 3am, a family house with four generations of people - from elderly to babes in arms. They shot a man in the chest and spread rumours via Murdoch's gutter press and the BBC that 'his brother diddit' - as usual no charges were brought against the family and of course no copper appeared in court to account for his brutish, violent, potentially fatal and totally unnecessary action.

Don't you dare spout about dangerous citizens. The police regularly kill people in this country using a variety of tactics - including shootings,beatings in custody and mowing down in the street with vehicles - oh and of course cowardly blows with truncheons from behind - and when last did any one of these perps go to prison?? Or even to court.

Anonymous said...

clovis, I don't know what you did to that link?

A FIRE bomb was hurled into the premises of a cafe and coffee bar in London’s East End in the early hours of this morning.

It was one of a series of ‘hate’ incidents in Whitechapel which have included anti-Semitic graffiti, believed to be linked to protests over Israel’s operations in Gaza.

The thugs hurled the petrol bomb through the front glass door of Starbucks in Whitechapel Road, 300 yards from Brick Lane, at 1am.

The manager was trapped in the office at the back and saw the intruders smashing their way into the premises on the CCTV and had to stay hidden.

A senior fire brigade officer told the East London Advertiser: “The manager feared for his safety and kept out of sight when the firebomb was hurled.

“Then he managed to get out through the fire escape at the back to raise the alarm.”

The fire damaged the carpet, tables and several glass panels.

But firefighters managed to prevent flames spreading to the rest of the building.

Police forensic experts later sealed off the cafe. The CCTV footage was also being examined in the hunt for the fire-bombers.

No-one was hurt in the attack and there were no customers in the premises which had already closed for the night.

Scotland Yard said one line of inquiry was that it was “racially motivated” following the fighting in Gaza.

Starbucks, whose American chief executive Howard Schultz is Jewish, confirmed the attack in a statement today, saying none of its staff or customers were affected and they we’re co-operating with the investigations.

Just four hours earlier, a gang of youths hurled a brick at a Tesco delivery van half-a-mile away, then attacked the driver as he drove through Canon Street Road. The 45-year-old driver was later treated for a head injury and needed seven stitches.

Cops said the youths were Asian, who were wearing dark tops and may have been seen outside a fast food restaurant earlier.

The new Tesco Metro supermarket in Stepney’s Commercial Road was targeted at the weekend when several windows were smashed and the words ‘kill Jews’ was daubed in paint.

The same slogan was daubed on the wall of a children’s playground on Whitechapel’s Chicksand housing estate last week.

Clovis said...

And which bit of that says 'anarchists firebombed a starbucks'?

Clovis said...

Oh - anonymous 1432, try the link you pasted and see what you get.

Anonymous said...

anon 1430 - the brother (who was a paedo by the way - convicted)admitted having a fight with the SFO on the stairs when the round was shot hitting the other one. next?

Clovis said...

This bit about anarchists and bombs is getting dull, when there seems a distinct lack of evidence for it. Future repetitive posts will be deleted.

Clovis said...

to last anon (1436):

it's my understanding that a) he wasn't charged with child porn offences, and b) it was a police smear. any more posts on that topic will be deleted. this isn't a message board, and these comments have already been dragged far enough off-topic by your comments.

Anonymous said...

Clearly ANON 13:49 is unable to respect an opinion and has clearly swallowed too many 'I must protest, as for 1 day it makes me feel important and powerful' pills.

legitimate protest? illegal genocide? police killing people??

What the hell are you talking about?

You have clearly been watching too much american tv!

You all think that there is a police conspiracy or a personal vendetta against you but the truth is that you are very insignificant........police want to be catching rapists, uncovering sex offenders, preventing crime and having to tolerate an attempt to disrupt a multi-million pound company is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

Police don't want to hurt you, police want nothing to do with you, they deal with dangerous criminals on a day to day basis and therefore 'together we will stand strong' is bollocks as the greater picture paints you as quite an insignificant pain in the arse.

You purport to be freedom fighters and have passion and respect etc etc however the majority of posts I read are derogatory towards police.

I have met, seen and filmed violent protestors however do I tar you all with the same brush - NO I DON'T and therefore the same should apply where referring to the police.

I just want to clarify that I am most certainly not a traitor to society in so far as when you are asleep in bed I and my colleagues are the ones preventing your house getting burgled, putting your nan back into bed when she pushes her care alarm and catching the drunk drivers to stop them crashing into you. Thats what I do for society - what do you do?

My job is to gather evidence, I do this with PRIDE, RESPECT and HUMILITY and will capture the best evidence of the worst offence, what I would not dream of doing is creating a website and posting images with witticisms to feel important. The photographs taken of protestors are dealt with the utmost confidentiality and are subject of the data protection and article 8 of the HRA - not banded around for all to abuse!

I understand your reasons, I empathise and I respect your views within reason but you will never gain anything and I urge you all to inject your times and effort into spending time with loved ones or hobbies as I would hate any of you to have regrets.

There is more to life!! See you mayday!

Clovis said...

Right, those cops seen whacking people on 1 & 2 April weren't enjoying doing it, just like the cops who beat up Gary Stretch hated every minute of it, like the police who beat up a girl I know in the cells of a police station had to be forced to hit her again and again and again. I'm sorry, the litany of police assaults on members of the public at demonstrations and elsewhere suggests that there are many police, over very many years, who simply enjoy inflicting pain on people. Perhaps you've never heard of Liddle Towers? What about Patrick Quinn? Or Diarmuid O'Neill?

No, the police have never had difficulty finding officers to beat people up, to fit people up, or worse.

Given the way the police band together to prevent the truth about deaths in custody and elsewhere, or injuries inflicted, or fit-ups, it's perfectly reasonable to be at least apprehensive of them. Have you forgotten the Tottenham Three, Guildford Four, Birmingham Six - or the attempted fit-ups of the 12 men recently arrested after Bob Quick's cock-up?

Given that a couple of years ago Graham Melvin, who framed Winston Silcott, Engin Raghip and Mark Braithwaite, was President of the Ex-CID Officers of the Met Police, it's not like his colleagues saw anything wrong with the way he behaved. Haven't you heard about how he interviewed a nearly naked 13 year-old in his quest to convict Silcott and the others? Not exactly working with respect and humility.

And respect and humility few people would associate with the police these days, unless it's how the police expect us to behave towards them.

Incidentally, when you say you've filmed 'violent protesters', do you mean protesters being violent, or protesters you believe will be violent? Given the way that 'evidence gatherers' work, I wouldn't be in the least surprised if you've filmed mostly people who had no intention of being violent. It's good to be reminded that you keep your photographs and film secure, so secure, in fact, that the people who you've filmed have immense difficulty getting their hands on copies of the images.

You've come to the right place for derogatory remarks about the police. If you're after arslikhan, you'd do better to go elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

I thought this blog was supposed to talk about Old Bill in blue Hi viz jackets.

Clovis said...

traditionally. but the irruption of ob posters has led to discussions getting somewhat off topic

Anonymous said...

Anon 15:18, you write:

"I just want to clarify that I am most certainly not a traitor to society in so far as when you are asleep in bed I and my colleagues are the ones preventing your house getting burgled, putting your nan back into bed when she pushes her care alarm..."

Where were you for Peter Woodhams?

http://tottenhamlad.blogspot.com/2006/08/peter-woodhams-murder-victim.html

Anonymous said...

@15:18

It is true that there are decent, intelligent, morally correct policemen and women.
Let me qualify my statement about traitors and so on to say that there are a number of police out there who act in a fashion which attracts that pejorative title.

Apologies and respect to those who are not.

As you point out there are a great many instances where you are called upon to act in situations way beyond my experience and, I dare say, my capabilities.

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

Kettling and dispersion are not the only options. There is also the radical idea of letting the demonstration run its course and allowing demonstrators to reach their final destination and hear the speakers who are usually part of the deal.

Police action should be limited to ensuring that demonstrators stick to the route and keep moving more or less.

Police action should NOT involve wrongful arrests for photographing them, macho over the top going in with batons over any perceived minor misdemeanor, nor intimidatory surveilance and evidence gathering.

It can happen, of the 3 very large demos I have attended the one that kicked off was entirely started by the police (Poll Tax) yet the protests over mine closures and the Iraq war were entirely peaceful.

Oh year, and respect journalists (note, this does not mean leaving an RBS branch hanging out to dry then standing around while the hired thugs smash it up for the benefits of photographers).

Essentially, police need to remember that we pay their wages and they operate by our consent, noy by their right.

Anonymous said...

I think the most interesting point made is that the police need to remember that they police by consent. I really hope a thorough review is conducted of policing tactics. During that review the views of the majority and the minority should be heard, which is why, in my humble opinion, they have this tactic of kettling in the first place. No matter how big the demo was it was still a minority of people who were there, the majority probably don't want the city smashed up, would want the police to prevent that and are more interested that the protest doesn't lengthen their drive by causing traffic congestion than worrying about the police hitting protesters.

Clovis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Clovis said...

>0259

I don't think you've quite grasped this 'by consent' bit. It doesn't mean that what the majority want goes. It means by consent as opposed to by force, or politicised policing directed by the government of the day, so people in effect agree to be policed. Obviously that's a narrow line to walk, and in terms of public order policing, even an avid supporter of the police has this to say:

On the face of it, public order policing in contemporary Britain remains a triumph of 'policing by consent'. However, political protest is still largely conducted on terms determined by the police. In other words, their interests are served and in doing so the interests of protesters are, at least, compromised. Protest is emasculated and induced to conform to the avoidance of trouble. In police argot, protest organisers are 'had over'.
PAJ Waddington, Liberty & Order, 1994, 197-8
He's talking about a to b marches, but the same thing applies to any demonstration: the police put their corporate interests ahead of the interests of protesters - and, dare I say, ahead of the community as a whole. Take Mayday 2001. Long after any danger of disorder had passed, the police kept thousands of people trapped in Oxford Circus. The West End was effectively shut down at the police's whim.

It would better serve the interests of the majority to allow protest to proceed, which would allow it to come to a natural conclusion rather than to have people kept in cordons until the police think they can register a victory. Chances are everything would have been over in the City on 1/4 by five or six had the police not kettled people.

Having been on demonstrations in a number of foreign cities, including Dublin and Paris, it's interesting to note how frequently the Metropolitan Police put larger numbers of officers out for a to b marches than do their foreign counterparts. It is as though there were some policy decision to raise the tension on demonstrations which are highly likely to pass off without event, but for the intrusive surveillance of the police. What it boils down to is, do the police need to know who is on a peaceful demonstration, on the off-chance they'll at some later date as yet unknown be violent? As it occurs now, that can become largely a self-fulfilling prophecy in that people can and do become sick of being photographed, observed and noted at every turn.

As for the rights of the majority, when the rights of a minority become abridged, everyone's rights are compromised. It is stupid to see this as an 'us and them' situation, because when an issue arises which attracts a different minority, such as the hunters, their experience is little different from those of anarchists. I don't doubt many of the hunters have applauded violent police action when not directed at them. What has happened, when both anarchists and hunters have been subject to the same malign attentions, is that the police have become incapable of dealing with contentious situations without launching attacks on the demonstrating public. Given that this has happened to such opposed groups as hunters, football supporters and anarchists could be argued to demonstrate police impartiality. But, more worryingly and with more substance it should be seen as a tendency within the police to treat people not immediately compliant to their wishes as enemies, and enemies against whom it is acceptable to use a great degree of force.

Obviously any demonstration, or any football match, is going to attract a minority of the population. But it is how another minority - the police - treats these groups which indicates the health of society. If this really were the tolerant and liberal democracy which is so often claimed, then I don't believe that such incidents would occur. The truth is that we are living in a society in which democratic control of the police is at best marginal, in which government control of so-called local forces is immense, and in which certain groups of people can have force up to and including lethal directed at them without, most of the time, arousing great indignation.

The experiences of those out in the City at the start of the month are likely to become familiar to other 'minorities' who have not as yet had the pleasure of encountering them, and if some of the police commentators are correct even bigger treats are in store in the future. I wonder what this nebulous 'majority' of which you speak will feel when it's them, their family or friends, who are on the receiving end.

Really Fit said...

Some of the police comments here are good examples of how the police will seek to justify their tactics against 'violent' protesters.

What does 'violent' mean? People who resist police efforts to restrict thier movement and cordon them in? People who would break a window of RBS, a bank who's negiligence has contributed to thousands losing jobs and homes, while the boss keeps his multi-million pound pension? People who would attack the state in Strasbourg, while NATO (an undeniably and truly violent organisation) is protected?

Yes, lets have the 'European' option. Let's have protest being left alone by police. If you don't want the property damage that can result from this, how about looking at some political solutions to the things people are angry about, rather than just paying increasing numbers of police to clamp down on it?

Anonymous said...

If policing must be by consent, why do the police have powers to use force to enact their PACE powers, or is this not what is meant by policing by consent? Genuinely confused, please help.

Anonymous said...

George Orwell

"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf"

Anonymous said...

Anon 15.18 says

"Police don't want to hurt you, police want nothing to do with you, they deal with dangerous criminals on a day to day basis ...the greater picture paints you as quite an insignificant pain in the arse."

Then please explain why police devote such huge resources to
a) getting convictions for minor offences like obstructing the highway or trespass (which never used to be a criminal offence anyway)
b) amassing huge amounts of data on us, not just by photographing demos but by monitoring websites, discussion groups etc
c) setting up three national police (ACPO) units to deal with 'extremism'
d) paying 'tens of thousands of pounds' over the years to informants in enviromental and 'left-extremist' groups?

Oh come on. You might think us an insignificant pain in the arse, (and who knows, you could be right!) but the people who pay your wages appear to think otherwise, don't they?

And as we are clearly not the 'dangerous criminals' you refer to above, can you ask your 'colleagues' to stop trying to nick us for violent disorder and criminal damage all the bloody time? Ta.

Anonymous said...

I think you make the point excellently, ACPO care, the coppers who are on the cordons are probably as bemused as to why ACPO throw so many resources at you as they are. I think the occasional nod to the fact that the policy makers are never out there putting up with their idiotic decisions would help everyone get along a little better.

gene hunt said...

''can you ask your 'colleagues' to stop trying to nick us for violent disorder and criminal damage all the bloody time? Ta.''

stop causing criminal damage and violent disorder then, if you do this you might stop getting nicked. Just an idea.

AndyM12 said...

Hi, really interesting blog you have here. I'm afraid I've only been recently awakened to the issues you cover, having been present at the G20. However I have been getting off my backside and doing stuff about it.

I'm organising a group called defend peaceful protest
www.defendpeacefulprotest.org

We are shortly launching a debate on Protest Policing on our website and a number of blogs are likely to be covering this, if your interested as FIT experts in offering advice and expriences I would bery much appreciate them.

Jim said...

Thanks Gene Hunt, you write:

"stop causing criminal damage and violent disorder then, if you do this you might stop getting nicked. "

Whilst helpful in itself, your suggestion fails to address the problem. Law-abiding members of the public face arrest for these offences even when they have not committed them.

This news video (1.5 mins) documents such a case. A Manchester resident was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage even though, not only had he not caused any criminal damage, and not only was there no obvious reason to suspect that he had done, but no damage had even taken place, either criminal or otherwise.

I am sure followers of this thread would be grateful for any further advice you have to offer.

Best wishes,
Jim

Anonymous said...

Jim, you agree with Gene then.

Jim said...

What makes you think that?

Clovis said...

probably an inability to read

Anonymous said...

it only says you MIGHT stop getting nicked

Clovis said...

Yes. Because there are after all other things the police nick people far apart from criminal damage and violent disorder.

But, as Jim pointed out, you don't in fact have to have done anything and there doesn't need to be any evidence of a crime before the police arrest someone.

Be that as it may, I can't see this line of debate developing far.

gene hunt said...

''But, as Jim pointed out, you don't in fact have to have done anything and there doesn't need to be any evidence of a crime before the police arrest someone.''

No your right police arrest everyone on suspicion as everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law or by their own admission.
I cant comment on this particular case however I doubt a police officer would arrest someone unless they had to they do have homes and families to go to.