Friday, 3 April 2009

G20

Along with the vast majority of my colleagues in the Met, and those from the county forces, BTP and the City, I'm absolutely shattered. It's been a long couple of weeks - thankfully with some variety - but that was mainly because we didn't have enough people or kit to fill all of the posts. As a result public order serials went short, search teams went short, vehicles were plundered and all teams but predominantly response, were decimated.

Those who were on were constantly retasked at the last minute, many came on with no idea what they'd be doing or what kit they needed because their duties had been chopped and changed so much that no one had a clue. The vast majority didn't care anyway, we just got on with it. If you have infinite resources then you can cater for most eventualities and keep a good body of personnel available for fluid and spontaneous incidents.

Not even the Met is big enough for that, especially in the current economic climate with budgets very tightly controlled in lieu of paying for plenty of back up. Standing at the forward command area at the ExCeL and seeing how much was involved from Level 3 PC's for area security through to the SFO's, helicopter crews, public order teams, search teams it was quite awe inspiring really. Christ knows how we're going to deal with the Olympics, that's going to be ten times bigger and will go on for months and not just a couple of weeks.

I've no doubt an awful lot will be arranged at the last minute and will be sorted out on the hoof, that's how we usually do it anyway.

Most officers were on extended shifts (12 hours minimum though most did 16+ each day) and when things went properly pearshaped we had no relief and were just kept on, regardless of when we were due to start the next day. On the 1st for example, most of the serials were on an 0800 start, they didn't finish until 0200 and were then due back on for 0430 - so much for a minimum of 11 hours between shifts. After spending 14 hours getting battered with bottles and poles in one of the cordons in the City we were retasked to clear and take the climate camp.

Before we cleared the camp I was walking around trying to find somewhere to sit down and the streets were littered with shattered public order teams trying to get some food and fluids, others were trying to get a couple of minutes shut eye before we went back in. When you're that knackered you don't really care that your new found pillow is a kerb covered in broken glass and debris.

Before anyone says we milked the overtime so why complain, we were all on cancelled rest days so no one had any overtime except normal time+3rd after 12 hours. After two weeks of extended shifts, no one wants the overtime anyway, we all just need sleep.

When I can get my head together and sort my very knackered legs and feet out I'll be putting some more posts up, in the mean time I'm going to enjoy the family stuff, go to the zoo and get some much needed rest. In lieu of some decent vids of some of the action, here's a brilliant vid I was told about whilst getting rained on by bottles of Becks -



Metcountymounty.

51 comments:

Blue Eyes said...

Welcome back Mr MCM!

If they cancel your rest days do they give it back at some point or do you just go without your proper time off?

My overall impression is that the Met did rather well - but then again perhaps it was luck than thousands more didn't come and ask for trouble. Difficult for an "outsider" to tell, really.

Get some sleep!!

Metcountymounty said...

The rest day goes back into a bank which we can claim as and when we allocate annual leave. That said though, I've got lots of days I haven't been able to take and lots of leave that has been rejected because we are short staffed. I'll get the day back eventually, just no idea when!!

johnny void said...

just wanted to mention that violently attacking and injuring scores of middle class and entirely peaceful kids whilst clearing the climate camp gave us one of the greatest propaganda victories in years

many thanks from an anarchist

PC Michael Pinkstone said...

Blue Eyes' welcome back seconded here MCM.

"When you're that knackered you don't really care that your new found pillow is a kerb covered in broken glass and debris."

Good effort all.

Anonymous said...

Johny...

Ah you see there's that self-important/self -delusional thing that all nutters suffer from.

Plenty of 'kids' seem to manage to stab, beat and shot people to death (or do you only read the Guardian?)

Middle Class Kids? Plenty of spoilt thugs to be found there too, not just in the under classes; it's all about parenting sonny not money!

As for you're 'Propagand Victory' that would exist only amongst your fellow hooded black garbed brick throwing friends. I'm a working class chap (Mummy and Daddy couldn't afford to treat me or my brother Hector to a BMW for our eighteenth birthdays) and I don't know a single friend, relative, colleage, or fellow bus passenger who regards your ilk is nothing more than a bunch of spoilt little louts with ego's the size of the national debt.

It's not about 'saving the planet' or global poverty' or 'injustice' it's about feeling so much more superior to everyone else, by hiding behind laudable causes just so you behave like the rabble you are.

Grow up you spoilt little child!

Hibbo said...

Thank you for your selfless hard-work in keep those students at bay and putting an end to their illegal ukulele playing. The proud bankers can once again go about their business safely again.

Looking forward to some new posts, take it easy MCM.

Area Trace No Search said...

All good fun, wasn't it?

More than a little tired myself, still feeling it now. I did a silly amount of hours, although I haven't added up exactly how many yet.

Not sure I want to know...

Sounds like we were in the same spots at the same events mate - did you see the all female carrier I mentioned?

Louise said...

The footage I've seen since the G20 has reinforced the fact that I know I couldn't do your job.

Unfortunately the police as usual, with help of commenters like Johnny, will get the ear bashing for the disruption outside RBS and not the actual participants you were trying to control.

Look forward to hearing more.

thespecialone said...

Anonymous at 2246. Brilliant post. I too, am from a working-class council estate and have never been treated to a BMW by mummy and daddy. A lot of the problems we have are not from the council estate (well not always!) ...but from the more upmarket areas of town where mummy and daddy give their little darlings £20 to go and annoy someone else when they get pissed at the age of 15.

Peekok said...

I've never had anything against peaceful protest, I think it is the key to democracy and if a million people were to march on Parliament to make it known that the entire country (...) taken from https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=2136725710155499318&postID=3912801862816015059&pli=1

Mounty: to clear and take the climate camp. - did you enjoyed it? I was there when the Met started "clearing" the camp. I am angry. UK police has lost its legitimacy. You were not protecting the public by any stretch. Dude, WTF? Where are your ethics? How can you justify such actions?

Anonymous said...

PS Comment

Johnny sounds like one of the black Hoodies that were there at the front......

One thing I noticed when I was at the front I easily justified a few well placed kicks to the shins of the people punching Old Bill. Imagine my surprise when I felt pads under their clothing.......Now they were either on their way to a hockey match, where the team colours are all black, no deodorant and plenty of body hair. Or they came prepared for a tear up and cried when they got exactly what they wanted.

Oh and by the way I was posted as a Medic and had free rein to go whatever PSU I wanted and I treated no less than 7 injured officers. The majority of the people that remained or approached police lines were NOT peaceful protesters, they were antagonistic, violent, ill mannered Berks. (Rhyming Slang, div’nt ya know!)

For once it seemed like the Chiefs got it right!

One thing that tickled me was when it was dark and we pushed the crowd back, some cop tapped me on the shoulder and said,” Oi, Medic. Do you want some water?” I said “No, Mate!”. Imagine my surprise when I took a double take and noted it was The City Police Commissioner dishing out Aqua to the troops!

Where was Tea pot One!?


Out!

Metcountymounty said...

Johnny - first and foremost - MIDDLE CLASS HAS FUCK ALL TO DO WITH ANYTHING. The reason we cleared the camp was because of the hundreds of people who were watched attacking officers and property who then buggered off to the camp after being released from the cordon at several points during the day. The climate camp served it's purpose of taking a street for the day and making a nice commune in the middle of the city to raise the point, it also became a refuge for people who had nothing but violent intent and it was completely unacceptable to let it remain.

Just like the squats were raided and groups were arrested prior to, and immediately after the demo, the camp was dispersed because of specific people who were in there and others willing to protect them.

We asked nicely, they chose to stay there, tough shit as far as I'm concerned. If anyone feels that we were heavy handed then quite frankly they had seen nothing compared to what was originally planned that night, let alone what we could really role out if need be and they were given numerous chances to go peacefully. If anyone thinks that every single person within that camp was a peace loving protestor who had never done anything so violent as disturb a hair on an pretty ickle bunnies head before then they got what their naivety brought them.

And whilst I'm on the subject of 'middle class' and protestors, I've seen mail sent IED's sent by SHAC and ALF - predominantly "middle class" - that would (and very nearly did) take a kids arms and head off. And I'm not talking about one offs, I'm talking about loads of the fucking things, as well as blowing people's cars up outside their houses and leaving dirty syringes in mail bags that anyone can get in to. Some of those people are proper nasty bastards who don't give a shit who they hurt and when they turn up at demos they are no different. We both know the kind of people who attend demos and who planned extreme action over the G20 and if you want to blame someone then blame them. As I have said before peaceful protest is essential in a democracy, but as soon as it becomes violent or people openly advertise their intention to use violence then they bring whatever happens on themselves.

PCMP - cheers mate, sterling efforts all round I think, the support staff had just as much of a hard time as everyone else. The job really needs to sort it's shit out for the Olympics though, there is no way we can keep that up for more than a couple of weeks, there are still people on who are into their 14th day straight, of which most have been 16+ hour days and they look like zombies.

Hibbo - thanks mate, I haven't forgotten about the traffic ones either, it's looking at the mo that I'm going to have run them over a couple of them by the time I finish them off!

Area - we probably were at the same jobs (and have been before...) but I missed the all female carrier. It is nice to see at large gatherings that the Police do actually employ a rather large number of attractive (and capable/intelligent/professional etc) female officers, we just all must wonder where the hell they normally work!

Louise - thanks and congrats again on completing your probation! I've been to plenty of jobs where the fact that paramedics (and technicians of course!) have turned up and taken over because it's been way too much us has been an absolute relief. Never underestimate how much Police officers admire and respect what you guys do, you're our best friends!!

thespecialone - couldn't agree more.

Peekok - Did I enjoy it? only in so much as the second we turned up we all recognised people who had been giving us shite for the last 16 hours. By the time we cleared the camp every single officer there was completely fucked, we'd been on since early doors and just wanted to go home. As I said in response to Johnny, everyone there knew that some of their fellow camp dwellers had been violent in the past and on that day, everyone had more than enough opportunities to leave and they didn't. We were protecting the public in so far as clearing a refuge for those who had planned and to some extent had been violent towards Police and property, don't be naive and think that everything would have been peaches and cream if we left everyone there. Even if only a small percentage of people had been planning anything then by letting them stay there ruined the camps legitimacy. You might not have done anything to warrant a forceful eviction, but don't think for a second that every single person around you was in the same boat.

PS Comment - we had a couple of BTP and City Ch.Insps come round to our cordon and dished out water and a few choccies too!! I've never seen that before on aid, even when we'd been on long days, it's always been a case of sort yourselves out before you go and take everything you'll need as it's all you'll get. Also, MASSIVE gripe about the lack of refs whilst we were on, breakfast at 0800, manky sandwich that tasted like congealed babyfood on bread in the snack bag and then sod all until well into 0100 when someone turned up with some more manky sandwiches and a large box of picnics which cheered me up a bit. A hot burger or even cup of manky soup and a brew from TeapotOne wouldn't have gone amiss, as everyone knows you can get a lot of extra miles out of a PSU just by providing some hot food to eat and a hot brew and there was nothing to be seen. As I said, there are some huge issues with the lengths of shifts and complete lack of planning to look after us but it's always been like that as you well know!

Blue Eyes said...

That is pretty crap about the refs. They can't seriously expect you to be on top form for nearly 24 hours without a proper feed, can they? I expect there were plenty of sandwiches for the upper echelons!!

Next time what you need to do is get some Specials to bring you a van full of supplies and a portable BBQ. Make a day of it.

TheBinarySurfer said...

"Saved" Rest days are a running joke almost.

I had a friend leave the force last year, had 4 months worth of rest days and holiday saved which he ended up taking in pay - crazy since he'd only been in 3 years!

thoughts running through my head.... said...

* I missed the all female carrier. It is nice to see at large gatherings that the Police do actually employ a rather large number of attractive (and capable/intelligent/professional etc) female officers, we just all must wonder where the hell they normally work!*
on that note,where do all the fit men work?cos they sure aint in my force!!!

would you? said...

On Ian Tomlinson. Obviously the officer who was filmed striking Mr Tomlinson and then pushing him over was a bad egg; that's not typical police behaviour, but why did the other officers just stand there and do nothing? When you witness a criminal assault like that, aren't you supposed to do something? Like arrest the perpetrator? I mean, the police aren't above the law, so why wasn't that officer arrested? And why didn't the police witnesses to the assault come forward when we were initially told an incorrect story about this crime?

Anonymous said...

Look at this thug hitting the poor copper with a pole

http://tiny.cc/SeCu5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bV-7JdgtyCk&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Elettersfromatory%2Ecom%2F2009%2F04%2F08%2Fg20%2Dprotest%2Ddeath%2Dwas%2Dnot%2Das%2Dsimple%2Das%2Dthe%2Dleft%2Dportray%2F&feature=player_embedded

Tim said...

Given recent developments, I'd appreciate some views from members of the police; under what circumstances would you consider it proper or acceptable practice to hide, alter or mask your badge number?

Anonymous said...

I had every sympathy with police action to break up the climate camp, because I thought they were acting to prevent a further breach of the law, i.e. causing an obstruction. But now you say that the real reason was because you didn't like the people who were there. That is neither an acceptable nor (as far as I know) legal reason to move people on.

If these people were "watched attacking officers and property", why were they allowed to move on to the climate camp instead of being arrested and charged? If, in fact, they were not seen to commit criminal offences, then why did you feel it necessary to disperse them?

Constable Confused.com said...

You have been pointed out on another blog. They have classed me as spam again.

http://www.pickledpolitics.com/archives/4102#comments

Point 41 I think it was.

Rgards.

Metcountymounty said...

Blue Eyes - that would require some decent prior planning, which was a tad lacking...

TBS - I had the same thing when I left my old force, best part of 3 months I think, didn't get paid anything like their value in rest days for them. bastards.

Thoughts - touché!!

Anon 0756 - would I? yep, have done numerous times before. The problem with establishing a cordon and moving through a crowd is that you are given a point to clear and if someone doesn't want to go or they are being deliberately belligerent (which may or may not be the case) then you have to use force, you can't fuck about with negotiation with every single person to ask them ever so nicely if they would possibly perhaps consider moving. Please. In a public order situation Police officers are there as a level of force, we're not community Policing and the rules are different, even if most people (including me in some cases) disagree strongly with that.

I've had to clear crowds back outside clubs and people deliberately stand with their back to you so you have to push them - then you have a nice vid of a Police officer using force against someone who wasn't doing anything and wasn't even facing them, and yes a few people have been thrown or fallen over and probably sustained at least bruising but it comes down to justifiable use of force which can be investigated later if necessary, as in this case.

The same happens with public order situations like G20, experienced demonstrators know what looks good on camera (like holding their hands up in the air whilst kicking officers in the legs and groin off camera to provoke a reaction, like we had at Sipson a couple of years ago and at the climate camp on the wednesday night) and you really don't know who or what you've got so you have to follow your training and established tactics, which appears to be the case.

I'm not going to rush to judgement on this one because I have been in exactly that situation before, there was escalation of force from pushing, to a baton strike to a shield strike and we don't know what happened immediately prior to the video, if anything. I've done it lots of times as has anyone who has worked a decent public order incident, I just hope that the officer who put the strikes in wrote his statement up afterwards and I've just seen on sky that the officer has contacted the IPCC directly.

I saw what happened after Mr Tomlinson had collapsed where a female approached a serial and medics were sent in, had numerous items thrown at them and then them casevacing him to the paramedics. There will undoubtedly be more videos, possibly including CCTV or photographs so we'll have to wait for the IPCC investigation to finish.

Tim - I wouldn't because there is no point? if someone wants to find out who I am on a job it's relatively easy, even if I'm not wearing epaulettes. That does occasionally happen but only because I haven't got a lot and I've got a locker full of tops and only a couple of pairs of numbers, it's easy to grab a jacket and later realise that you took them off to put on a high vis or a shirt. In some cases, such as with FIT officers they can remove their name badge or display only their warrant number for personal safety reasons such as extremely unique surnames, but even then it's not that hard to find out who someone is. There have been occasions where people have deliberately targeted officers or followed them after work to find out where they live whether its from a crime or a demonstration job because it really isn't that hard to find out. You just have to protect yourself by simple things like being taken off voters etc.

Anon 1421 - have you ever tried to do a mass arrest during a public order incident? Arresting people is the absolute last thing you want to do, it immediately strips a massive number of resources and vehicles, that's why we gather evidence by cctv from FIT/EG officers as well as from the chopper or other officers and get them later. The decision to clear the camp was made from the top because to leave them there presented more risk because of a number of people in the camp, the only other option would again be to cordon them off and remove them one by one, but even then you aren't going to arrest everyone until you have enough evidence to put to the CPS to get a decent charge. It was their decision to clear the camp and not the officers who did it, and they will be the ones to have to justify it.

Just throwing a bottle and being seen to do it, to be honest, would get sod all if we nicked them and we'd lose the realistic prospect of prosecuting them for a much higher offence unless they were seriously nasty simply because we wasted an arrest. Tracking a person through all the cctv coverage and establishing an intention to attack officers or damage property and multiple examples of doing so in a public order incident is much more likely to get a charge of violent disorder, they can then be identified and picked up later.

Confused - I've been quoted and had some links put in from some weird places before so I'm not too concerned but thanks for the link!

Sierra Charlie said...

Thanks for the link.

Tim said...

So your answer is :"If I thought I was at risk of being stalked (which is a risk following demonstrations), but even then I wouldn't bother"...?

Just want to be sure I've got that right.

What would you do if you were advised or ordered to hide, alter or mask your badge number by a fellow officer? Would you say no, giving the above reason?

Metcountymounty said...

Tim - No, my answer was "I wouldn't because there is no point" it says so in black and white.

As for your other question, no one has ever advised me to do that, again because there is no point. I'd get in considerably more shit for knowingly giving someone my number incorrectly to try and fool them or by intentionally changing them then I ever would for not wearing them, so again, no point. If someone wants to know my shoulder number or warrant number then they can have it, it's all that I am legally required to give. Despite all the big swampy conspiracy theories, if someone hasn't got epaulettes on during a public order incident it's most likely because they forgot to put them in the bag or they had to use someone else's hi vis jacket because theirs went missing.

Tim said...

No, my answer was "I wouldn't because there is no point" it says so in black and white.

But your 'black and white' response rests on an implication that a police officer risks being stalked as a result of policing a demonstration. Would you describe this as a typical/genuine risk associated with this sort of public policing task over any other?

Just to avoid any swampy conspiracy theories, you understand. It seemed an odd concern to raise when my question was specifically about badge numbers and not name tags.

Blue Eyes said...

I think what Tim is getting at is an allegation that the officer involved in the shoving is apparently seen "earlier" in another video removing his/her epaulettes. I think Tim is trying to draw you in to a discussion of the reasons why an officer might do this and whatever your answer might be use it to crucify you or the police in general.

I doubt Tim is a fan of the police.

If the allegation is true it does look bad, but again we are into this whole discussion as to whether it is sensible to give a black or white conclusion without all the facts.

Personally I am confident that the system is robust enough to be trusted: i.e. that the IPCC will tell us one way or another whether any wrongdoing took place. Once it has amassed all the available evidence. Until then there is no point in all this speculation. IMHO.

Metcountymounty said...

Tim - although officers have been stalked or followed as the result of demos, it is considerably more likely (when does it happens) for crime jobs where they take a personal grievance. The other risk is with CT and although in the mainland UK officers are considered and have been declared legitimate targets by certain proscribed groups along with armed forces personnel, we haven't been told about any specific targeting as yet. Re the point about name tags and not shoulder numbers, it would be just as easy to swap them over if you were so inclined or to remove them completely for the same reasons wouldn't it? I still stand by what I said, if someone really wants to find out who you are it is very very easy, even if they aren't wearing shoulder numbers or had even put the wrong ones on deliberately so again, there is no point.

Blue Eyes - I'd read a news report earlier that the officer involved in the Tomlinson incident was seen earlier on without wearing epaulettes but I hadn't read that he had been seen taking them off? can you send me a link if you've got one please?

Tim said...

Blue Eyes said: "I think Tim is trying to draw you in to a discussion of the reasons why an officer might do this and whatever your answer might be use it to crucify you or the police in general. I doubt Tim is a fan of the police."

Blue Eyes, allow me to do you the courtesy of addressing you directly:

Thank you for questioning my motives and not taking my concerns on board in good faith. I'll try not to let it get in the way of a constructive conversation. I suggest you read my weblog where I make it clear that I am not anti-police.

I know the police officer involved in what Nick Hardwick clearly describes as an assault could not be identified because his face was obscured and no badge number was visible. I am yet to see footage of that officer removing his epaulettes as you describe.

Metcountymounty:

Thank you for clarifying your comments regarding stalking; IMO they did not sit well next to other material here and elsewhere denigrating protestors (and/or the late Mr Tomlinson), and I'm glad you and I can talk about this without slipping/straying into any of that. Please excuse my being so wary of it.

You said: "Re the point about name tags and not shoulder numbers, it would be just as easy to swap them over if you were so inclined or to remove them completely for the same reasons wouldn't it?"

I have seen officers at protests who have removed one letter or number from each shoulder so it gives the appearance their badge number is visible, but the number is incomplete. This strikes me as being somewhat childish and futile myself, but...

You also said: "I still stand by what I said, if someone really wants to find out who you are it is very very easy, even if they aren't wearing shoulder numbers or had even put the wrong ones on deliberately so again, there is no point."

But not if you hide your face. The IPCC is still having difficulty identifying officers who are in the footage but have not come forward, so obviously it's not easy at all in such circumstances.

I am not out to secretly corner or crucify anyone here; I made it clear that I was raising this concern in the context of the circumstances surrounding Ian Tomlinson's death, and I am trying to determine what police officers on the ground think about this practice of hiding/removing/altering badge numbers if and when they are aware of it.

Further, my question specifically sought "some views from members of the police", and did not single you or anybody else out.

You give the impression that you were not exposed to this kind of behaviour at the G20 event or anywhere else, so I guess there's not much more you can say about it (unless it's to correct me on that point or any other), but it does happen at protest events and it did happen at the G20 event.

Do keep in mind that if you have an issue with the accuracy of this eyewitness account, you will need to take it up with the legal department of the Guardian, but I will also say that it corresponds to my experience of protests in general; when push comes to shove, badge numbers often disappear:

"As their batons came down, legal observers called out to people to take the police numbers of those who had hurt protesters. En masse, the line of police all covered up their badges." - Beth McGrath

From here I suppose it's up to you if you wish to allow your weblog to be a platform for this and if you wish to allow your fellow officers to address my question as you so kindly have.

I am genuinely interested to know if it is of concern to your average police officer that this happens.... because badge numbers were not visible during an assault that may have contributed to a death, and so far there's been NO statement from the Met, CoL police or the IPCC showing any kind of concern about that specifically.

When a badge number was required to identify a single instrument of the law, badge numbers were not visible. And the officer's face was deliberately obscured.

Somewhere, the system failed to the point where individual (and malfunctioning) instruments of the law could not be identified. I'm not sensing a lot of concern about that.

FIT Watch said...

Ian Tomlinson was subject to a brutal police assault moments before he died. He had his hands in his pockets and had his back to the police. Whether or not protesters (or others) do this to get a reaction is irrelevant. The force used against him by a masked up cop with no numbers was horrific and disproportionate. His behaviour prior to this attack is also irrelevant - nothing justifys that level of force against an unarmed person, and it is disgusting any of the people here can seek to justify it.

Cops frequently conceal their identity. During the last year's climate camp, myself and a friend ended up in prison for four days for asking, and taking photographs of an officer who was not displaying his number. The charges, of obstruct and assault, were later quietly dropped.

However, just for the record, I agree with you about Sipson. The police were forced off the site because of a militant repsonse from the protesters which included a lot of kicking and pushing. I have ben equally pissed off with the non violent brigade who tried to claim this was a victory for non violence, when it was clearly a victory for using force against an unjustified incursion into the camp. Having said this, there were people in the crowd with their hands up, trying to make it non violent, and encourage others to stop fighting back but they were not the people kicking cops.

The police in this country get away with what they do because we let them, and it is time we stood up for ourselves and said enough is enough. Whether or not the police were right to clear to the g20 climate camp is questionable. However, the use of force and baton strikes used against people sitting in the road was clear unreserved brutality, and not proportionate or necessary.

Blue Eyes said...

I don't have a link. Someone at work told me about it. He is a Guardian reader so I suspect it came from there.

Climate Camp medic said...

'We asked nicely, they chose to stay there, tough shit as far as I'm concerned. If anyone feels that we were heavy handed then quite frankly they had seen nothing compared to what was originally planned that night, let alone what we could really role out if need be and they were given numerous chances to go peacefully'

I was sitting praying (really!) with friends near the south end of Climate Camp at the time of the baton charge just after 7pm, most people around me were eating dinner as the kitchen had just dished up. I'd been on-site since 12:30, had friendly chats with police during the day, and didn't hear anyone asking us to leave at all before we were kettled & forced to stay 'till the small hours. Were we really asked to leave? How? When? By who?

I did hear the loudspeaker van reading the 'Riot Act' / section something-or-other an hour or so later - did I just not hear the van also saying 'Please leave now', or was some other method of asking us to leave used?

Yes, the policing was heavy-handed. Broken bones is heavy-handed. Beating up a 73-year-old is heavy-handed. I was truncheoned kneeling down trying to treat an unconscious person.

Climate Camp has been going for three years now, and there has never, ever, been a conviction for violence by anyone on it. Despite claims to the contrary, the only injuries recorded by the police at last year's were things like sunburn (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/dec/15/kingsnorth-climate-change-environment-police).

Where are these injuries you claim recorded? Has anyone at Climate Camp ever knocked a member of the police unconscious, or broken their bones?

Just because more violence was possible doesn't mean some violence is acceptable - otherwise it's perfectly reasonable for me to shoot anyone I'd like because my country has nuclear missiles. I could have punched the police back, I'm sure if I had you'd have been ready to have me punished for it, but I didn't.

Please do tell me how would I find the identity of the police who repeatedly hit me whilst 'clearing' down to Liverpool Street. I could give you an approximate time and place, but there would have been >100 police there inside a few minutes. I could describe them, but 'Police uniform, no numbers, balaclava over face' isn't going to help identify them.

I'm confused, please do elaborate.

Anonymous 0143 said...

MCM

I'm interested that you still think (at least as late as the night of 8 April) that:
"I saw what happened after Mr Tomlinson had collapsed where a female approached a serial and medics were sent in, had numerous items thrown at them and then them casevacing him to the paramedics. There will undoubtedly be more videos, possibly including CCTV or photographs so we'll have to wait for the IPCC investigation to finish."
Now, on the footage of cops around Mr Tomlinson posted around the internet, there is ONE bottle thrown. Hardly numerous missiles... No one else seems to believe there were lots of things thrown anymore, that seems to have been exposed as somewhat of an exaggeration. Have you reconsidered?

On the issue of removing numbers, I saw a member of the FIT today who had removed one letter - the same one - from each shoulder. On being asked for his number, he said I could see what it was and refused to provide it when I pointed out his lack. Yes, not too difficult to work out what it was when I examined his colleague's shoulders. It goes on all the time, I've seen lots of cops on FIT duty who've 'forgotten' some or all of their numbers and are reticent about providing a number. Until every cop gets the embroidered ones, I believe fiddling about with them will continue.

Of course, in a fast-moving public order situation, it's not always possible to enquire what an officer's number is, and if they've their NATO helmet on, it's even more difficult. Perhaps one thing which could emerge from this debacle is cops having their numbers on the front, as well as back, of their helmets. As long, of course, as they've the right helmet on, which didn't appear to be the case all the time on the 1st.

inspectorgadget said...

your writing gets better and better and the subject choices are great. I HATE you. Seriously; thanks for the great Blog.

blueknight said...

A few years back the Animal Liberation Front had a 'mole' in DVLA and we were warned about parking our own cars where ALF type protesters could see them.
The metal epaulette numbers are held on by an ill fitting split pin or a nut and screw arrangenent. They fall off in every day policing situations let alone a public order situation.
We only used to get one or two pairs so we were forever swapping them between body armour, fluorescent jackets and jumpers and in the dark they can easily be dropped and lost.

Tim said...

So there are circumstances in which hiding/obscuring/changing them is warranted *and* they just happen to fall off from time to time?

How nice it must be to have luck on your side.

blueknight said...

"I want your number" is a commonly heard cry at public order situations. More often then not that cry is directed at the 'wrong' Officer and when the Officer replies, "It's on my shoulder" the next response is nearly always "Can I borrow your pen". Then the 'victim' reads the number - AZ2009, but in his/her state of excited delirium, gets it completely muddled and walks off repeating all the different permutations.
I never felt it was necessary to conceal my numbers for those reasons.

Anonymous said...

Tim. To have luck on one's side, as a cop, is essential and a blessing, because without it things can soon go pear shaped when dealing with very negative people and situations.

I do not condone that element within the force, nor the protesters who use violence. Shame on the cops if they were the ones who provoked a situation to "get some action". Yes, it goes on.

The older and wiser members of the various protest groups, Climate in Crisis, and Abolish all Nukes, NEED to get through to the younger ones that they MUST remain non violent and law abiding, regardless of what provocation they may come up against. "Baiting" is an old tactic used to show the justified complainant in a bad light. Spread the word - Protest in Peace, always.

Because otherwise this government will just use ANY trouble to further oppress justified demonstrations, show the demonstraters in a negative light, ruin their lives with criminal records and generally distract from the good CAUSE the people are protesting about, undermining all efforts. The people need to wise up to that one, especially the young hot-heads, who quite rightly object to being pushed around by agressive police, for no good reason.

Rosie

Roderick the Robber said...

So how do you explain the latest footage where a seargent bitch slaps a young woman before batoning her legs? He had his numbers COVERED UP.

Tim said...

Re: the epaulette coversI can't help but wonder if you have to make those yourself or if you can buy them.

blueknight said...

Roderick the Robber
Chrome numbers on a white epaulette would not show up ona low definition video. Any way, if he did have his numbers covered, how did anyone know who he was?

Local chap said...

@Blueknight

Well somebody clearly did know who he was as he's been suspended now. The video wasn't that low def and very clearly showed his face for a considerable period of time.

You can see him clearly slap the woman concerned, then we see him taking out and extending it before beating her with it. Clear as day. Fitwatch also have an earlier picture of him.

Its here if you like

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kj9TeRQsKr0&eurl=http%3A%2F%2Fpublic.thelondonpaper.com%2Fthelondonpaper%2Fnews%2Flondon%2Fnews%2Fnew-video-footage-shows-a-police-officer-attacking-a-woman-du&feature=player_embedded

I understand the IPCC are looking into another case and now there's footage of a baton charge against journalists

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/video/2009/apr/15/g20-protest-police-photographers

and a total abuse of S14 powers to clear journalists out of the way so they can't see people getting a kicking

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/apr/16/policing-g20-journalists

Looks like the net's closing on you lot, the IPCC is making some distinctly uncharacteristic non poodle like noises in the press, and the footage just keeps on coming in.

I wonder where the blog author is these days, he seems to have gone rather quiet.

Metcountymounty said...

Local chap - I'm still around, just done a whole week of 5am starts for the Tamil stuff and now on nights so sleep comes more to the fore than blogging to be honest.

jojo said...

Funny that all those keen photographers who were taking photos of Police allegedly "assaulting" demonstrators didn't seem quite so quick with the cameras when it came to demonstrators assaulting Police. Nor does there seem to be quite so much film of demonstrators with their faces covered.

On the day itself, I saw on the TV news a line of Police wearing helmets, not riot gear, being pushed, screamed at, spat at and thumped by huge numbers of demonstrators. I saw one of those so-called peaceful protestors strike an Officer from behind with a long steel pole. Where's the film of that now? Lots of those demonstrators had their faces covered. Wonder why they didn't want their peaceful little faces on film?

People do have the right to peacefully protest - but the demonstrators I saw were far from peaceful.

Does anyone seriously think the Police were CAUSING this trouble? I'm sure they would all have been much happier at home with their feet up, watching the TV and criticising, like all these other armchair warriors.

Next time, let's not have any policing of these "peaceful protests" - let the protestors rampage through London doing whatever they like - after all, if they're so peaceful there won't be any trouble, will there.

Keep safe MCM - you be careful out there!

Old Git said...

Hmmm. Interesting comments appearing in the media from David Gilbertson, recipient of the Queen's Police Medal, 35 years service, first head of the Tactical Support Group. He seems to think that there's a crisis of leadership and a breakdown in discipline... I suspect that we can trust his judgement.

It's intersting to note the attitudes (excuses?) displayed by some claiming to be officers, who seem to think that if protesters act like arseholes, then they can do so too. This is a complete rejection of both the primary purposes of the Police as laid down by Parliament (to uphold the law and mantain the Queen's peace), and, of the Peelite principles upon which the Police is founded.

Yes, it is necessary at times to apply force (I have had to apply more severe force than most mainland UK Police Officers as part of my work), but, this should never be done in anger. Sadly, I suspect that some officers lack the self discipline required.

R/T said...

Old Git - re: Gilbertson, I wouldn't set too much by the QPM, mate. It's a kind-of ACPO LS&GC medal. They just have to turn up for long enough, really.

Oh - and it's the TERRITORIAL support group. Numpty

Anonymous said...

The main principle [Peel's] is to PROTECT LIFE. So perhaps the police officers who may have to be present at demonstrations against Nuclear Power, stations and weapons, could fully consider that first Peel's Principle, to Protect Life. Nuclear Power is highly dangerous, lethal and toxic to ALL LIFE on this planet, including the police and their loved ones.

Those members of the public who make the effort to speak out and demonstrate AGAINST this very real THREAT TO ALL LIFE ON EARTH, are doing everyone a huge favour, and a public service into the bargain.

If the police OPPOSE the people who demonstrate peacefully against Nuclear power, they will be going against Peel's principle. Because the demonstrators, as members of the public, are trying to PROTECT ALL LIFE. The public are the police, and the police are the public.

The S.I.S hold proven to be accurate, credible Intelligence warnings, documented in records by a Royal Protection Officer - codename Lawrence 1958 - 2009 - Operation Beelzebub. The Intel was accurate about 9-11, Madrid, 7-7, failed 21-7 and 22-7, Mumbai and Lahore, PLUS all the other plots which have been foiled, including the recent ones this Easter. Pity that the suspects had a tip off and hid the evidence rather well.

The Intelligence strongly warns that humanity MUST, globally disarm ALL NUCLEAR weapons and abolish the use of them and Nuclear Power stations. If the governments of ALL the countries around the world fail to do this, Nuclear will DESTROY this planet and ALL life upon it in the future.

This is NOT "fantasy", nor a wind up. This is a serious warning that cannot be ignored, and yet Gordon Brown has done just that. It is a FATAL MISTAKE for this country and the whole world, to continue to use Nuclear, power and weapons.

What is the point of having an Intelligence and Security Service if government fails to take notice of warnings given to save lives?

Minority Report Officer

loveinvienna said...

MCM - Frequent lurker here :) Excellently written, as always.

Jojo - Agreed. Glad to know some people still like the police :)

Anon @ 0230 - Do you think the Police just turn up to protests on a whim? They turn up and oversee protests because they're told to by the Powers-that-be, not because it's a damn good lark to have a bash at protesters. They more than likely agree with you on many issues. You might well reply in the vein of: "Well, if they disagree with their commanding officers demands, why do they turn up to do their dirty work?" My response would be: "Would you refuse to turn up, knowing you'd be disciplined as a result? I doubt anyone in the present climate would be so foolish as to take the risk." I might be wrong there, but that is the way I would see it.

Re. Sergeant with covered numbers - a Policeman who has commented on here explained once that they're called flashes and they are made in different colours so those of Sergeant and above are easily distinguishable from the rest of the Police. In other photos and videos I've seen, the numbers were there for all to see. Why no one from the Met has officially explained about the flashes and numbers on the back of riot helmets is a mystery to me. Would stop a lot of conspiracy theorists mouthing off about Police removing their numbers. But there you go, I'm not a Policewoman or affiliated with the Police, what do I know? :)

thinblueline said...

Results... skippers .. passed .. You ?

Metcountymounty said...

thinblueline - I have no intention of whoring myself out and becoming a council bitch on a safer neighbourhood team which I would have to do to get my Sgts so no! I'm not planning on doing the exam until I've got 12-15 in anyway, much easier getting courses and getting off team every now and then as a PC!

butterflywings said...

Sounds exhausting. Hope you feel recovered.

Meh - both police and protesters getting violent are wrong, and make things worse for the majority. Most protesters aren't after trouble, and nor are most of the police officers at protests.

Anonymous said...

LoveinVienna. Oh for goodness sake!
NO I do not think that police turn up at protests on a whim, nor to have a bash at protesters, although some clearly DO enjoy so called "hippy bashing". I know police are present at protests because they are ordered to be there.

Please don't be so arrogant as to assume what I may or may not say about why police are present at a protest. You insult my intelligence.

There is a very clear vibe in this country, coming from government, that ANYONE who wishes to make any kind of a protest, is "the enemy" and should be treated as such.

Barack Obama, by contrast, is actually ENLISTING environmentalists in the campaign to halt the danger to this planet and humanity from global warming.

Environmentalists who want to protect this planet, and all life upon it, are NOT the worthless scum some cops make them out to be.
It's all a matter of attitude and what you actually value and consider to be important in life.

There is an element on both sides who need to treat each other with more respect and less irritation.
Then we can all live in peace, and happily ever after.

Minority Report Officer