Tuesday, 28 April 2009

I owe you a less than five...

Having had a week off to chill out, see some sunlight without wearing body armour and let my skin get used to breathing instead of being covered in polyester, I'm feeling much more normal again. I was looking at my duties the other week and was actually shocked to see the amount of cancelled rest days and non voluntary overtime (as in had no choice because of prisoners, sudden deaths etc) that I've done since January. For some reason the last couple of months worth of shifts have been nightmarish, in the last month we've had a couple of weekends that have directly compared to New Year with the number of urgent calls and prisoners, loads of which are for decent jobs like robbery, GBH and burglary.

It's nice to get a busy set of shifts to make the 12+ hours go faster, but you need a break afterwards to recover which hardly anyone has had due to the amount of aid commitments the we've been hit with such as the Tamil demos, G20 and the Israeli Embassy - the vast majority has been done on cancelled rest days meaning we get sod all but a day in lieu, that we'll have to fight to actually get back. The shift pattern we do works really well if you have the time off in between shifts but getting that thrown up in the air by being required to work just leaves everyone knackered.

I've no doubt the up coming Mayday protests down in sunny Brighton will put more officers in the spotlight, I really can't see some of the protest groups missing an opportunity to have a go at some Police officers and then film the aftermath to give to the Guardian.

The media and political storm after the G20 has definitely taken its toll on morale on frontline officers, the murmurings of dropping out of public order training has turned into outright corridor conversations with no care to who is in earshot. I'm not going to go into the Ian Tomlinson incident anymore, there has been enough speculation and comment on blogs like the Coppers Blog and Fitwatch from people who know what they are talking about, from people who haven't got a speck of a clue, and people who just want to throw their twopence in.

One thing that has come out of the G20 is the issue of public order training and exactly what we are trained to do and in what circumstances we are authorised to use certain tactics. Take for example the 'Nicky Fisher' incident - large crowd getting too close to a line of officers putting in a cordon, they are pushed back by other officers, someone takes exception to being pushed back and gobs off because she's a 'woman' and doesn't think a man should push her. She pushes the officer who again pushes her away, she shouts and swears at him and moves forward grabbing his arm, he swipes her away hitting her in the face with the back of his hand (personally I would have gone for a single or double handed push and thrown her up the street) and she STILL gobs off. All the time the officers are being surrounded by media photographers, protestors with cameras and people shouting abuse them.

The officer gives a couple of very clear 'get back' shouts to everyone and turns away from Fisher. She decides to go forwards AGAIN and the officer escalates his use of force having already given her multiple and very specific opportunities to remove herself from the situation. He draws his baton and gives her a strike to her legs (and not even full force hit because the bruise would have been different) causing her to fall over. After that the video footage shows lots of people going into 'shame on you' mode - which by the way I've never heard until the Israeli embassy demos in January, just like the new fashionable trend of throwing shoes at demos that they've adopted.

The main issue with the Fisher incident appears to be that the officer is tall with a large build and she was a munchkin. Does that mean that as Police officers we are only supposed to use any form of force on people of equal or larger size to us? Considering that most public order officers are tall males with a large build that rationale would mean we shouldn't be dealing with 90% of people at demos just in case we are larger than them, so what's the point in us being there. Do the public really want a plethora of extremely short and slightly built officers for public order duty so we don't offend other people's sensibilities by having to use force on people smaller than us?

Seriously?

She had more than enough chances to go away and didn't and the officer rightly - and as trained - used a single strike to the legs in escalating the use of force. How many times do people think that he should have been pushing her away before she got the hint? what if she never got the hint and refused to get back? Everyone knows the slur of 'small man syndrome' but one thing this job has taught me is that 'small gobby woman syndrome' is just as bad if not worse, and you're more likely to actually get injured by them because no one wants to start manhandling a small woman. And they have nails and pointy shoes, and like to use them.

This incident and a number of others from the G20 have really put public order policing in the spotlight along with the tactics used overall. The problem we've got is certain tactics require different levels of force from the officers on the ground. The tactic of containment requires us to be up close and within body contact distance with people who invariably don't want us there. The only way to control a crowd that doesn't want to be controlled, and is at the very least being obstructive and at most violent, is to use force. This can be anything from pushing to strikes with shields and batons, right through to a running line with long shields as we had at the Israeli Embassy.

When you compare our tactics with virtually ever other country in the world we have considerably less serious injuries. The main reason is because the preferred option in most countries is to leave well alone and then step in once trouble kicks off. The problem with that approach is that you have to use much higher levels of force in order to get control because any delay in assembling resources just gives the crowd time to cause more damage. The increased media attention on the results of having officers up close and personal where videos of people being punched, hit with shields, batoned and pushed has caused an outcry and prompted calls for a national debate on public order Policing.

Some people have been saying in the media "well I don't care what they do in other countries, the is the UK and I only care about how we do it here". Well they should care because doing nothing is not an option, so we either do it our way and look forward to more videos of people being punched, pushed, hit with shields and batoned, or we do it like everyone else in the world. This means full complete deployment of shield teams (no messing about with half kit, then short shields followed by long after we've been attacked repeatedly) and creating stand off distance from the shield lines to prevent people getting close enough to attack officers.

The only way to do this is to extend the range of your use of force beyond that of shields and batons by using projectile weapons such as baton, rubber bullets, live rounds, CS grenades and water cannon. Do we really want that over here? I know I don't, especially if the current trend of suspending is going to continue if officers are seen on video doing things that doesn't look nice, regardless of whether or not they are trained to do it. To put this into perspective for you, if a firearms officer shoots and fatally wounds someone in the course of their duty then they are removed from frontline duties pending investigation. They aren't suspended, they are still on duty and working just not in a public facing role.

During the briefing with IPCC chairman Nick Hardwick to the Home Affairs Select Committee, he said that he supported calls for a national debate on public order policing but also that "we can't train our Police officers to use certain tactics and then completely wash our hands of them when they use those tactics because we don't like how they look"

This last comment has been the point that is seriously destroying morale amongst officers at the moment, especially those who volunteer for public order roles. I've watched an awful lot of videos on youtube and on the various news sites and blogs, and I really have not seen anything that we are not trained to do in both normal officer safety training or public order training. Police officers volunteer for any specialist training such as driving, firearms, public order, searching or CBRN, and we can just as easily un-volunteer from those posts. If the everyone did that, I've no doubt the wheel would come flying off within a shift, let alone over a couple of days.

If it is going to become the norm that officers are suspended for doing what they are trained to do, how many people are likely to put themselves forwards for that? A suspension stays with you for your whole career, and no one is going to want a suspension for excessive force plaguing every promotion board or course application, especially if you just did what the instructors and the job trained you to do.

While I was working over the G20 my shifts were changing literally on a daily basis, a couple of times I was actually getting changed as I came on shift or just as I was going off. It was ridiculous. Our job absolutely relies on the goodwill of officers to both put themselves forwards for training in specialist roles and to put ourselves out to actually make things work. If that goodwill is going to be completely abused and all support is removed then no one is going to do it any more. In one of the many phone calls I had over the G20 week from the duties office (who were pulling their hair out having to chop and change at literally the last minute) I spoke to one of the Sgt's I've known for years -

"Mate, I need you to do me a favour, I need you to do a quick swing tomorrow, I know you're finishing late tonight but I need you on an early start.

Have I got a choice?

Not really, but I'd rather you agreed to do it than having to force you or someone else to.

Fair enough, if you can put me on a team that's going to get off on time that would be appreciated.

I'll try, but I owe you a less than five for helping me out.

You owe me more than that Sarge after this week, it's been shit

True, serves you right for volunteering to do the courses though, see you later"


Metcountymounty

38 comments:

butterflywings said...

Oooh first comment!

Glad you feel more human.

Hey, less of the 'small gobby woman' type insults please! I happen to be 5ft & f-all. (I am not loud, though). :-)

And I love pointy shoes, yes, but have no nails ;-)

I can understand that policing large protests is not fun. I don't think anyone is saying that there should only be short weedy police officers. I'm not buying that a man should never hit a woman, but at the same time, a police officer (or security, etc. etc.) has to be aware of his size and strength relative to a much smaller woman.
I don't think hitting hard enough to bruise was necessary.

I can kind of see why both sides see 'the other side' as intimidating them. Perhaps I should be a diplomat :-)

Shift work is evil. Getting them switched around is more so.

Blue Eyes said...

Another thoughtful post Mr MCM. Once again I am going to ask about the whole cancelled rest days etc. business. I realise that officers aren't subject to the normal employment laws but surely you get to the point where you are getting so screwed over the whole time that it simply isn't fair on individual officers. The frontline officers show goodwill and it gets abused. Eventually it must get to the point where officers will simply withdraw their goodwill?

As you say, you are in an impossible situation in public order situations. I am not surprised that many are considering throwing in the towel.

Metcountymounty said...

I actually thought you would be more offended by me calling her a munchkin! I'm sure you know who I mean though, just like a vast majority of blokes who are short don't suffer from small man syndrome I know most women don't either!

On the subject of being aware of size differences, I've actually had to defend NOT using force in some circumstances in court when arresting someone who was tiny but unbelievably violent. Think "squirrel with a flick knife, on speed" and you may get the idea.

The lines "trying to put handcuffs on a squid" and "I chose not to use the approved police restraint method because I would have snapped her shoulder" were supported rather well by the CCTV, as was the fecking great rip in the back of my hand from her wretched talons.

Dealing with women can be a complete nightmare as nothing you do looks good, and many know that and use it to their advantage. The baton strike obviously hurt but if it had been a full hit it would have made the entire muscle group bruise because that's what the asp is designed to do.

Metcountymounty said...

blue eyes, no it's not fair really but it's one of the regulations along with the overtime which can work in our favour but it is being used much more often. I know of people with literally months worth of days in lieu in the bank that they can't take. The whole working to rule argument has been made by the Federation every now and then, I just wonder if this latest turn is going to be the one that breaks the back so to speak? The next few months are going to be interesting anyway, especially as there are more aid commitments coming and no money to pay for them so more days will be cancelled. And if people are charged out of G20? interesting isn't going to describe it.

rented said...

@ MCM, where you said "I've watched an awful lot of videos [...] and I really have not seen anything that we are not trained to do in both normal officer safety training or public order training" was that in the context of what you said about the Tomlinson case (i.e. that you weren't referencing the Tomlinson incident in the above comment)?

Also, what does "I owe you a less than five" mean? Never heard the phrase before and the only Google hit for it is this blog post.

Metcountymounty said...

rented - all of them. All videos, everything I have seen has been trained, including in the various Tomlinson videos.

A 'less than five' is a days overtime paid at double time because we get less than five days notice of a duties change as per Police regulations. As the duties office have to get people in to do overtime, if you've put yourslef forward for overtime it's handy to know they remember they owe you one for helping them out. If you really want to know about overtime then have a read of my post from july last year.

R/T said...

Buddy - I do know how you feel, to an extent. Haven't done serious public order stuff since the print dispute and poll tax stuff(ask your dad!!!! :o).

However - I'm a KSI VX and I know what it's like to get a call at short notice so know what your duties skipper means. You did volunteer for the level 2 crap, mate. Sorry.

Think of the £3+ a month!!

Constable Confused.com said...

Cancelled rest days are the norm here or extended shifts under a certain VSA that was agreed on about 12 years ago. It is cheaper to put the response blocks on extended shifts and use the afternoon shift as PSU's rather that pay extra people to come in. How we shafted ourselves on that one!

Up here if you are on response block it is mandatory to be Level 2 trained as we are the only ones who cover the ground 24/7. Getting off response is about as hard as finding rocking horse shit so the chance of losing the level 2 ticket is next to nothing.

Do you really have the choice about being trained or not?

Regards.

Anonymous said...

Nah, sorry MTM, but you are clearly suffering from "Grumpy Overworked Policeman Syndrome" GOPS

You say that no one wants to start manhandling a small woman, because you are likely to get injured by them. That is very true, if they feel threatened or are attacked by an arrogant aggressive male.

However, earlier in your post you say that the swipe across the face of Nicky Fisher, with the back of the bully's hand, was how the police are trained to deal with crowd control. You imply that the cop was justified in giving the female a backhanded swipe across the face, because she "shouted and swore at him", because HE pushed her about. You say that you would have given her a good push and thrown her up the street......

But I thought you said that "no one wants to manhandle a small woman"? Hmmmm I'm sorry, but I didn't see any signs of the female physically attacking the officer, and really do not believe that he was justified in swiping her across the face with the back of his hand. I also clearly saw her just standing there, being vocal, and then being bashed with his baton on her legs, which brought her to the ground.

Not very nice and certainly not how normal people expect a man to behave towards a woman, even if she is "gobby". Female equality doesn't mean that cops can treat females, even gobby ones, like blokes. You surprise me on this post, which reveals some anger and/or a lack of respect towards women in general, maybe.

The woman did not attack the cop and didn't deserve to be treated like that.

I can appreciate that it does take a person with special qualities to become a police officer, patience being essential for dealing with numerous situations. But it is a sad day for policing when male officers start striking women just because they are "gobby".

I get the impression that you are stressed and slightly grumpy MCM, because the people of this country are being driven insane, by this government and the manic vibe they have created over the past few years. Try to chill out some more, if you can. The job has got to you, obviously, because cops are expected to be perfect little robots for the government.....

M.T.M

Dr Melvin T Gray said...

The difficulties men face through exercise of force are consequences of depriving reasonableness a deserving chance and being caught at it.

Fee said...

Good post. The whole "dealing with women" thing must be a nightmare. I've watched various videos, and that wifey who got whacked? If she'd been in my face, screaming abuse at me like that, she'd have got more than a backhand. But then, I'm short, female, wear pointy shoes, have unfeasably long nails and can be gobby when the mood takes me. I've also never broken the law in my life (so far, anyway!)

Its all very well to criticise the police for their handling of various incidents, but how many of the detractors would put themselves in that line, in the uniform made by the lowest bidder, carrying a not very impressive weapon? Personally speaking, I wouldn't. Not for a lot more money than the police are paid, and let's not forget they got shafted on the last pay rise.

Sure, there are undoubtedly bad officers in every force - there are bad apples in every barrel. I would venture the opinion that there were far more protestors looking for a ruck than police officers, though. Its only an opinion - I've never been on a protest march, being rather too busy earning an honest crust and attempting to raise the next generation as decent law abiding citizens.

For what its worth, I still think most police officers are good people doing a hellishly hard job.

Anonymous said...

In the States (especially the south) they used to use shotguns loaded with bird shot. Shoot at the street in front of the protesters and it ricochets up into their shins .....

Just a thought!

Joe

TheBinarySurfer said...

---And they have nails and pointy shoes, and like to use them.---
Very familiar with this even as an MoP - a high heel over 3-4 inches long usually penetrates the body much like a blade. Unfortunately i have first hand experience of this!

If i'm totally honest though MCM it's another form of mitigation / victim culture - i can do what i want / you cant push/hit me because xyz. It's so
all-pervading in British culture now - one of the few things that transcends class and culture boundaries.

Spot on about the goodwill system.
I've never seen morale so rock bottom in the 10+ years i've known people in the job. As one guy put it: "Why the f*ck should we bother if the they're going to suspend us when we do it the right way?".

Butterflywings - without lengthy and quite frankly unpleasent conditioning, the human body instinctively tries to move away from something causing it sudden unexpected pain which i suspect was the intent of the strike rather than to damage or bruise. It's also incredibly individual how much force it takes to bruise someone - for example i am a fairly short bloke but am very resistent to bruising. A friend of mine is about 5 stone heavier and 6 inches taller but bruises at every opportunity. I can't judge how much force it will take to bruise someone i've never met after over 20 years of martial arts training - is it really fair to expect a copper with at best a few weeks baton training (assuming he's been in a fair while) to judge it from 5-10s seconds in an angry crowd while being shoved and grabbed?

Not having a dig at you, just thought the point was worth making :)

Anonymous said...

hope you enjoyed the zoo with your family.
i and most of my friends and family are grateful to you and your very tired colleagues.
i work for the nhs and people are supposed to like me as i care for them when having babies,however a lot of them are rude ,ignorant,and a fair few are obnoxious and scary.
you and your brave colleagues are always there for us even when london is turned upside down by protesters and i for one say thankyou x

TheBinarySurfer said...

An afterthought - finished watching "A few good men". Beginning to feel that Jessop's rant applies more and more to the police every day.

Metcountymounty said...

R/T - I've got no issue with all the crap that comes with L2 and the various other specialisms, I've always been honest when people have asked me whether they should do it and told them it's mostly long days that are boring as hell and comes with lots of cancelled rest days. But being suspended for doing what you are trained just because some muppet in the MPA or a politician thinks it looks too rough? sod that, and like you 've got other strings in the bow I can play if it means jacking it in.

Confused - I know some forces (such as GMP) have mandatory public order training, but currently in the Met all L2, L1 and specialists such as EG, medic and FIT are all volunteers and can withdraw as such.

M.T.M. - I said no one wants to manhandle women, not that they were unwilling to do so if they need to. And she didn't get a strike with the back of the hand or with a baton for being gobby, she got hit because she wouldn't leave and had been repeatedly told to do so and went back each time. Even if she had stayed put after the first push she wouldn't have been struck or pushed again unless they moved the crowd back further. She went forwards multiple times and he escalated his use of force as we are trained and the fact that she left after one baton strike shows it worked.

Dr Melv - reasonableness is extremely subjective, especially in a public order situation. What is perfectly normal and would be expected to work in a normal setting such as a shopping centre or even outside a club (such as politely asking a group of people to move back please) wouldn't stand a chance of working in most large scale public order situations and so the reasonableness scale has to move up for anything to have the slightest chance of working in the first place.

Fee - most people who criticise us wouldn't stand a chance if they tried to implement any of their suggestions for dealing with people, the fact that they don't even realise that just highlights their inexperience. A debate on how we do things is good, if everyone knows what they are debating about and what the realistic alternatives are.

Joe - we could never do that over here, each and every round has to be accounted for (even birdshot!!) and directed to a specific target which is why we don't do warning shots!

TBS - I've also had a heffer stamp on my back with stilettos whilst I was on the floor trying to handcuff someone - thankfully the body armour distributed the impact but it still hurt like a bitch! As for the scene in a few good men, as the venerable Gadget has also been saying for years, I completely agree it applies to us as much as the military!

anon 2253 - I did have a good time at the zoo thanks, I even got a wee bit sun-kissed which was nice. I know midwives etc get way too much grief, most definitely under rated and overlooked until you need them, like most useful people in the NHS of course!!

Anonymous said...

M.C.M. Sorry, but NO, it still does not justify striking a woman across the face with a backhanded swipe.
That was just plain NASTY, brutal and uncalled for. I doubt very much that police training involves such tactics, simply because women will not comply with police orders to move back. Baton, yes, if physically attacked, but not a smack in the face for being defiant and "gobby".

If you truly believe that is an acceptable way for a male police officer to treat a woman, then you really have lost the plot. Or you are a closet misogynist.

I really am shocked that you think it was justified. You must have become institutionalised to accept the unacceptable.
More sunshine is required to restore you to human form!

M.T.M

Metcountymounty said...

MTM - watch the video, she tried to grab his arm and he threw her off hitting her in the face. His arms are probably half the length of her whole body, serves her right for being too close in my opinion. It's not as if he stood there in front of her and she was standing there doing bugger all and he's just back handed her for no reason is it? The situation was dynamic and you can't say what they would do, especially if they have never been trained to deal with it nor experienced trying to control a situation like that, no matter how many people say they attend demos it's completely different from the other side. You can tell from his body language and his actions that he is far from losing control, if you know what you're looking for.

Louise said...

Its good to read the opinion I've been shouting at the TV for weeks voiced a such a clear way.

Having seen the videos of the female protester I agree that she had ample opportunity to back off and do the sensible thing of walking away.

Are you guys just meant to stand there and take it when your trying to do your job in a highly charged environment. I'd like to see someone in a 'normal' job take that kind of abuse and not retaliate.

How are the investigations going into the people who threw shoes, rocks etc at the police? Not as well as the investigations into your own I bet.

Glad your feeling better and I hope things settle for you and you get some of that time back.

Louise

TheBinarySurfer said...

MCM - lucky it hit the stabbie! I of course wasn't wearing one being a MoP and had ended up with a heel broken off inside my shoulder - fun!

thespecialone said...

Talking of small females and large coppers...a few months ago we went to a domestic. Young girl who was really tiny called, we got there and she was screaming in the street saying her boyfriend had hit her. We went to the house and he said yep..I hit her and held his hands out to be handcuffed. Myself and a colleague took him to cells where he was very quiet and it had dawned on him what he had done.

Meanwhile, a large officer (as in over 6ft, muscular etc, not large as in beer belly!) and a female officer called for assistance. While they were driving the 'victim' to her mother's house, she tried to climb out of the back seat windown. They stopped the car and tried to restrain her. She went ballistic. We got there and eventually it took 4 of us to get leg restraints on her and handcuffed. She was in a van going to cells, managed to get a hand out of cuffs and started banging the door. At cells, a dog was on standby and taser had been authorised. She was about 5ft tall, very slim bodied but as violent as hell, scratching, punching etc.

So MTM, please dont say that it is wrong to defend yourself and hit a woman. If it was against my wife then yes I can understand that. But in G20 and in my own situation, these females are not little wallflowers.

The way I see it is that the officer was completely in his rights to do what he did. Im not sure if he knew that he had hit a female in the face. He may have just seen 'a person unknown' out of the corner of his eye.

Anonymous said...

Top post, I think the best response at present is a dose of blue flu,mass handing in of level 2 tickets and 2 fingers to the commissioner for his total lack of support for his staff.

Anonymous said...

M.C.M. Although I can appreciate that facing a large crowd can be nerve wracking and that may well get ones adrenalin pumping, there is still NO justification for a male officer giving a female a back handed swipe across the face.

So she grabbed him by the arm....
Oooooh how scary! Perhaps she wanted to dance with him, but it's more likely she wanted to get a look at his number.

Had she attacked the officer who was a great deal bigger than her anyway, then perhaps your defence of him may be valid. Had she attacked him with some sort of weapon, then your defence of the officer's backhander would be justified. But she did not attack him. She just stood her ground and simply grabbed his arm. That does not, and never will, justify that sort of assault on a female MoP.

I have first hand experience of a short violent female who was hell bent on doing serious harm with a broken glass. She was threatening to kill me with it. Her ex husband was as quick as lightening, got in her way and prevented her from killing me with it. He did not hit her. He just grabbed her wrists and forced her away from me and restrained her, with some struggle to do that, and he is nearly 6 foot tall.

She fought to get free of his hold upon her, but still he did not strike her, although he would have been justified, because she was very violent and dangerous. Eventually two big strong blokes grabbed her by each arm to restrain and remove her, without anyone using violence against her to stop her assault upon others.

Her ex husband received cuts to his face from the assault and she was charged and taken to court. The force didn't bother with the fact that she had threatened to and then attempted to kill me. She then blamed myself in court, for HER assault on her ex husband, whom she had also threatened and tried to kill with a knife numerous times, before she threw him out during a row one day! He never went back and that saved his life, because she had killed before - manslaughter - diminished responsibility. But she still blamed me for the fact that her marriage failed! He never hit her.

I agree that SOME women can be violent and vicious, and if they offer violence towards a man, well, there are some who would feel justified in striking her to stop an attack, but not all men would do that out of respect for women.

Grabbing a cop by the arm just does not justify being given a backhanded swipe across the face.
It never will. The officer was out of order. His actions showed a basic lack of respect for women.
Does he do that to his wife when she gets a bit "gobby" and will not "obey" his orders?

The struggle for equality with men has been in part, against that sort of treatment of women. By men
who like to feel that they are "the boss" and that a slap keeps a woman in line. BULLY BOYS.
That officer did the force no favours, when he hit the female across the face.
Please don't make excuses for him.

M.T.M

TheBinarySurfer said...

MTM - you have been repeatedly presented with rational arguments explaining why the officer may have done what he did.

You're welcome to your viewpoint, but please don't confuse your opinion with facts. It is a fact that the officer in question was well within his rights given use of force escelation and the fact that she grabbed him twice.

Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that, that back handed swipe is in the Home Office Approved PST training manual. It is also mentioned as one of the lower force level responses. She had plenty of warnings without physical force, and she came and grabbed his arm, technically that is assault and he has a rite to stop her. As would any person Police or otherwise.

The whole point is to make people get back so they cant harm you! Because shes a woman doesn't mean she hasnt got a knife a syringe or a gun. Her refusal to stop coming close and being physically aggressive to him,is justifiaction. TBH the only reason that people are up in arms is that a slap to the face seems so degrading and makes people think of domestic violence. Would a hard shove to the chest have been better because it looks less politically correct?

Just stop and think

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

You see the problem here is that not all of us accept that just because a policeman tells us to do something then we automatically have to do it. I'm sorry but where is that written down?

I've just watched the video again and the sequence clearly shows police preventing a white male from leaving, then similarly preventing a black male from leaving by grabbing him then pushing him in the face when he remonstrates with them.

Meanwhile, the star of the show is doing his "move away" act and Ms Fisher moves in to remonstrate with him about this, and is immediately roughly pushed away. She returns, understandably rather cross about the fact that her and fellow protesters freedom of movement is being unlawfully curtailed and gets the backhander. Then, as she continues to protest, she gets the baton.

So, to summarise, two people are prevented from exercising their right to move around a public place, and two people are assaulted for arguing with the police. This all happens during what appears to be the setting up of a 'kettling' situation which is of dubious legality (the ECHR is due to rule on this in due course and there are fresh cases starting in the domestic courts from this tactic's use at the G20 protests) and a tactic which is 100% guaranteed to wind people up. A cynic might suggest that is its true purpose because people subjected to it are quite likely to kick off and this justifies getting the batons out.

So this is what you were trained to do. I hesitate to comment on the 'I was obeying orders' defence for fear of violating Godwin's Law. I can only suggest that you make sure you spill the beans on exactly who gave these orders during the various enquiries, as those people should have the right to give such orders taken away with them.

As for your various defences that policing such situations is 'difficult', firstly it only becomes difficult once the police have created the situations for such difficulties ie ploughing into a non violent climate camp with batons or the infamous kettling. Secondly, you complain about protesters actions, do you not think they find it difficult to remain calm in such situations as well? You've got lots of excuses for your police colleagues yet you expect protesters to have the patience of saints.

The ratio of police violence to protester violence at the G20 was massively weighted towards the police. The only protester violence I can see was the RBS branch which was left hanging out to dry and there are credible accusations of agents provocateurs being involved in that (see Craig Murray's blog). Its interesting that the police seemed to take a bit of a step back for that one, making sure that the press photographers got a good view, its also pertinent that the protesters involved have already been charged and convicted for that yet perpetrators of police violence have only been sent on holiday (sorry, 'suspended').

The police know how to manage demonstrations successfully. Admittedly this seems to be at the larger demos that we've had (presumably you've all read about Custer in your history books). The penalty for breaking the law (which I accept some protesters did) is to be arrested and charged, not assaulted. This may not be possible there and then but there's always CCTV. Ok, it may be 'difficult' but thats your problem. You're the ones with weapons and body armour, who's it going to be difficult for, do you think? Many of us have jobs that are 'difficult'. It may be that some people get away, but to me thats far more desirable than an acceptance of the police's right to deal out violent rough justice as an alternative.

Btw, has Nicky Fisher been charged with anything? Is there any suggestion that she will be? Is that not relevant to any consideration of the lawfulness or otherwise of her actions?

I learn a lot from your blog. Its clear to me that violence is part of the culture within the met. I wonder how many wife beaters you've got working there?

blueknight said...

allnottinghambase

If I was Policing a demonstration and one of the demonstraters grabbed hold of me, they would get the same or similar treatment that was awarded to the woman. Anything to make them let go.
My reasoning would be that once one person of whatever sex or size has grabbed hold, that might encourage others to do the same and the next thing would be me dragged into the crowd to face an unknown fate.
Anyway, let's see what the IPCC make of it.

Metcountymounty said...

M.T.M. - we're going to have to agree to disagree, I'm not offering excuses for anyone I'm telling you what our training is, whether that is right or wrong is for the courts to decide. Which they have already, numerous times.

Allnottinghambase - "The ratio of police violence to protester violence at the G20 was massively weighted towards the police. The only protester violence I can see was the RBS branch which was left hanging out to dry and there are credible accusations of agents provocateurs being involved in that"

Are you having a fucking laugh?

Was imagining the bottles of becks and bulmers hitting my shield? or being kicked in the shins and knees, or the pole that hit my inspector in the head, or the fact that a police line was breached on Moorgate from both sides after officers were attacked with weapons? were you even there?

As for violence being a part of the culture within the Met, violence very large part of Policing, dealing with it, receiving it and using it when necessary. If you don't like or even believe that I couldn't actually give a shit really.

And the next bit "So this is what you were trained to do. I hesitate to comment on the 'I was obeying orders' defence for fear of violating Godwin's Law. I can only suggest that you make sure you spill the beans on exactly who gave these orders during the various enquiries, as those people should have the right to give such orders taken away with them"

I'm sorry but the "I was only obeying orders didn't work for the Nazis so it won't work for you" comment really, really fucks me off. You have no context what so ever, and to be honest the only people who come up with that complete bollocks are those who think they have no obligation or requirement in law to do as directed by a Police officer.

Refusing a lawful order for a Police officer is a discipline and occasionally a criminal offence ie AGAINST THE LAW TO DO SO. Orders given that are in line with existing caselaw and in line with training approved by both the Home Office AND the rulings by the high court are LAWFUL orders. We follow them because that is our job, don't have the luxury of questioning every single order or decision because we aren't in possession of all the information that those who issue the orders have and to not do so could jeopardise the operation or even put lives at risk.

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

"Was imagining the bottles of becks and bulmers hitting my shield?"

Probably. After all your colleagues imagined all the bottles being 'pelted' at the police medics around Ian Tomlinson.

I'm basing my assessments on the eyewitness and video evidence I've seen. No, I wasn't actually there but if I had been I would only have had my own little tiny corner, probably from within the inside of a police kettle, to add to that. That would hardly be enough to judge an entire demo.

In terms of duties to obey instructions members of the public only have the duty to obey lawful and reasonable instructions. That doesn't mean any barked command issued on a whim by a psycho who happens to be wearing a uniform (with ID numbers hidden natch).

I suppose in your mind everybody imagined the violent attack on the climate camp, the attack on IT which caused his imaginary death, the attack, with a weapon, on a non threatening woman for failing to do what she was told, the unlawful use of S14 on journalists so they wouldn't be able to witness the protesters getting a good kicking, the violent kettling, the list goes on. And again, you were the ones with the weapons and the body armour and you used it.

You simply can't complain about alleged 'violent' protesters when the police are acting even worse. It becomes a case of who's carrying the biggest stick rather than the police having any moral authority.

Like I say, violence is clearly part of the culture among you and your colleagues. You expect to be able to deal it out whenever you like and have the monopoly on being able to do so. I simply don't and won't accept that and neither do a hell of a lot of other people.

You simply have no justification for you and your colleagues behaviour. As a result of that behaviour respect for the police has dropped even further. You're in very serious danger of losing all moral authority and one day you might find yourselves in a situation where you haven't got the biggest stick.

What will you do then?

Anonymous said...

AllnottinghambaseYou see the problem here is that not all of us accept that just because a policeman tells us to do something then we automatically have to do it. I'm sorry but where is that written down?
Its public order policing. Are you really saying that individual protestors have the right to debate on a one-to-one basis instructions issued for the purposes of crowd control?

Meanwhile, the star of the show is doing his "move away" act and Ms Fisher moves in to remonstrate with him about this, and is immediately roughly pushed away. She returns, understandably rather cross about the fact that her and fellow protesters freedom of movement is being unlawfully curtailed and gets the backhander.Nice. Good to see telepathy is one of your talents. Or maybe you are the delectable Ms. Fisher and are aware of her thoughts at this moment (rather than any Max Clifford primed nonsense she spouted on TV)

This all happens during what appears to be the setting up of a 'kettling' situation which is of dubious legality (the ECHR is due to rule on this in due course and there are fresh cases starting in the domestic courts from this tactic's use at the G20 protests)If by dubious legality you mean a tactic which has (R vs Austin) been successfully upheld through two appeals and may now move to the ECHR then your definition of dubious is fairly broad.

The ratio of police violence to protester violence at the G20 was massively weighted towards the police.Please tell me you have some evidence for this other than Youtube.


The problem with public order policing is it is not all fluffy Dixon of Dock Green policing – it is about moving crowds, some of whom don’t want to be moved.

Regarding arrests - they will happen subsequent to the demo. They will be as a result of CCTV and evidence gatherer teams and they will require a lot of work. It’s the exception rather than the rule to carry out arrests in the middle of disorder.

Its not a question of whether Fisher committed a criminal offence – its question of whether the officer used reasonable force in the lawful execution of his duty – which in this case was policing a public order situation and commanding his serial.

“Only obeying orders” – I am sorry but when you are ordered to “hold the line” or to take a certain street then I take it you would like the officers to stop, have a discussion and come to a consensus about the best way to move forward. When the insinuation that this is the same as the Nuremberg defence is taken in conjunction with your comment about wife beaters it weakens any argument that you may have been trying to make.

Anonymous said...

Allnottinghambase
I'm basing my assessments on the eyewitness and video evidence I've seen. No, I wasn't actually thereSo your assessment is correct whereas MCM’s being a police officer who WAS there is wrong? Do I detect a wee smidge of bias there?

members of the public only have the duty to obey lawful and reasonable instructions. That doesn't mean any barked command issued on a whim by a psychoSo in a disorder situation - exactly how do you intend to determine exactly which commands you are prepared to obey? I take it you want the opportunity to have a calm and reasoned discussion with every officer who might want you to do something?

I suppose in your mind everybody imagined....There is no suggestion that the incidents on youtube were “imagined” only that the facts behind them are disputable.

You simply have no justification for you and your colleagues behaviour.By which you mean there is no justification which you are prepared to accept or even debate.
Are you aware of public order tactics?
Are you prepared to accept that events continue before and after 6 seconds of Youtube footage?
Can you think of any possible ulterior motives behind Ms Fisher changing from a ranting banshee to a quietly spoken, dress wearing lady in her press interview?
Can you accept the possibility that the footage in the media might be likely to be biased in favour of the protestors?

You appear to be blindly accepting what the media are spoonfeeding you in relation to G20 - do you always accept their reports so readily?

Anonymous said...

M.C.M. Okay, we will agree to disagree about what is and is not acceptable behaviour for a male police officer, towards a female MoP,in a crowd. The fact remains, that incident didn't get the force good press, nor good telly news.

The fact that a backhanded swipe across the face of an unarmed female, is Home Office approved "training" for crowd control, suggests they should consider that tactic very carefully for future crowd control.
It could CAUSE more trouble for police, from males who object to brutality towards women. Common sense really, and an insight into human nature.

Incidents like that just create a bad impression of the police in the public's mind, and will fuel resentment and bad feeling towards the police generally.

Which leaves me thinking that the Home Office, and its policies regarding policing, have SERIOUSLY undermined public confidence in the police. Blame the government!

M.T.M.

allnottinghambasearebelongtous said...

"You appear to be blindly accepting what the media are spoonfeeding you in relation to G20 - do you always accept their reports so readily?"

I didn't blindly accept the Met spin doctors inspired BS* about medics being pelted with bottles and bricks if that's what you mean.

But of course it isn't because when that lie got caught out you spin doctors went all quiet for som reason.

Me thinks its because they had nothing else to say or claim or lie about, nor have they got any evidence about the alleged protester violence (apart from the RBS play acting).

Anonymous said...

Something else struck me about the "policy" of using violence/force on a MoP, who an officer THOUGHT may pose some sort of threat to his safety. This is a symptom of the Magna Carta having been turned upside down by this government, in that the public are now considered to be guilty, or potentially guilty, the "enemy", until they prove themselves to be innocent of a crime, or any intention to commit a crime. It is Orwellian and far removed from Peel's Principles of policing. Isn't it?

Another symptom of this perverse way of dealing with the public has crept into the Health and Social Care systems. Particularly regarding Child Protection, which has gone too far in many cases, baby P et al, an extreme exception to what has been going on generally. Ed Balls should be sacked. No Ifs, No Buts.

Many new mothers are now at risk from Social Services literally snatching their babies from them and putting them out for adoption, because they are suffering from a bout of "baby blues" - post natal depression. As if snatching ones baby will cure that! Idiots.

Social Workers have been snatching babies from mothers under the cruel excuse of "Prevention of Harm" to the baby, because the mother MIGHT harm it, because she is suffering from Post Natal Depression. Loving mothers who have not harmed their babies, and are innocent of any crime, are being abused and treated like criminals.

This is just a psychological backhanded swipe across the face to mothers who haven't committed any crime. It is nothing short of abuse of the mother and the baby, induced by government "policy".

No doubt the over zealous "training" that the Health and Social Care workers receive, makes them view all mothers/parents as "potential abusers" of their kids, based upon a tick box culture. There was a case in the Mail recently, where Social Workers were threatening to, or had taken kids from a family just because the father was, or had been in the armed forces! The SW's claimed that the father MIGHT harm the children because of the traumatic experiences of being involved in armed combat. Cops kids next?

Jack Straw tried to help this situation recently, to change the policy of behind closed doors, secret family courts, dominated by too much power in the hands of Doctors and Social Workers. Whitehall officials undermined his efforts, as did the Judiciary, which is rather SUS.......

This sort of oppression of vulnerable women/families and their babies, by government Stasi, makes me feel ashamed that I voted Labour in 1997. [No offence Jack Straw, and a few good ones.] But also quite angry and even ashamed, that it was me who came up with the concept for the Child Protection System in 1986. Because of what they have done with it....it was hijacked by an abuser who perverted the idea to oppress mothers, undermine the family and parental authority.....right under the noses of government et al. Who KNEW what the abuser was like and had done. They said and did nothing to stop him hijacking the letter and the concept for the Child Protection System, and taking the credit for it on TV. But the good guys/cops, got him eventually, not that the public have been informed - Blunkett!

The Tories are not entirely blameless for the mess that has been created in the various "public services" of Police, Health and Social Care.
I doubt very much that I will be voting Labour at the next elections, EU or UK, nor Tory.

At least the former Home Sec, Charles Clarke has had the decency to admit his own feelings of shame, for being a Labour MP, because of the mistakes of a control freak, micro manager of an Orwellian Leader, who has seriously screwed up. Big time.

And what of Jacqui Smith? What has she got to say about Home Office failures to actually LISTEN TO and take notice of proven to be accurate, credible Intelligence?
Plus the abuse and ill treatment of one particular undercover officer? Jacqui knows who......
What has she got to say about that?

Hazel Blears has stated, regarding the injustice done to the Gurkhas, that, "the government has been on the wrong side of the British sense of "fair play". If that goes on for too long it can lead to dire consequences for the government." She's not wrong!

An undercover officer [long term H.O. approved Operation] cannot really go personally to the media, nor enlist the help of Joanna Lumley, to obtain "fair play" from government.
Taking advantage of police/security service officers, the oath sworn, their goodwill and dedication, and placing officers under extreme strain for a long time, is very clearly government being on the wrong side of "fair play", to say the very least.

M.T.M.

Metcountymounty said...

allnottinghambase - you're an idiot. The Medics WERE pelted with bottles, I saw it, fuck loads of other officers saw it, it was captured partly on youtube, the paramedics saw it and that's why the Police medics had to move him instead of bringing the paramedics to him.

What the CITY OF LONDON Police had said initially in the immediate aftermath was that they did not believe that there had been any Police contact prior to his collapse. Based on the information they had at the briefing room at the time, that's what they knew. Hundreds of people were pushed, lots were hit with batons and we don't stand there after every single use of force to phone our bosses up to tell them what we've done so they have up-to-the-second knowledge of every single incident and relevant descriptions. They weren't lying, they gave out information that they believed to be correct at the time, which later proved wrong.

The Met Police said that the medics were pelted with bottles when they attended to a man who had been found collapsed. When the video showing Ian Tomlinson being pushed over and helped up by two demonstrators was released and there was no sign of bottles people, like you, blindly assumed that the medic/bottle thing was a lie. It wasn't, they just assumed that because everyone is an expert with hindsight and a mishmash of clips.

The push and the collapse happened in two different areas and what you have seen on youtube is a fraction of an incident and day spanning the experience of thousands of officers and demonstrators over a 16 hour period.

If you think for one second that a few clips on youtube gives you the authority to tell me or anyone else there what we have and have not experienced then you're as much of a fucking joke as some of the other clueless 'experts' who are criticising us with a minuscule amount of evidence and completely sod all knowledge or context.

thespecialone said...

MCM et al. I wasnt there at the demo but I would (ok probably unsurprisingly) support the police in their actions.

I have been arguing ever since with my day job colleagues about policing. I have pointed out that actually what the media have shown, and what can be seen on youtube does not tell the whole story. My day job colleagues have never ever been in a public order situation. Even as a special I have been involved in two of them (admittedly nowhere near as large as G20). In one, the press were there taking pics (right place, right time). The only pics they printed were those of officers (including me..I am famous!!!) arresting, pushing, putting in vans with cuffs on. This gave the impression that we were 'brutal'.

What they failed to print were pics of the offenders throwing bottles/cans in residents gardens or urinating in the street etc.

The media eventually had to admit, due to the correspondence they received from local residents in support of the police that maybe they were wrong after all. Of course there was no apology or direct comment like 'sorry we were wrong'.

It is well known that at protests like G20 there will be a co-ordinate attempt to provoke the police and film it. But funnily enough the only film that is released is that of police being 'brutal'. Never ever do the protesters release film of police being pelted with bottles or whatever.

Anonymous said...

allnottinghambase:

It's a pity you don't actually answer any of the points I raised.

The fact you chose to rely instead on your personal opinion of what happened from the all seeing vantage point of your sitting room doesn't exactly strengthen any point you were trying to make.

(Anonymous 0013)

Anonymous said...

Well Jacqui Smith, what a surprise. An indirect answer to my question on this blog - 4th May.

So, Gordon [stubborn as a mule] Brown, is still carrying on regardless with his own "grand vision" for a Big Brother State.
I see that he stitched you up to take more bad press about the Gurkhas injustice, and that he's got you going ahead with bringing in biometric I.D cards at a cost of £5 billion to the taxpayers.

You surely MUST have been told Jacqui, that there was a serious Intelligence warning to AVOID taking this country down the road of biometric I.D cards and government databases. The S.I.S do have this Intelligence warning in documents, so Gordon MUST have been told too. The warning given, [and this Intel has proved to be very accurate] is that a Big Brother state of databases, over zealous snooping and biometric I.D. cards, would lead to serious abuses of power in the future, the ruin of this country and much suffering for the people.....
IN THE FUTURE.

The Intelligence has proved to be credible and very accurate. It even saved Gordon's life, and Tony Blair's, and lots of other world leaders lives too. So it really is a bit of a mystery to me, as to why Gordon choses to ignore some of the warnings. Warnings I should add, given to SAVE LIVES and to protect the public from mortal dangers and abuses of power.

Gordon has put himself on Utube, all smiley with spin about creating a "fairer" Britain.

Well Jacqui Smith, it really doesn't seem very fair to me, that Gordon stitched you up for a load of bad press, when it is he who micro manages EVERYTHING that happens in a government he leads, and I mean everything.

It isn't very "fair" of him to just cherry pick parts of the Intelligence that suits him, and dismiss the rest of it, because it goes against HIS grand Orwellian plan, for total control and oppression of the population, complete with strongly warned against NUKES, power stations etc.
They may well be "carbon free" but they are toxic, lethal and pose a deadly threat to humanity and our very survival on this planet.

If I were you Jacqui Smith, I would double check the Intelligence warnings in the records the S.I.S have - Operation Beelzebub - codename Lawrence. 1958-2009. Scotland Yard will certainly be aware of this Intelligence.
You will find that your leader is trying to take this country down the WRONG road, and if he can blame you or others for that, he will do, and sack you, to make himself look good. That's hardly "fair". Is it Jacqui Smith? But then he hasn't been very fair to me either. The Lord God Almighty is watching him, closely.

Shame on you Gordon.

M.T.M.