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IPCC urges demo policing debate

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BBC NEWS: “The head of the police complaints watchdog has called for a debate over the way demonstrations are policed after the row over the G20 protests. Nick Hardwick, head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, also asks why some G20 officers apparently removed identity numbers from uniforms.His comments in the Observer came hours after footage released by Climate Camp protesters showed police hitting a man.

Scotland Yard has already referred three G20-related cases to the IPCC. Mr Hardwick said police should remember they were “the servants not the masters” of the people…”

I think that we do need to be a little careful here. Police morale may indeed take a bashing itself as public confidence in them wanes. The problem is that no police officer should hide his identity number, this has been going on for years. No police officer should use brute force unless lives are in danger and the protection of life is paramount. Other police officers who see colleagues behaving outside the rules should report offenders to their superiors.

We need also to remember that protesters themselves should not insult or provoke the police into violent reactions. We know that significant numbers of protesters are on demonstrations to simply insult and goad the police into using brute force. We need to encourage respect for police officers not promote anarchistic or anti-police protesters.

The practice of “kettling” protesters is controversial, what the police need to do is separate the nasty bullying element of protesters from those who engage in simple peaceful protest.

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