Tag Archives: policing

Huhne: scrap ID cards and put 10,000 bobbies on the beat. Three reasons why he’s wrong

Amother day, another nail in the coffin of Labour’s increeasingly half-hearted attempts to force the British people to carry ID cards and enrtust their personal details to a national government database. The BBC reports:

Home Secretary Alan Johnson has dropped plans to make ID cards compulsory for pilots and airside workers at Manchester and London City airports. The cards were due to be trialled there – sparking trade union anger. … But Mr Johnson said the ID card scheme was still very much alive – despite Tory and Lib Dem calls to scrap it. He said the national roll-out of

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Inexperienced officers in protest frontline – never again, say MPs

An inquiry by MPs into the 1 April G20 protests has concluded that untrained police officers must never again be placed in the frontline of public protest.

From the Guardian:

The conclusion from the Commons home affairs select committee inquiry into the G20 protests of April 1 follows admissions from senior Metropolitan police officers that some inexperienced officers, who were clearly quite scared, used “inappropriate force”.

The report by the cross-party group of MPs says they “cannot condone the use of untrained, inexperienced officers on the frontline of a public protest under any circumstances”.

The inquiry also calls for the police to seriously

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Arrested for requesting a policeman’s badge number

From the Guardian today, shocking footage of two women being arrested at Kingsnorth climate camp in Kent last year.

The women had asked police officers who were not displaying their badge numbers, to identify themselves. They were arrested for “obstructing a police officer.”

The video, made by police surveillance officers, shows an officer holding one woman by the neck and the other woman being laid face down on the ground before having her legs bound.

Emily Apple and Val Swain were held in custody for four days but all charges against the women were later dropped.

They have complained to the Independent …

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Opinion: The G20 protests – two months on, what lessons have been learned?

Two months have passed since the G20 and the brutal police operation against protesters in the City of London. Yesterday the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) met for the second time since the operation to question Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

At the first meeting the Met showed no signs of having taken on board the serious and widespread criticism of their actions and at times actively mis-represented what had taken place in an attempt to spin themselves out of trouble. So it was with a fair deal of scepticism that myself and Anna Bragga of Defend Peaceful Protest went down to …

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Opinion: We need a proper public debate on the future of protest policing in our country

Force is a physical power, and I fail to see what moral effect it can have. To yield to force is an act of necessity, not of will — at the most, an act of prudence. In what sense can it be a duty?’
J Jacques Rousseau

I don’t think I am the only one to have quoted the social contract over the G20 protests earlier this month. 350 years on from its writing, Rousseau’s work is still strikingly relevant. It is clear from the outcry following G20 that many are now questioning the role of …

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Police who hide ID numbers face the sack

Police officers who conceal their Force Identification Numbers “will face the sack” according to Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson. He said it is “totally unacceptable” for officers not to wear their shoulder numbers.

From the BBC:

His comments follow allegation against several officers at the G20 protests – including the man who pushed newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson before he died.

New footage has emerged of the moments leading up to his death, as a third post-mortem examination was held.

Mr Tomlinson, 47, died minutes after he was pushed over during the demonstrations in central London.

The officer at the centre of the allegations

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Dee Doocey: “Surveillance cuts both ways”

“Never again,” says Dee Doocey AM, Member of the Metropolitan Police Authority, on the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 demonstrations on April 1st.

Writing on the Progressive London blog today, Dee lists six basic principles which should be reflected in future police policy towards protest:

• Demonstrations and other peaceful forms of protest are a fundamental democratic right

• Demonstrations are usually peaceful

• Policing should be proportionate

• It is unacceptable for any officer deliberately to obscure his or her identification number

• The police must exercise due care and attention when making statements to the media

• The police have Britain’s reputation …

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“Tourist” sounds a bit like “terrorist”: be very afraid!

A father and son on holiday in London were stopped by police and made to delete photos from their cameras, of a bus station and some double decker buses.

From the Guardian:

Like most visitors to London, Klaus Matzka and his teenage son Loris took several photographs of some of the city’s sights, including the famous red double-decker buses. More unusually perhaps, they also took pictures of the Vauxhall bus station, which Matzka regards as “modern sculpture”.
But the tourists have said they had to return home to Vienna without their holiday pictures after two policemen forced them to delete the photographs from their cameras in the name of preventing terrorism.

Matkza, a 69-year-old retired television cameraman with a taste for modern architecture, was told that photographing anything to do with transport was “strictly forbidden”. The policemen also recorded the pair’s details, including passport numbers and hotel addresses.

I’ve just got back from Moscow, where there were hardly any CCTV cameras, and where I photographed and filmed stations and public transport to my heart’s content. (Isn’t that what everyone does on holiday?)

No sign there of the citizens-vs-State surveillance arms race (or should that be “eyes race”?) that is commonplace in Britain’s major cities.

While innovations like Google Streetview show images of our cities in detail, tourists and journalists alike are becoming suspects for simply observing the “wrong” things in a public place.

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[email protected]: David Howarth – Who are the police protecting?

Over at The Guardian’s Comment Is Free, Lib Dem shadow justice secretary David Howarth asks if police interference in the right to protest is designed only to protect the political and economic status quo. Here’s an excerpt:

The arrest of more than one hundred climate protesters alleged to have been planning to disrupt the operation of the Ratcliffe coal-fired power station is, I am glad to see, raising questions about undue interference in the right to protest. Prior restraint of protest, especially in the form of preventive arrest, is difficult to justify. Adding restrictive conditions to the protesters’ bail makes the

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 1 Comment

Respec’ to Da Fink: Comment Central apologises to Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems

Straightforward public apologies are an almost extinct species. Such mea culpas are nearly always hedged-about, heavily-caveatted, explained-away with mealy-mouthed phrases (‘the general point remains’, ‘based on information available at the time’, ‘written in good faith’).

So I’m going simply to say well done, and thank you, to The Times’s Daniel Finkelstein for penning a simple and graceful apology to the Liberal Democrats for criticising the party’s monitoring of the policing of the G20 protests.

You can read my articles taking Danny’s original postings to task here, here, here and here.

Today, Danny has posted the following retraction to his Comment Central blog, Mature reflection on the Liberals and the G20, which I hope he’s happy for LDV to quote in full:

The decision of a number of senior Liberal Democrats to be legal observers at the G20 demonstrations prompted me to ask Nick Clegg whether he approved of their decision.

I suggested that for the front bench of a major political party to start monitoring the police was extraordinary.

My two posts on this theme attracted a large number of comments from Liberals with a big and a small L. They expressed disappointment, though not surprise, at my stance.

Well, I have returned from a few days away. I have read your comments. I have caught up with the stories about police conduct. And there is no doubt about it.

You, the critics, were right. I was wrong. And I am very sorry now that I wrote as I did.

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[email protected]: Brian Paddick – Police leaders must regain control of their subordinates

Over at The Independent, former Lib Dem London mayoral candidate Brian Paddick, former Deputy Assistant Commissioner at the Metroplitan Police, examines the force’s mounting problems. Here’s an excerpt:

Seeing the video of Ian Tomlinson being assaulted by a police officer during the G20 protests – an apparently innocent man being subjected to what appeared to be an unjustified assault by a police officer – provoked in me an immediate desire for the perpetrator to be suspended, tried and punished.

On the other hand, having been the victim of “trial by media” myself, I realised the need for an independent investigation, the outcome

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Quick’s marching orders: too harsh, or just right?

Bob Quick, “Britain’s most senior anti-terrorism officer” as he’s known to every paper, has resigned after he was photographed yesterday outside Number 10 holding an outline briefing on an on-going counter-terrorism operation inadvertently exposing the names of several senior officers, locations and details about the nature of the overseas threat.

It prompts two questions in my mind.

First, are we holding public figures in senior office to the right standard?

No-one is suggesting Bob Quick deliberately leaked the briefing. Clearly he’d just been reading it in the car in preparation for a meeting, and didn’t think to put it back in …

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Ian Tomlinson – full Lib Dem blog round-up

The Guardian’s video showing a policeman making an unprovoked attack on Ian Tomlinson in London during last week’s G20 protests has sparked a great deal of coverage on Lib Dem blogs today. Here’s a full round-up in chronological order:

Video on Guardian website appears to show police assault on Ian Tomlinson – Jonathan on Liberal England

Ian Tomlinson – video footage emerges – Lib Dem Voice

Shocked and appalled by Guardian’s G20 video – Councillor David Walker: Working for Bridgnorth Morfe Ward all year round!

Guardian video reveals police assault on G20 protestor that died – Duncan

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Lib Dems demand criminal inquiry into Tomlinson death

The BBC reports:

The Liberal Democrats are demanding a criminal inquiry after video footage of the G20 protest showed a police officer pushing over a man who later died.

Newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson, 47, who was walking home from work, suffered a heart attack afterwards outside the Bank of England in central London.

Lib Dem justice spokesman David Howarth said the footage showed a “sickening and unprovoked attack” by police.

The IPCC is investigating and said it would examine the footage.

Here’s Lib Dem shadow justice secretary David Howarth’s statement on the Guardian video showing a policeman attacking Mr Tomlinson shortly …

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A question for Daniel Finkelstein on the G20 protests

Daniel Finkelstein has another of his regular pops at Nick Clegg and the Lib Dems today. (Danny’s an ex-SDPer, and, like a reformed smoker, is obsessively evangelical in his disdain for its successor party).

Today, as he did yesterday, Danny seeks to demonise four senior Lib Dem politicians – Baroness Williams, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and David Howarth – for acting as legal observers monitoring the policing of yesterday’s climate camp protest in London, timed to coincide with the G20 summit.

Today, as he did yesterday, Danny fails to mention the legitimate concerns which were raised – …

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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Shirley, Simon, Chris and David

The Times tells us that four senior Lib Dems will be on hand to inspect police treatment of protesters at today’s climate camp in London’s Square Mile:

Four Liberal Democrats – Baroness Williams of Crosby, Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and David Howarth – will act as legal observers at the climate camp to prevent violence initiated by police, rather than protesters.

Mr Howarth, the MP for Cambridge, said that police and media were guilty of “talking up the violence”, adding: “The danger is that they are putting off peaceful protesters, and attracting the wrong sort.”

Over at the paper’s Comment Central

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Huhne: police officers with criminal convictions should be sacked. (Question: should they?)

Here’s how the party’s lead press release today, picked up by much of the media today, reports this latest crime statistic:

Over a thousand serving police officers in Great Britain have criminal convictions, according to new figures revealed by the Liberal Democrats. …

• There were 1,063 serving police officers in 41 police forces across Britain who had criminal convictions
• This includes five officers who were sacked by the force but reinstated by the Home Office
• There are 77 serving police officers with convictions for violent offences who have kept their jobs: 59 with convictions for assault; 14 for violence against the person;

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‘Toothache, diarrhoea, cut fingers and possible bee stings’ – the injuries that Kingsnorth climate camp protestors were blamed for inflicting on police

Kudos to Lib Dem MP David Howarth for his role in forcing an apology from a Labour home office minister who had blamed protestors who attended the Kingsnorth climate camp for hurting 70 police officers. The Guardian has the story today:

A minister apologised to parliament yesterday for telling MPs that 70 police officers were hurt during a climate change protest … The apology followed a freedom of information request from the Liberal Democrats, which showed that no officers in the £5.9m police operation at Kingsnorth power station in Kent during August had been injured by protesters. Instead, police records showed that their medical unit had dealt mostly with toothache, diarrhoea, cut fingers and “possible bee stings”.

And here’s the Hansard exchange:

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Opinion: Whose law is it anyway?

Anyone who followed the recent Camp for Climate Action at Kingsnorth could have a range of views of the policing of that event. It could be anything from: “The police successfully prevented an extreme element from injuring protestors, police and horses” to “a legitimate and necessary protest went ahead despite an extreme element within the police force, who were committed to suppress it”.

For me, my experience of the policing of the camp is something I’m having some difficulty accepting. As a councillor in Cambridge, I work closely with the police and know the intentions of officers are overwhelmingly …

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Recent Comments

  • User AvatarJohn 21st Sep - 8:18pm
    A good tone of speaking from Jo. Authority without talking down.
  • User AvatarMartin 21st Sep - 7:56pm
    Lie down, shut your eyes for a moment and imagine an election in which Liberal Democrats vow to revoke Article 50 and win an overall...
  • User AvatarRoland 21st Sep - 7:51pm
    Many thanks for bring this to our attention - I know a potential applicant...
  • User AvatarPeter Hirst 21st Sep - 6:55pm
    How many seats is the Party targeting? I've read above 100 as possible somewhere. We need to get 150 to make it a real change...
  • User AvatarGeoffrey Dron 21st Sep - 6:04pm
    Jo very good - definitely best PM-material of the three party leaders - but she ought to have been subject to more rigorous cross-examination by...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 21st Sep - 5:49pm
    http://liberalbureaucracy.blogspot.com/2019/09/alde-party-congress-athens-2019_21.html Liberal Democrats should support our policy of a voting age of 16 at every opportunity. 1) David Cameron (Con) allowed it for the 2014...
Thu 10th Oct 2019