We’re not even into the second calendar year of the ConDem coalition – you remember, the one which said it would do better than New Labour on civil liberties? – and already things are threatening to become far worse than at any point in that period. The Metropolitan Police, ever trigger and truncheon-happy, is now threatening to ban protests:
Asked at the press conference if the Met would consider banning future marches, Sir Paul replied: “That’s one of the options we have got. Banning is a very difficult step to take, these are very balanced judgments.
“We can’t ban a demonstration but we can ban a march, subject to approval by the Home Secretary.”
But he went on: “When you have got people willing to break the law in this way, what is the likelihood of them obeying an order not to march or complying with conditions on a demonstration?
“Sometimes putting that power in could just be inflaming the situation further.”
Strange, that. He seems not to understand that it’s his force which has already inflamed the situation further. That his force, embarrassed by poor planning but surprisingly good policing of the first student protest, has now embarked on a vendetta against this country’s children and young people. Pre-emptive kettling (and lying about it)? Check. Hitting children and young people (not to mention kettling them) for no reason at all? Check. Running contained protesters (and others) down? Check. Baitvans? Check. Giving protesters brain injuries, then trying to deny them medical assistance? Check. Banning further protests would of bloody course inflame the situation further. The fucking idiot should be trying to defuse the situation, not make it worse.
He said public buildings and monuments in London, such as the Cenotaph, could be boarded up to protect them during future demonstrations, as happened ahead of May Day protests in recent years.
Sir Paul conceded the events are stretching his force’s capabilities, saying: “When you are putting 3,000 people out, not just on one day but a significant number of days, the consequences of that for the rest of the organisation are quite clear.”
He said he is “very worried” about the knock-on effect on securing neighbourhoods and town centres as hundreds of officers are redeployed to Westminster.
Sir Paul said he did not want a “paramilitary model” of policing in Britain but admitted a fresh review is taking place of whether or not water cannon should be used against rioters.
“I do not want to engage in an arms race, a knee jerk reaction to thugs and hooligans who do not know how to behave when they are accompanied by an overwhelming number who want to demonstrate peacefully.
“I am most reluctant to move towards this but at the same time we should keep everything under review.”
This is the man who the other day said protesters were lucky they weren’t killed by the police that day. I don’t believe a police commissioner in any Western city should be using such language or even suggesting using additional weaponry on protests which have been wholly legitimate; angry but legitimate. Blaming angry students for grievances shared by many more people than just them, overexaggerating the violence, dismissing the violence of his own people and justifying the tactics his Commander Bob Broadhurst thinks makes sense for policing large scale protests in London; this is a return to G20 style policing without a large scale outcry. In this grudge match he no longer seems to feel the need to justify his thugs not wearing their ID badges:
Does someone have to die again before this continued abuse of their role stops? And why is most of the press complicit in it this time?
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