Wednesday 22 December 2010



The Chairwoman of the Metropolitan Police Civil Liberties Panel has seen a video which shows protesters being crushed by police in a "kettle" during demonstrations against the tripling of university fees. She described it as "appalling" and "ghastly".

Victoria Borwick, has suggested that people should complain officially about the Met. Ms Borwick is a Tory member of the London Assembly government.

The Metropolitan Police Authority, which scrutinizes the work of the Met, said a senior officer must report formally on its tactics for controlling and policing demonstrations.

An Oxford University postgraduate student has presented them with a video shot on his cell phone showing protesters shouting that there is no room" where the riot police are pushing them at times with horses. One student calls out a warming that the police are going to kill someone if they carry on.

Ms Borwick said that she could hear distress in the people’s voices on the video, and whilst she did not think that people could run riot in London this kind of policing made people very, very angry.

The video was shot by a student, Musab Younis of Wadham College, Oxford. He says that he started filming outside parliament just after the result of the vote was announced.

The police were trying to push people further into Parliament Square: maybe around 1,000 people were being held next to Westminster tube station, around 20 metres from the bridge. The police moved in from both sides, crushing people who were hemmed in by a wall on one side, vans and horses on another side, and two lines of police. People who fell over were simply trampled

Mr Younis said that they appealed to the police on the front lines, telling them that there was no space, that there were people who were being badly hurt and having trouble breathing. He said that they were ignored and if you didn’t move, they would kick you in the shins.

But it wasn’t just young people who were kettled. David Hough, a 51-year-old supply teacher was also caught in up the kettle. He reported that it was like Hillsborough. People were squashed and were saying that they couldn’t breathe.
A public order policing and law expert from the University of East Anglia said that he thought that what the police were doing was, in fact, illegal.

Clearly these marches have to be policed, if for no other reason for the safety of people living in the areas, or those passersby who are not involved in the protest (although that didn’t do Mr Tomlinson much good). But perhaps if the police showed a little more tolerance of protesters and if they would treat protesters with a little more respect, then perhaps they would find there would not be the escalation that the poorly policed demos in London have seen.

Police need to remember that they are public servants. They are not there to protect MPs from the anger that is felt by people whom they are denying that which they themselves enjoyed.

Parts of the video can be viewed

London's police need to learn, and rapidly, how to deal with these protests. I seriously doubt that Osborne's plans to reduce spending on policing will be able to be applied to London. These demonstrations will not go away. It may not be students next time, but there will be a next time. Then there are the Olympics coming up and that is a perfect time to demonstrate. What with that, terrorism, and having to stop people entering the Olympics are wearing T shirts emblazoned with "Burger King" or "Pepsi Cola", the police are going to need to perfect their techniques. They have to remember that the TV cameras of the world will be here.


  1. Policing on the cheap CH... Just the job for a cash strapped Met...

  2. Terribly difficult to see anything on the video. How I do wish today's generation would work out the difference between floor and ground - today's moan. :)

  3. Sorry about the quality SR...

    I think it's an English thing. I never hear Scottish teenages mix them up, but even old people some places in England don't seem to know the difference between what is under their feet indoors and out of doors..

    It the same with subject and object pronouns US and WE.. (Midlands)

    "Us 'as been to Tesco and Gran came with we..." argh...

    And while we are on the subject. Why to people use reflexive pronouns when they mean to use personal pronouns.

    "Is this the first time you've dealt with ourselves?"


    "We're just calling yourself to ask.... blah.."

    I think they think it sounds posh!!

    OK, now I've had a moan too.... :)

  4. I would like to say that the Met are doing a cack handed job on purpose in order to extract more money. But having reviewed their history over the past decade it seems that a cack handed approach just seems to be the norm. What with shooting innocent electricians, clubbing innocent newspaper vendors and so on. They seem to give London more the feel of the Wild West than the English capitol.

    The ludicrous nonsense of the Commissioner getting a title before having done a hands turn is an outright disgrace! As is the fact that the Commissioner is a political appointment in the gift of the Home Secretary rather than being controlled by London’s Mayor and the Greater London Assembly. The whole GLA, Mayor thing was another of Tony Blair’s infamous fudges, like Stormont, the Welsh Assembly and the Scottish Parliament!

    We don't see the Tories rushing to do anything about it though despite all their nonsense about directly elected police chiefs al la the Senior Partner (USA). If they are serious about that kind of "power to the people" why not start with the most obvious and give control of London's police to London's elected representatives?

  5. Yes Munguin. Another oversight in Blair's mess of devolution. London becomes a separate entity with an executive mayor who has day to day responsibility for the police, but not for the police chief.

    Boris then messed up the last police chief’s job by saying in public that he had no confidence in him (which was not surprising since he oversaw the promotion of the Dick head woman who couldn’t find her own office never mind run an anti terror programme).

    I doubt if the average Londoner had confidence in him either.

    So anyway he had to resign and go to the House of Lords to join the other failures.

    Now Teresa Kinky Boots is in charge, so she’s more interested in the quality of the hand cuffs and restraints than anything else.

    I’ve heard him interviewed on radio and he sounds like as my granny would say “an auld fish wife”.

    Still, if he has some fur covered hand cuffs, I’m sure Tessy will be delighted with his performance. Boris doesn’t seem to be complaining about him in the same way that he did about the last one, so you can draw your own conclusions from that...

    He’s certainly on a “charm” offensive to get more money, although the word “charm” and Paul Stephenson are not words I would usually put within 2 paragraphs of each other: “smarm” is nearer it. I wonder what Tubby will have to do to charm the apparently charmless Osborne...

  6. Police state! If this is what goes on in Britain today then democracy is not working.

  7. The police need to get some sort of sense of how to treat these demonstrations. I don't like them, and I don't want them, but if they're going to actively provoke more violence, then what do they expect? It's amazing that no-one's been killed yet, I can only see it getting worse, and it makes me think, 'there's no way to be committed to non-violence in the most violent society ever created.' If the police cannot act with dignity and respect, people are going to go even more nuts. And if they're going to keep acting as the personal army of the rich, they're going to get what's coming to them sooner or later, whether that's legal or physical action.

  8. Sometimes you think these people are mad, and then you wonder, Cyncial.

  9. Yes Laz, it will get worse...

    The police appear to be on the side of the government and against the people. It will escalate...

  10. BTW,

    I apologise to everyone who was on the blogroll. I managed to lose the whole thing while taking the Daily Telegraph off it.