Corporate Police Hits Back!

Sir Ken Jones, the head of ACPO has hit back against the chair of the IPCC, who said the numerous complaints he had received about Met police brutality had raised ‘serious concerns’:

Sir Ken Jones described the approach to tacking demonstrations as “proportionate” despite a series of videos which have provoked anger at officers’ actions.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Sir Ken said: “Mr Hardwick is entitled of course to his own opinions but I think we need to do our research and realise just how well this activity is done in our country.

“I can’t find any other country that doesn’t use water cannon, CS gas, rubber bullets. Our approach is proportionate and, in fact, has delivered on many other occasions.

“But on the question of a review, yes, Acpo has has welcomed that, but I think we need to do it with some objectivity and have a broader perspective than I have seen in the last few days. We need to make sure that we don’t condemn the many for a problem created by the few.”

Sir Ken denied that he was trying to excuse the activities of individual officers, some of whom were alleged to have hidden their identity numbers.

“I’m not making an excuse. What I am saying is that the world is changing,” he said. “The way that some people come to these protests now, particularly in Europe, and offer violence to people, to property, to other legitimate protesters, and, yes, they came to attack the police, this has become an increasingly difficult job for us to pull off.

How ‘well done’ eh? So because we don’t use water cannon, CS gas or rubber bullets, that makes the Met’s behaviour ‘proportionate’? Nicely played. Of course that’s spin, it’s complete garbage, but at the same time it’s clearly going to be the police’s tactic in trying to get past this crisis. It’s a continuation of Tony Blair’s big lie from 9/11, that ‘because the world has changed, our approach needs to be harder, stronger and different’. Yet  the world has not changed, people’s motivations are unchanged, and in comparison with say the 1970s there’s very little protest at all – SOCPA legislation, trades union legislation and anti-terror measures have pretty much put paid to that without a baton being lifted! To suggest it’s increasingly difficult for the police to manage protest and dissent is completely ridiculous. David Hughes adds:

There was nothing proportionate about Ian Tomlinson being roughly pushed to the ground minutes before he collapsed and died. There was even less proportionality in the ugly spectacle of Nicola Fisher being given a back-handed slap across the face by a police officer who’d taken the trouble to conceal his number before he took out his baton and hit her with it. Other examples of heavy-handed (literally) police action are emerging by the day.

No one doubts that the police were subjected to immense provocation. I wouldn’t like to stand in a thin blue line and face a mass of protesters, some of them hell-bent on violence. While they are trained to respond in a measured way, it is blindingly obvious not all of them do and we would have a more sensible debate if people like Sir Ken recognised the fact.

And back to Sir Ken:

“And I think we just need to look at this in the round. I saw some of the footage last week of whole groups of officers being hemmed in. Nobody wants to talk about that now. Those officers behaved really well, they acted with restraint.”

Oh please, he doesn’t even appreciate the irony of his own words! What about the hundreds of protesters and members of the public who weren’t given any choice about being hemmed in by police for hours, without even the liberty to go to the toilet? His stance may be disgusting, but remember, as 45govt in the Telegraph article reminds us:

ACPO* is NOT, as most people believe, part of the Police of the UK, but a private for-profit advisory body staffed by serving and retired plods out to fill their pockets with lucrative govt contracts. A good example would be sending a huge bill for advising that the police brutality at the G20 was entirely proportionate, and we should thank our stars we weren’t all shot in the head. “That will be £200,000 please Minister – ta very much.”

*“The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO)
is an independent, professionally led strategic body. In the public interest and, in equal and active partnership with Government and the Association of Police Authorities, ACPO leads and coordinates the direction and development of the police service in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In times of national need ACPO – on behalf of all chief officers – coordinates the strategic policing response.”

It’s a case of corporate policing defending corporate policing. Insidious to say the least. We are in a mess.

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One response to “Corporate Police Hits Back!

  1. I have been reading your articles with interest, and I agree with much of what you say.

    The UK has far far too much surveillance, the DNA laws are wrong, the anti-terror laws wrong, and ID card should be scrapped forwever

    However the issue of “the” police being wrong and brutal, is not always an easy subject, nor perhaps as clear cut as some may portray.

    Policing on a large scale issues is difficult. In fact doing anything on a large scale, well, is difficult. Its hard enough to get 10 people to turn up for dinner on time, let alone move 10,000s of people around without incident.

    The police have often varied between doing nothing (look back at the old May Day Riots when the city was routinely smashed up and the police were pillared for not doing enough, to now when individuals can be brutal). There are also two measures that can be used, a relative measure, i.e. comparing the UK police to another police force, and an absolute measure – comparing the police to the ideal. In a relative measure the UK police do a very well. The brutality of even the European police forces, let alone the US,South American, or African police forces makes the UK cops look like boy scouts.

    But, on a relative measure, the police in the UK do less well, they are not ideal and fall short of what people would like. But this is because the police are selected from the population. The population contains idiots and geniuses, communists and fascist, liberals and war mongers, and this mix of people go into the police.

    The police officer on the front line of a cordon is going to be there because he going to be a certain personality type, he chose the police, he chose the support groups, he chose the training.

    He may not have chosen that day, or that location, but he would have chosen that role.

    Those types are often people who don’t take abuse well. The sad reality is that you need some “hard men” in the police, you also need softer people, negotiators, social skills, etc, but you do still need the “tough guys” sometimes.

    So, these men are on the front line, getting spat at, and abused, and generally having bad time of it, for hours and hours at a time. They are hot, sweaty, tired, and fed up with it. Their vision is blurred, their adrenalin is up and their tolerance down, and all of their instructions and directions are being ignored.

    Certain parts of their brain will start to shutdown at this point, this is almost impossible to control as it happens automatically.

    If somebody pushes them, or abuses them once more they may snap, and push back. Is that acceptable? No. Does it happen? Yes. Are they evil people? Not really.

    Think of the millions of interactions between the police and the public. In a large scale event with say, 50,000 people there will be numerous “incidents ” between a person a police officer in one day. Lets say there are an average of 10 (for some people it will be none, for others it will many more). This means that there will be half a million meetings/incidents/contacts between public and police in one major event. If there is one assault by the police that day, that is, quite literally a 2 in a million incident. Does it make it right? No of course not. But what number would be realistic to accept? 1 in a million? 1 in a 100 million? 1 in a billion? There will never be a an acceptable number of assaults by the police, but there has to be a realistic expectation that humans err.

    And therefore no matter what the police do, what laws in place there will still be incidents.

    Murder is clearly illegal in this country, but it still occurred even when we had capital punishment, so its impossible to stop some people committing some crimes, regardless of the laws, policy or deterrents.

    Is it right that legitimate protesters campaigning about important subjects get lumped with the extreme criminal minority who don’t really have a cause? No. The same is true of the police.

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