Now Home Office minister Lord West is getting into the act of defending the Metropolitan Police:
Lord West, speaking in the House of Lords, said “thousands of officers acted absolutely professionally and proportionately, thousands were actually able to demonstrate peacefully on our streets, criminal activity in the rest of the metropolis was kept to an absolute minimum and the police also maintained high levels of security.
“And I think we should be extremely proud of them. This does not excuse acts which are criminal and there are now investigations taking place for those particulars.
“But in general I think we are very well-served by our police. I am very proud of them and the way I approach it generally is they are on our side and they are our people.”
He also defended British police tactics of confronting protesters face-to-face, arguing alternative crowd control methods were worse.
He told peers: “I have to say I do not like the thought of water cannon, baton rounds or shooting people all of which seem to occur in some other countries and I am jolly glad I live in this country. But all of those things will be looked at.”
Thousands were indeed able to demonstrate peacefully on our streets, and the climate camp protesters in particular were initially well served by the Met. Until they had their heads smashed in by the Territorial Support Group (TSG) shock troops later on. It’s not surprising that his perspective on the G20 policing should be skewed though – this is the same Lord West who said of the Home Office’s attempt to deport gay asylum seeker Mehdi Kazemi back to Iran:
My Lords, it is worth saying that we are not aware of any individual who has been executed in Iran in recent years solely on the grounds of homosexuality, and we do not consider that there is systematic persecution of gay men in Iran.
So he really is living in a parallel universe to the rest of us. There seems to be a lot of that going about in the Home Office. Nice of him to suggest we’re ungrateful for failing to appreciate that we don’t face worse policing though. We should be grateful for a mere police beating here and there then apparently.