Footage showed police push Mr Tomlinson

We’re up for it and we’re up to it…” Cmdr. Simon O’Brien of London’s Metropolitan Police 26/03/09.  Speaking about the policing arrangements for the G20 Financial Fools Day Demonstrations in London.

The nonchalant attitude towards their colleagues behaviour and the victim of the assault indicates this type of violence is common place and perhaps considered reasonable.

* The key concept is that of “reasonable force” – i.e. force that is in proportion to the threat faced either by the public, the police or property
* Thus “reasonable force” may literally range from putting a hand on someone’s elbow, to shooting them dead
* The legislation governing police powers during demonstrations (mostly the Public Order Act 1986) must also be seen in context of human rights’ legislation
* Under European human rights’ laws the police are required to actively protect the public’s right to peaceful protest
* Policing during a protest, therefore, is a negotiation between the rights of police to use reasonable force to protect the public, and their responsibility to allow peaceful protest to take place –  Link

I became concious today and not for the first time that I’ve come to view bad behaviour from the police as something to be expected. Not necessarily widespread or acceptable though common enough for the annecdotes to flow in conversation.  Low level assault by the police is nothing out of the ordinary. Especially during demonstrations and protests. It happens all the time.

Shame that someone has to die though before such things get in the news. You could debate the subject ad nauseum. My simple view is that the police should serve the public and not commit crime.

2 Comments

  1. I watched this footage for the first time earlier this evening and was astounded. Quite apart from the sad fact of Mr Tomlinson’s death and whether it might or might not have been caused by his treatment by the police, there is NO EXCUSE WHATSOEVER for the actions depicted in this video. Reasonable force? To use on someone who is walking away from you with his hands in his pockets?

    I am astounded. And not in a good way.

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