Police watchdog seeks debate after G20

The head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has called for a debate over policing after the events of the G20.

Nick Hardwick, chair of the IPCC, wrote in the Observer that officers must remember they are “the servants not the masters” of the people.

The commission is currently investigating the third complaint of an alleged assault on a G20 protestor.

A video of the alleged attack has been released, apparently showing police punching a protestor in the face, and hitting another with a shield.

The events at the G20, which include the death of Ian Tomlinson, 47, who died after an incident involving a police officer, raise serious questions, Mr Hardwick said.

“It’s got to be a democratic political question about how do we want to be policed? I think that needs a proper parliamentary discussion.

“The choices we make as a society about that aren’t consequence-free. There are tricky balances to be struck.”

Mr Hardwick also expressed his concerns over evidence that some officers were hiding their identifying numbers.

“I think that raises serious concerns about the frontline supervision,” he told the newspaper.

“Why was that happening, why did the supervisor not stop them? What does that say about what your state of mind is? You were expecting trouble?

“I think that is unacceptable. It is about being servants, not masters: the police are there as public servants.”

Liberal Democrat shadow home secretary, Chris Huhne, has also called for a public inquiry. He said: “The case for a full independent inquiry into the policing of protests is now compelling.

“The Independent Police Complaints Commission, now dealing with its third complaint surrounding the G20 protests, can only look at individual cases and cannot consider broader issues like the behaviour of the TSG and the imaginative role of the Metropolitan Police press office.”

The IPCC has received more than 185 complaints about the G20 protests.