Police answer to civil liberties critics

By politics.co.uk

Three senior Met officers have been questioned by concerned Londoners at the first meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) Civil Liberties Panel.

Assistant commissioner Chris Allison, commander Bob Broadhurst and chief superintendent Ian Thomas, were asked to explain why they had used certain tactics such as ‘kettling’, and how the Met intends to ensure lessons learnt and public expectations are fed into future public order planning.

The meeting was set up by Boris Johnson during the fallout to the G20 demonstrations, in which Ian Tomlinson was killed shortly after being shoved by a policeman.

Victoria Borwick, MPA member and chair of the panel said: “Londoners are very concerned about events and media images that resulted from the G20 policing.

“It is essential that lessons learnt from this and other recent protests are embedded quickly into the whole organisation as the way forward needs to rebuild trust between police and public.
The Panel examined how public order policing is planned and how quickly plans are able to adapt to rapidly changing situations.

There were also discussions establishing how officers communicate during the events and the highly controversial subject of officers hiding their ID number.

“We intend to gather as many Londoners’ views as possible and on November 5th we will be holding a special meeting in London’s ‘Living Room’ at City Hall.

“We will be inviting people from all sides of the issue- protestors, police, business groups and people caught up in protests as they go about their daily business – to ask them what they want from their police service during a public order event.”

The Crown Prosecution Service has been handed the file on the death of Ian Tomlinson, but observers are still waiting to discover if any further action will be taken.