April 14th, 2009

Truly Shocking

Posted in The Job - General by 200

Welcome if you’re visiting this blog as a result of clicking on a link from the “Police Brutality at the G20…” Flickr group.

I’m touched that the organisers of this insignificant little bunch (10 members) think my blog is so “shocking” that they need to link to it to point out to the world the truly shockingness of it.

I don’t know much about Flickr other than it is a good example of a truly appalling design & user-interface. I think that if you are a member of Flikr, you can join & post your photos of Police Brutality for all the world to see how truly appaling the British police is.

Only I think the 10 members of this august group have missed the point. I looked through all 47 photographs, there are shots of police officers with batons raised, there are 4 shots of members of the public with some blood on them, there are a couple of shots of policemen with angry faces. I can’t see many which demonstrate ‘brutality’. We are none the wiser as to how or by whom any of the injuries were caused, nor the circumstances. One person seems to have totally missed the point of the group, unless showing a photo of some musicians talking to a bunch of protesters without a police officer in shot is true evidence of police brutality.

There are some great journalistic shots on there, but I’m not convinced the IPCC will be calling for ‘exhibit A’ from the Flickr group.

If you’ve visted from the Flickr link, were you shocked? If so, my work here is done…

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20 comments

  1. Tony F says:

    I reckon some people will be offended about anything. And even go out of their way to be offended. Ho hum. Well, if they want to be offended about something, (apologies now 200) Get a LIFE you useless bunch of wankers…..

    April 14th, 2009 at 21:26

  2. Geeorge says:

    And talking about “brutality”, what about this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V23PGWd46MM&feature=player_embedded

    The action starts at about 3minutes 30seconds into the clip:
    we see one or more police officers (possibly with adequate justification, maybe without) pushing a young man to the ground, and then we watch some tooled up thug in uniform (shoulder number obscured) complete with long heavy black gloves, backhanding a woman across her face with no warning and certainly without any apparent justification, then applying a baton strike to her thigh, again without any proper warning or adequate justification.

    With all the bad publicity, I suppose it won’t be long before filming such Police initiated violence is forcibly prevented.
    But will that really solve the problem?

    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

    George

    April 15th, 2009 at 06:05

  3. BDZ says:

    He told her to move back once and she didn’t so then he used he hands and she still came back, so then he used a baton. Seems fair enough to me.

    George how is it that you know the officer had no justification? She also seemed to have had at least one verbal warning to move back.

    April 15th, 2009 at 08:30

  4. Legal Eagle says:

    Perhaps the next she’s in a riot/public order situation and told to “GET BACK!” she’ll do as she’s told?

    April 15th, 2009 at 08:41

  5. Alpha Tango says:

    Who will these people call when their house has been burgled, or assaulted, etc

    The police!!!

    There should be a right to protest peacfully, even if the majority does not support that view.

    You cant have it both ways, you are for law and order and behave accordingly or not.

    Perhaps next time their life has gone a bit pear shaped, those involved should consider calling someonelse other that 999

    April 15th, 2009 at 09:46

  6. 200 says:

    Geeorge,

    in reference to that specific video, by ‘tooled up’ thug, I take it you mean uniformed officer using equipment supplied by the Home Office? (ASP).

    By ‘armour’ I take it you’re referring to the gloves/gauntlets? I don’t know what gear the Met currently issue, but when I was in the ‘riot squad’ we had similar things, they were called ‘gloves’ & had reinforced strips across them of additional padding with a leather cover. They help you protect yourself against injury when people are chucking bricks & bottles at you are trying to injure you with poles, something I have no idea whether you have any experience of.
    So if these gauntlets were similar I guess the answer to your question is “The Home Office”. If they’re not approved ones, then probably nobody authorised them.

    As to the backhanding the woman with “no warning or apparent justification”, let’s play a guessing game here, as neither you nor I were present and neither of us can hear what the officer is saying or the woman, they are both clearly saying something. What we do hear, or at least what I’ve just heard on the BBC News was the officer telling her to ‘get back’. She clearly ignores this warning and even after being pushed back, insists on charging forward & getting in the officer’s face again.

    With a threat or fear of violence against an officer, guess what, we’re allowed to push people away, two fisted, in the chest, quite hard. It’s a Home Office approved technique. Whether he was justified in then using his baton after the previous techniques – verbal command & physical pushing – failed, will come out in the discipline/assault case.

    But let’s get this clear. Doubtless there have been cases of inapropriate or unjustified violence. But mahy of the ‘victims’ weren’t fluffy bunnykins out for a picnic. Officers faced real & present dangers, it’s not easy to remain calm & fight by the Queensbury Rules.

    As far as I;m concerned, if you tell someone to do something you are lawfully empowered to do, they refuse several times, then you either walk away & let them get on with it, or you have to use some level of violence against them. In most cases once it gets to that stage most people deserve what they get. Some don’t & that’s a shame.

    But don’t try making out that you are not as biased as I am.

    April 15th, 2009 at 17:31

  7. 200 says:

    Oh come on Geeorge, not trying to claim the last bastian of the righteous, the moral highground, “biased towards honesty, fairness & justice”?

    I’ve not seen much ‘fairness’ in your analysis of what went on, I have seen you jumping to conclusions without possession of the required information which would authorise your viewpoint as ‘fair’, or are you only fair towards those who are ‘oppressed’ by the police?

    Damn right I’m biased, generally in favour of the police, borne of 30 years of dealing with the scum of this society, some of whom were present at G20. Of 30 years’ experience of people taking any & every opportunity to denegrate all the good work which goes on throughout the country every day by decent, honest & conscientious police officers even -you’ll never believe this – people make things up to bolster their own viewpoint. And, no, I don’t mind having a pop at the police when I feel it’s deserved, any long-time reader of this blog will know that; it’s not a slavish dedication of support for the police. But I do come with baggage.

    If you don’t bring your own prejudices to this & any other debate, then you’re a better man than me, or a bloody liar.

    April 15th, 2009 at 18:59

  8. James says:

    Where is the outrage at the copper getting whacked around the head with a pole?

    The copper who hit the woman is possibly preoccupied with the people behind her, I don’t agree with what he did, but don’t know the whole story.

    I have no doubt there are coppers who shouldn’t be coppers, and no doubt that there are people in the crowd who aren’t representative of the majority – ie out for a ruck. I would hazard that most of the police on duty that day were professional.

    We’re concerned about a woman getting a backhander. If you want to see real police brutality look at other countries eg G8 Genoa. And if you think in the past the police in this country wouldn’t hit you in confrontation situational, you’re mistaken. Not to excuse any misconduct, but to put it into context, some country’s police would batter you just for looking at them. The police are between a rock and a hard place.

    April 15th, 2009 at 21:40

  9. James says:

    I have also been concerned about the police tactics, on several levels.

    - Arguably not using proper protective gear – a lot of coppers don’t seem to be wearing helmets or carrying shields, eg the copper whacked with the pole, or the ones having barricades thrown at them. (I would suppose this is an effort to not appear aggressive from on high)

    - The liberal use of force, which can escalate the situation in the immediacy and expose people to unnecessary injury. Surprisingly the public don’t like the police attacking them and can lead to more widespread problems, see Rodney King riots, recent Greek riots, French, and so on

    - Reports of police threatening false arrest on trumped up charges, eg arrested for having a stolen mobile if they refuse to give personal details – as to the veracity of these claims, I don’t know, but wouldn’t be surprised if there was truth in them.

    – Obscuring their identities, hmmm, mens rea

    – The actual tactics of containment (kettling), I don’t know enough about riots to comment, although I think its use should be reviewed, ’cause it does seem indiscriminate.

    – The clearing of the ‘climate camp’ after dark

    I would suggest that overall, the individual police did well, their conduct marred by the actions of a few. As to the strategy and tactics of containment and camp clearing, these are from higher up the chain and also need to be looked at.

    btw, I’m not a copper

    April 16th, 2009 at 10:05

  10. 200 says:

    Geeorge,
    I always believed that the best way to get a message across was to make sure the receiver understood it. Therefore your sentence about an ‘ad hominem’ attack means precisely nothing to me since I don’t understand Latin. “You’re either a better man than me or a liar” – this is construed as an attack. Your personal prejudice seems to have caused you to miss 50% of that sentence which I suggest is far from an attack!

    I’m sorry you felt I was ‘attacking’ you. I was merely demonstrating that we all come with prejudices, you don’t seem to accept that you have any, fair enough, that’s your opinion. I disagree, I have prejudices just the same as I suggest everyone does.

    You go on about your only prejudice being ‘fairness’ & truth. Starting a personal attack (as you have on the Sgt, but hey, that’s OK except when you are personally ‘attacked’) by use of the words ‘tooled up thug’, sounds like you have tried & convicted him, as I said, without knowledge of the whole event, so tell me again how this is ‘fair’? If you’re going to personally attack someone, you can’t really complain if the same happens to you. (not that I accept I was attacking you, as mentioned above) It cuts both ways.

    And I’m quite happy hearing your ‘more to be said’ which you’ve now mentioned twice.

    April 16th, 2009 at 10:11

  11. 200 says:

    Oh and Geeorge,

    you’ve mentioned a couple of times about the Met TSG Sgt having his numbers ‘obscured’.

    This isn’t the case, the TSG Sgts don’t have their numbers displayed (unlike the normal uniform) because they have white flashes displayed instead. I presumes this is so they can be quickly identified as Sgts by other officers in hostile crowd environments, but hey, why let a perfectly usual practice get in the way of an allegation that he has deliberatly concealed them so he can punch people in the mouth & get away with it?

    April 16th, 2009 at 10:17

  12. Mark says:

    @200,
    You seem to sum up your rant, and wide-sweeping accusations about Flickr very nicely in the opening six words of your third paragraph – showing just how little you know about the site.

    On the other hand (and I’m pro-police by the way), let them have their fun. As another blogger mentioned, after looking through loads of YouTube videos claiming to show police brutality, they couldn’t find a single one they agreed with.

    April 18th, 2009 at 01:01

  13. 200 says:

    Oh Mark, come on…rant about Flickr & widespeeping accusations about it, you’re having a laugh, surely?
    All I said was that a) I didn’t know much about it i.e how it works etc and b) that I think the design & GUI is appaling. Hardly a rant or a sweeping accusation. It’s an opinion, not an accusation!

    I presume you think that a plain white page with no borders or other design elements, a very poor GUI for getting from one photo to another which a) takes too long between photos & b) doesn’t allow you to see decent sized pics because they’re all resized too small, a commenting system that takes up about 10 per cent of the width of the page which you have to scroll down for 4 years to see all the comments, are all examples fo great design & interface? I may not know much about it but I know enough to believe it’s looks awful & basically operates as a mutual backslapping club where people can say ‘hey, great shot’ ‘nice pic’ – a forum for the serious discussion of the merits & skills of photography it ain’t.

    Believe it or not, I share my photos with friends & families but I use a system that works much better & looks much better.

    And as for summing up my knowledge of Flickr, I beat you to it, but I don’t think you need an encyclopedic knowledge of a website to decide whether you like the look of it or not.

    April 18th, 2009 at 01:56

  14. Mark says:

    @200,
    Huh huh huh, when I made my last comment, perhaps I was overstepping the mark saying ‘rant’ and ‘accusations’ but now they are well and truly founded. Flickr is to photo sharing what YouTube is to videos.

    Let me respond in order;
    Firstly the ‘plain white page’ is the “uniqueness” of Flickr, it’s what makes it Flickr, the word-class photo sharing site.

    Secondly, the ‘poor GUI’ for navigating photos. That’s your opinion. There are so many ways to navigate the site (search, direct hyperlinks, tags, sets, streams, group pools etc.) that Flickr has been forced to create a way of exposing all these possibilities in the simplest way possible, and IMHO, once you are used to the site, it is the cleanest, and best way of laying them out.

    Then, with the photos taking too long to load – that’s down to your internet connection, and how many people are trying to access that particular photo (even Flickr gets ‘Slashdotted’ sometimes).

    Finally, with regards to the ‘backslapping’, you can’t generalise from a tiny (and I mean tiny – ‘police brutality’ photos probably make up less than 0.5% of the total photos on the site) sample of photos that the whole site is full of pathetic people who sit there saying ‘hey, great shot’ ‘nice pic’ all the time. Whilst yes, many people do that – most people are amateur photographers who just put their photos up for other people to see – they’re not there for the comments.

    Just lay it to rest – it’s all down to opinion – some like Mac, some like PC. I think it has a nice simple interface, you don’t – is it really the end of the world?

    April 18th, 2009 at 20:00

  15. 200 says:

    Mark,

    let’s be honest, all I said was I didn’t like the site, it’s you who have blown it out of proportion making it an ‘end of the world’ situation.

    And, you’re assuming my entire knowledge of FlickR is based upon the police brutality section, it isn’t, I’ve dipped in and out of it for years. I’ve declined many suggestions that I join it over the years because I don’t like it, it’s not developed as far as I can see since it came in.

    And I’m on a 20mb connection. I don’t have the same problems looking at other sites like I do with FlickR.
    If you enjoy it, that’s great, it’s probably fulfilled your requirements.

    Maybe I should do a blog on how shite Flickr is?

    April 19th, 2009 at 01:39

  16. Geeorge says:

    200

    You asked me to respond (again) to points that you have made. If I have missed anything, please let me know.

    My words “tooled up thug” were used because at that stage it did not really seem possible that the individual could be a police officer; he was not wearing a proper set of police uniform; he was wearing reinforced gauntlets (of the type that we would consider to be offensive weapons if someone was wearing them on a Friday night at chucking out time) together with what appear to be tracksuit bottoms; to me his actions appeared thuggish and thoughtless. Once he was identified as a police officer, I referred to him accordingly (but that post has now been deleted). You have said that the “gloves” are regulation issue for riot control, and I must accept that. But why was he the only officer visible at the scene wearing such equipment?

    I must also accept your statement that the TSG public order uniform doesn’t have shoulder numbers, but isn’t that because the public order uniform includes a helmet which shows (rank and) number. An officer only wearing part of such uniform might just have been thoughtless, but could also have been attempting to deliberately conceal his identity.

    The officer’s use of force may have been justifiable, and doubtless he has already offered his take on events and his reasoning for acting as he did. Believe it or not, I would be inclined to give him some benefit of doubt, except the fact that his number was not visible makes me think that he did not have totally legitimate intentions.

    Whatever the Sergeant’s actual intention, his actions certainly did escalate things for a while. But the situation was never as dangerous as his use of force would have implied; the City of London Chief Inspector was so unconcerned at the “threat” as to walk up to the “crowd” by himself and tell it to get back. He didn’t have to use or threaten force; he just used his presence and natural authority. From what we see, the crowd obeyed him, and the incident deescalated (even before the arrival of the “cavalry’ a few moments later).

    200: there are different levels of facilitating public protest, managing crowds and policing disorder. British police need to rethink their tactics for these events. The review by the Chief Inspector of Constabulary could be interesting.

    Take care.

    George

    April 19th, 2009 at 08:49

  17. 200 says:

    Geeorge,

    hmm…you didn’t think he was a police officer yet you described him as “in uniform (shoulder number obscured)” which is a strange description of someone wh doesn’t appear to be a police officer. He was wearing full police uniform with the addition of elbow protectors & ‘reinforced’ gloves. Anyway, it’s Sgts & above who have coloured flashes instead of numbers. Yet the mainstream, media & every man & his dog – including yourself – have said that his numbers were deliberately concealed & therefore this must suggest pre-emptive guilt.

    The Met police do not have numbers on their riot helmets (as don’t many forces in the UK, although some do). Most have their force designation, Met have a divisional code & rank (if above PC) or specialist designation e.g evidence gatherer/medic etc.

    As to why he wasn’t wearing a flat cap, I have no idea, but as the donning of this equipment is usually a matter of ‘order from on high’ perhaps they had been told not to wear it at that stage lest it look too ‘oppressive’, this is of course speculation.

    The review could well be interesting. Thank you for your contributions.

    April 19th, 2009 at 10:37

  18. Geeorge says:

    200:

    I said “shoulder number obscured” yes, but I did not specifically say that the obscuring was deliberate, rather offering two possible options as to why the officer’s number was not clear; can you think of a third option?

    And the officer was in fact wearing a flat hat…

    I will continue to wonder if the eclectic collection that the Sergeant was wearing really had been the result of an “order from on high” as you suggest. Even if it was, I think that no-one will now admit the fact.

    200: the Sergeant was only a symptom (and now he is a scapegoat).
    Your police service needs to better protect officers from both the threat of physical violence and from the opportunity of looking as if they are overreacting.

    Meanwhile, think a bit more about the City of London Chief Inspector’s approach; it worked without application of force or apparent threat of such. Well done that man.

    Thank you for allowing me to contribute.

    Take care.

    George

    April 19th, 2009 at 13:33

  19. 200 says:

    I suppose it could be speculated that having seen what approach an offensive/abusive approach to an officer is met with, the others didn’t dare do the same when approached by the chief inspector; sometimes setting an example works.

    It’s not necessary to offer an alternaive version for not having numbers, I’ve already said, they are replaced by a white flash for ease of identification as a sergeant (funnily enough considering everyone says it’s to obscure who he is). This is not a) unusual & b) underhand. And since it’s a national standard in uniform I guess the Home Office already know it despite the fact that anyone who cares to comment doesn’t, as don’t the BBC or certain MPs & social commentators who are still saying his numbers were ‘hidden’.

    During my service I did have the opportunity drive & work a water canon (with the German Police), an awesome piece of kit, perhaps we should just use those & keep a safety distance between us & any potential thugs.

    We could also use baton rounds, they always went down well.

    April 19th, 2009 at 13:47

  20. Geeorge says:

    Ah… water cannon; as used in Germany (and Indonesia) they are mainly a rather inflexible and indiscriminate use of what can be quite severe force. When within effective range, water cannon can cause severe internal injuries and break bones, which may not always be totally acceptable…out of effective range, you’re just giving everyone a free shower.

    Yes, baton rounds properly applied can sometimes be useful in keeping rioting crowds at a distance, but you have to have somewhere to push the crowd to, somewhere to disperse them; and you have to keep up the momentum.

    Not all members of crowds are violent, they are just arranged to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. One tactic we sometimes use is individual targeting of trouble makers within a crowd, using a beanbag round (an accepted non lethal use of force). For example, one such round placed at visible centre body mass of the individual with the long pole, who was seen striking police officers in a video from your April 15 2009 posting, would have provided a much safer environment for police, while being a justifiable and reasonable use of force in the circumstances: in response to the severe bodily harm that he was offering, the recipient would have merely suffered incapacitation caused by loss of breath, with some temporary pain or extreme discomfort. Not least, the psychological effect is quite considerable.

    The public won’t like it though, nor will most of your (ex) colleagues; both parties seem to prefer that police officers “get up close” and into danger of suffering severe bodily injury. However, my own preference is let that danger happen to those who offer violence first.

    Yours in retirement,

    George

    April 20th, 2009 at 13:07

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