Unscheduled Post: The British Police
My apologies for a slightly off-topic post.
I am an educated middle class white boy, with a fairly posh accent. I am sure that this has nothing to do with the fact that my interactions with the Police in Britain have always been professional and courteous. As a result I have always had a great deal of respect for them. One particular incident that stands out in my mind was at New Year. I had been in central London, which was packed with people. As I did not fancy taking the tube, I decided to walk. To do this I needed to cross the river. So did a lot of other people. Several bridges, however, were shut. This was irritating. Yet, even after a long night there was a senior officer on one of the bridges dealing with people’s aggression and patiently explaining why the bridges were shut, and exactly what he knew about when they would open. I finished my walk proud of my country.
This is why it makes my heart bleed to see what is happening around the recent protests in London. Even before things started the police were constantly talking up the risk of violence. Their tactics on the day, such as baton charges and kettling seem designed to fulfill their own predictions. Worse yet even after the public relations disaster made worse by the failure to be open about the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes, the initial response was to cover their actions up. In doing so they managed to outrage even papers like The Telegraph. In addition to the PR trouble shooting there are more sinister attempts to aid this, such as the ban on “little brother” taking pictures of the police. Again, even The Telegraph thinks this is a little over the top.
The biggest tragedy (unless you are a member of the Tomlinson family) is that the news surrounding the events has been taken up with the police response. This helps prevent an open and inclusive debate about how society could be run and how it can move on from the current crisis.