Page last updated at 08:49 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 09:49 UK

Police chiefs defend G20 tactics

Police in riot gear
Police have been criticised for some of their handling of the G20 protests

The police service's handling of the G20 protests has been defended by the Association of Chief Police Officers.

Its president, Sir Ken Jones, said that policing of protests in the UK was "proportionate" and recent criticisms had lacked objectivity and perspective.

"We need to make sure we don't condemn the many for the problems created by a few," he told BBC Radio 4's Today.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has had almost 90 complaints relating to the London protests.

Its chairman, Nick Hardwick, has expressed concerns over the supervision of officers on the front line.

Sir Ken said people needed to realise how well demonstrations were policed in the UK.


"I can't find any other country which doesn't use water cannon, CS gas, rubber bullets. Our approach is proportionate and, in fact, has delivered on many other occasions," he said.

"But on the question of a review, yes, Acpo has welcomed that but I think we need to do it with some objectivity and have a broader perspective than I've seen in the last few days."

Former shadow home secretary David Davis said the actions of a minority of police officers had undermined the trust and confidence of the public.

"We have a police force in this country, uniquely in the world.... [which] comes from Robert Peel's original proposal the police will be of the public and the public will be of the police. They are indistinguishable, they are the public in uniform. And that trust and confidence is critical."


Three cases stemming from the G20 protests, including the death of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, 47, are being investigated by the IPCC.

It's time to support the police, not over-criticise them.
Mark, Reading

Meanwhile, further footage has emerged in the Times newspaper of an officer pointing a Taser at a group of people lying on the floor of a squat, near Liverpool Street station.

It is not known what level of threat the officers had faced.

Mr Hardwick will give evidence about the G20 policing to the Commons home affairs select committee on Tuesday.

On Sunday, he questioned in the Observer why some officers appeared to have removed identity numbers from their uniforms.

He also said police were "servants" not "masters".


On the suspected removal of identification numbers, Mr Hardwick said: "I think that raises serious concerns about the front-line supervision. 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?"

Mr Tomlinson died minutes after being pushed over by a police officer on 1 April.

At first it was said he had suffered a heart attack, but a second post-mortem examination found that he had died of an abdominal haemorrhage.

Footage also showed an officer hitting Nicola Fisher, 35, from Brighton, across the face with his hand and on her leg with a baton on 2 April.

At the weekend, footage released by Camp for Climate Action protesters showed a police officer striking a man, identified as IT worker Alex Cinnane, with a riot shield.

The video on the Sunday Times website, which was edited before it was released, does not show Mr Cinnane displaying any threatening behaviour towards the police officer.

Print Sponsor

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific