Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 15:45 UK

Smith criticises 'police-bashing'

Ms Smith said standards had to be maintained under pressure

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has said she hopes that widespread criticism levelled at police following the G20 protests will not dent recruitment.

She told the Police Federation of England and Wales there had been "too much police-bashing" in recent weeks.

Three inquiries are under way following the death of Ian Tomlinson and other complaints of police brutality at G20.

The head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission has voiced "serious concerns" about the event.

IPCC chairman Nick Hardwick has also angered the Police Federation by warning officers to remember they are "servants, not masters" of the people.

Speaking at the federation's conference in Bournemouth, the home secretary said the existence of the IPCC was important "for the confidence we have in policing".

But she added: "That does mean sometimes the chairman will say things that I do not like and sometimes the police do not like."

Mr Tomlinson, 47, died minutes after he was pushed over by a policeman during demonstrations in central London in April.

'Badges visible'

Ms Smith backed Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson's call for a review of public order policing tactics.

She said: "We all saw the pictures on the television. But what we didn't see was all the hard work that went in, behind the scenes, to mounting such a large-scale and intensive police operation."

Even under pressure it is vital the professional standards you prize so highly are upheld
Jacqui Smith
Home Secretary

The home secretary told the conference she had witnessed a commitment to protect the public as well as to facilitate the right to demonstrate peacefully, while on a visit to the G20 police command.

However, she added: "But let's be clear about this. Even under pressure it is vital the professional standards you prize so highly are upheld.

"Badges should be visible, where there has been wrongdoing or cause for complaint, we should let the processes we have in place take their proper course."

Results of a third post-mortem examination on Mr Tomlinson's body have yet to be made public by the City of London Coroner.

Ms Smith said it was right that the IPCC investigate what happened to him, adding: "I think the work in relation to the G20, for the vast majority of the time, was good and important.

"I think that should be celebrated and I have criticised those who I think were too quick to judgement.

"We can't ignore it however, either, when there are important issues about a death of an individual as part of that."

Reoffending drive

The home secretary has also faced some criticism from the federation over what members say is the government's "failure" to stop persistent criminals from reoffending.

Speaking ahead of the conference, federation chairman Paul McKeever said: "I will be asking Ms Smith how many times she wants us to arrest, charge and convict the same people before the government does anything about it.

"Can you imagine how many policing hours could be freed up if persistent offenders were dealt with properly?

"Dare we contemplate the public satisfaction that an effective criminal justice system would deliver?"



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