Page last updated at 08:06 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

G20 review to say police protest tactics need reform


The BBC's Andy Tighe takes part in a police riot exercise

A review of the way protests are dealt with in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is expected to propose major changes to police public order tactics.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson asked the Inspectorate of Constabulary to investigate after the G20 protests in London in April.

One man died shortly after he was pushed by an officer and other claims were made about excessive use of force.

A Met Police sergeant has been charged with assaulting a female demonstrator.

'Hugely concerning'

Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary Denis O'Connor has carried out the review.

Ian Tomlinson
Ian Tomlinson died after he was pushed over by a police officer

Earlier this year, he told the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee he was concerned about footage of "unacceptable" police behaviour at G20.

In one instance, newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson died of a heart attack shortly after footage showed him being shoved to the ground by an officer.

"My concern was obviously about the individual incidents where officers, on the face of it, appeared to break with their colleagues and assault people," he said.

He said it was "disappointing and hugely concerning" when officers did not live up to the standards the public expected of them.


Mr O'Connor's report on Wednesday is expected to build on the findings of an interim review, which said police training in public order tactics was "inadequate".

It is also likely to emphasise the need to ensure that officers know when it is appropriate and lawful to use force.

As part of the review, research was commissioned on crowd psychology and the way protests are policed in other countries.

Among those examined was Sweden, where so-called "dialogue" police act as a link between officers and demonstrators to improve communication.

One of the key tactics under review was "kettling" in which police contain protesters in a confined area and prevent anyone leaving or joining the crowd, often for a number of hours.

Earlier this month, Sgt Delroy Smellie, 47, pleaded not guilty to assaulting demonstrator Nicola Fisher in the City of London during G20. His trial is due to take place in March.

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