Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Thursday, 17 September 2009 15:51 UK

Call to punish police without ID

G20 protests in London on 1 April 2009
Some officers were photographed without ID badges at the G20 protests

A watchdog said it was "extraordinary" that officers caught policing protests without wearing their ID badges were escaping with "a slap on the wrist".

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) said senior officers must ensure frontline colleagues can be identified.

Some officers were photographed without ID badges during April's G20 protests.

Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison of the Metropolitan Police said discipline may not be appropriate for officers who sometimes forget to attach their ID.

'Bashing you'

MPA member Dee Doocey told a civil liberties panel that the Met should spend more on metal ID number badges, known as "numerals", and less on workshops.

She said: "I find it quite extraordinary that an officer who does not wear their numerals gets basically a slap on the wrist.

"I think it is really important that everyone can identify an officer. If someone is bashing you with a shield, it is quite nice to know who they are."

Fellow MPA member Clive Lawton said an officer who wants to cause trouble could get away with being "cavalier" about their identification.

Mr Lawton said: "It suggests that the individual who is reluctant to be identified could get away with it on two or three occasions without being ticked off."

Following the G20 protests Met Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said officers who deliberately concealed their ID badges faced the sack.

'Overwhelming majority'

But officers have complained that their ID badges can be easily knocked off, by seatbelts for example.

They also said public order officers wear several layers of protective clothing so it was easy to forget to transfer ID badges between items.

Mr Allison said only a small number of officers are found without ID badges and the majority should be dealt with by "words of advice".

He added: "When you look back at our video and media clips of G20, the overwhelming majority of officers were completely correctly dressed.

"I am aware of one news group having done a review of everything they have got and they could not find an officer without numerals on."

The Met has spent more than £40,000 on ID badges for public order officers since the G20 protests.

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