Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 18:43 UK

'Distance' between Met and public

Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson

There is a "growing distance" between the Metropolitan Police and the public, the commissioner has admitted.

Sir Paul Stephenson told BBC London that policing of the G20 protests and a lack of patrols caused people to think the police were "not on their side".

Protestors complained of heavy-handed tactics by officers policing the G20 demonstrations in London in April.

One officer has been charged with assaulting a woman and a newspaper seller died after an alleged attacked.

Sir Paul said: "Events like G20 significantly affect perception of the Met. There has been a distance growing between ourselves and the public.

The public over a period of time feel we are not on their side - my job is to convince them
Sir Paul Stephenson

"There has been a period in policing where we have not listened to the public, where we have been withdrawn.

"There is a need to do their bidding in a way that makes sense to them."

He added: "The public over a period of time feel we are not on their side - my job is to convince them."

Sir Paul pointed to the introduction of safer neighbourhoods teams and a greater emphasis on foot patrols as evidence the police were now listening to people's demands.

An investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper seller who died during the the first evening of G20 protests, is being carried out.



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