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Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Monday, 20 April 2009 13:18 UK
Police officers defend G20 actions
by Matt Cole
Newsbeat reporter

G20 protests
The main hotspot of the G20 protests was at the Bank of England

Police officers have come out in support of the Metropolitan force's actions at the G20 protests.

The debate over police conduct escalated after videos came out of officers hitting and slapping protestors.

In the most serious case one officer is being investigated for manslaughter after Ian Tomlinson died shortly after being pushed over on 1 April.

Police on duty that day have now been defending their actions.

'Lower force'

A number of officers have got in touch with Newsbeat saying they don't deserve the slating they're getting.

One said he was under constant attack on the front line, even having condoms full of urine thrown at him.

"We think that the way [protests are] policed compared to any other country in the world, we didn't have the water cannons or the tear gas," he said.

"We used a lot lower force than anyone else would be.

G20 protests
Thousands of protesters descended on central London

"Central London on that day didn't end up in fires or riots, it had a bit of criminal damage to a bank that didn't board up its own windows properly, thanks to the way that we policed it."

He added that officers also have to use an appropriate level of force for the situation.

"In an ideal world no one would get injured at all and certainly no one would die," he explained, "whether that be as a result of police actions or whether that be a result of other matters.

"But when protestors come down, and whether some of them are violent, it's inevitably going to happen that if there are violent protestors they're going to get hurt because the police have to respond in the same way."

'Power over police'

Officers from other forces have been speaking too including Jenny, a riot officer in Northamptonshire.

"I feel very sorry for those officers that were there on that day," she said.

"I'm sure they didn't deliberately go out to attack people for no reason, that's not our intention at all.

"Good communication skills usually work, but in a situation where a crowd have worked themselves up it's very very difficult to try and start talking people down, so you have to resort to what you have to resort to at the end of the day."

On some police blogs officers have been complaining they have pictures of protestors hitting them, but they aren't able to send them to the papers.

Jenny's also concerned officers will be scared of doing their job properly next time in case they get into trouble.

"Basically, I think that perhaps with all the publicity with what happened on that day, will give the public more of a power over the police," she explained.

"It will be in the backs of the minds of the officers, the public will know this and they will make sure that they utilise it against the officers involved.

"I do fear that officers may hold back for that very reason and not be able to carry out their duties properly and people will become injured."

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