Friday, April 03, 2009

A kettle is probably most effective when used to make tea

I'm a law abiding kind of guy, with no criminal record and an inherent respect for the police. They have a difficult job to do and, for the most part, they do it well, even under severe provocation.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean that their tactics and strategy should go unchallenged, especially by those amongst us who are keen to see a policing and criminal justice strategy whereby the key elements of each support and underpin the other.

There are now serious concerns about the strategy employed in policing the mixture of peaceful and provocative protests that we saw in the City of London earlier this week. The notion of 'kettling', whereby protestors were effectively detained for exercising their legal right to voice their legitimate concerns, demonstrated a notion of policing for convenience rather than for proportionality. By showing such disregard for the needs of the innocent and the peaceful, they have harmed each individual protestor's view of the police, and in the longer term damaged society's relationship with those who are tasked with building and maintaining safer communities.

Policing is most effective when it is done by consent, whereby those of us who abide by the law accept the right of the police to use legitimate tactics and strategies to thwart those not so inclined. In return, we retain the right to go about our lawful activites unmolested. Those responsible for the abuses unleashed this week are well advised to remember that particular social contract.

1 comment:

Bring said...

The most frightening aspect of the recent 'kettling' technique i thought came in the evening around Bank.

Protestors were not allowed to leave the kettle until they agreed to being photographed by the police and giving their personal details. If they refused they were put back in the kettle. This comes on the back of the news a few weeks ago that the police have been building a database of people who attend climate protests.

A political database of this nature is wholly anti-democratic and we sincerely need to look at the police motives and strategy regarding innocent political activists.

Its getting very sinister and uncomfortable.