Author Topic: The Metropolitan Police acted "appropriately" at a vigil for Sarah Everard  (Read 1155 times)

Online Fishes

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56574557

Some classic quotes in this article. If this is appropriate then what will they do when the government give then new powers to stop protests?

Offline rhychydwr1

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Although the demonstration was illegal, it was not causing any problems like holding up the traffic.  The police should have looked the other way.  By arresting [assaulting?] women, they shot themselves in the foot.

Remember the two ladies fined for having a picnic?  They were each fined for holding a soft drip 2 metres apart!

Offline tony from suffolk

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My niece is a constable in the Met., and was unfortunate enough to be on duty during the policing of this event. She and her colleagues were spat on, sworn at, and assaulted. Naturally, they are all pretty fed up by the negative press they've been subject to when they were merely doing their job in the face of significant provocation.
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Offline Pitlamp

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Although the demonstration was illegal, it was not causing any problems like holding up the traffic.  The police should have looked the other way.  By arresting [assaulting?] women, they shot themselves in the foot.

Doesn't a large crowd of people risk undermining all the sacrifices the rest of us have made to get a certain virus under control? "Not causing any problems"?

I certainly agree with the principle of what they were trying to raise awareness of but if you break the rules it does come with consequences. Is it any wonder police morale isn't very high?

Online ChrisJC

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Online SamT

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One of my close mates is a detective in CID (South Yorkshire).

He was appalled at the Mets actions and just exasperated.

The police have a hard enough time earning the respect of the public, which they need in order to do their job effectively.  How they handle situations like this has huge and long lasting ramifications.  Who cares what the inquest found, or not.  The damage has been done in the eyes and minds of the public.

He just couldn't quite get his head round the thinking of the Met.

Met office tactical meeting..

"Lets think, what'll happen if we just play it softly and let the protest carry on?"

"Well, err, not a lot really I reckon gov.  I know technically, their not social distancing and shouldn't be congregating, but its all peaceful and besides, I do have some sympathy with their cause gov, I imagine it'll all end peacefully and fizzle out gov, I guess the worst outcome is there's a slim chance a few people might catch covid of one another if they got too close"

"OK, and what about if we go in all heavy handed, truncheons at the ready"

"Well gov, I can imagine there'll be a right old shit storm, the medial will be all over it.  We'll look like a right bunch of cnuts and it'll just put us in a negative light gov..It'll give ammo and entrench the views of those with negative attitudes towards the police.  As for the covid risk gov, I guess the risk of one of our officers picking it up and spreading it amongst us in the met leading to issues with staffing numbers as we all have to isolate increases vastly as we grapple them to ground"

"so what's the plan boss?"

"To the riot vans, helmets on, battens ready, and watch yourselves, those real housewives of Clapham have sharp nails you know"

Offline aardgoose

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Although the demonstration was illegal

That wasn't determined, and the report into the incident highlights that the Met's legal interpretation wasn't sound and they may have been wrong in that respect.

Offline Cantclimbtom

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...That wasn't determined, and the report into the incident highlights that the Met's legal interpretation wasn't sound and they may have been wrong in that respect.
  Good thing that Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) are entirely neutral and disinterested or people would claim that it was friends covering for friends.

I have huge respect for the police on the ground doing a difficult job but I have a definite suspicion of some specific senior officers and intentional inaccuracy. For example Commissioner Dick was contacted by various people before the event (inc Sadiq Khan) so she'd have known how political it was. It is unbelievable that officers on the ground wouldn't have been supervised by senior officers. After the event Com. Dick released a statement saying officers on the ground had made difficult decisions. That statement is her distancing herself and senior colleagues from any decisions. Another example of senior officers passing blame downstream.
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Offline Speleofish

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My interpretation of Cressida Dick's interview on TV was that she was quite strongly supportive of her officers and gave a reasonably balanced account. In particular, she made it clear that there had been several discussions between the Met Police and the Home Office in the days running up to the vigil.

By contrast, I thought many of the politicians who leapt to criticise were doing so prematurely, with limited knowledge of the facts. Even worse was Priti Patel. Given how political the event was, and the amount of prior discussion that had taken place, she should have been in the loop and aware of what was going on. Therefore, she should either have accepted a degree of personal responsibility or admitted she had had no interest or no control over the way police reacted. In either case, if the police were found to be to blame, she should have resigned. However, she seems to have built a career on denying personal accountability...

Online mikem

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From the BBC article:
"And once again, the finger is pointed at the politicians. The report says this: "It is incumbent on the legislature to provide a set of rules that is readily capable of being accurately interpreted and applied."

If the police are largely vindicated by this report, the politicians are most certainly not."

But then hastily made arrangements rarely are.

Online pwhole

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I think one glaring complication with all this is that by allowing any sort of 'protest' to take place, beyond a simple quiet vigil, inevitably tensions would rise - not least as by now everyone there knew that a serving police officer was the main suspect. If a suspect hadn't yet been arrested, it's possible that the demo might not have occurred - at least when it did. But principally, by allowing it to take place, no matter how well-meant the cause, a precedent would have been set that rules for closely-packed public gatherings can be flexible as long as the 'cause is just'. So next week you have folks like Mr Yaxley-Lennon and his lovely pals demanding their right to protest in a socially-distanced way, and so on. Why not a football match then? Everyone wants to go out, but using as a memorial as the excuse is never going to hold water with a large crowd at night.

From what I've seen and read, many participants of the occasion were there to protest, and some of the organizers seem to have an agenda beyond the event itself. They may all be laudable aims, but honesty is essential in stuff like this. I also got the distinct impression from one interviewee that she believed that women can't or shouldn't be arrested, which is a new one on me. Obviously nobody likes seeing women being wrestled to the floor, but that's because resisting arrest usually ends up in that situation, rather than being specific oppression of the female gender. Most of the the female police officers were abused by the crowd according to the reports, presumably for being police rather than women.

The government, however, are as venous and shameful as they always are, and are using the police to cover their asses again. We really don't need many of them any more.

Offline ttxela2

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Although the demonstration was illegal

That wasn't determined, and the report into the incident highlights that the Met's legal interpretation wasn't sound and they may have been wrong in that respect.

I too had heard that the demonstration wasn't determined to be illegal, so as I understand the way UK law works unless something is illegal it is, in effect legal.

What I'm struggling with is understanding why it isn't clear that it was illegal, I have a lot of sympathy with the cause but as far as I'm aware there is no exemption for protest, so is there any explanation of why it wasn't clearly illegal in terms of the Covid rules (whether you think it should have been or not)? I haven't seen one but I'd be interested to know the details of how that opinion was arrived at.


Online mikem

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UK law still works partially on the presumption of whether something is "against the spirit" of the law, whereas in US law it has to be defined.

Offline ttxela2

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UK law still works partially on the presumption of whether something is "against the spirit" of the law, whereas in US law it has to be defined.

I see, I would have thought the "spirit" of the law was to prevent gathering regardless of justification but perhaps the thinking was that the grounds for protest were so compelling it wouldn't have been in the minds of those making the law to prevent it?

You'd have thought there would be some method of communicating that to the police since it seems this was considered prior to the event  :unsure: the whole event seems a sorry mess  :down:

Online mikem

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Nowadays you don't seem to be able to commit yourself to an interpretation until it has been tested in the courts - hence the frequent turn arounds of opinion.

Offline Cosmo Smallpiece

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You'd have thought there would be some method of communicating that to the police since it seems this was considered prior to the event  :unsure: the whole event seems a sorry mess  :down:

...and indeed there was, but our cockwomble politicians who caused the legal confusion with the contradicting legislation chose to hide their advice/opinions until the following morning. Even the judge in the appeal court chose to row back out of deciding who was right and left the outcome in chaos.

In the end the respectful and peaceful vigil was allowed to go ahead. This was successful until about 9pm when it was starting to wind down. At that point the mob with placards, spray paint and megaphones turned up.

Offline aardgoose

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What I'm struggling with is understanding why it isn't clear that it was illegal

The issue appears to be that is that it has not been determined that COVID restrictions are or are not in conflict with the right to protest and if the threat to health is sufficient reason override that right.  This is an issue that has not been tested in court.

Basically there are laws in potential conflict, and no one knows where the line is between the two. You could get to a situation where a carefully organised protest was illegal but a random assembly of the same number and density of people following 2m guide lines etc would be legal solely because it was a protest.

Offline NewStuff

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No matter which way the legality, or otherwise, of protests is found to be, how it was policed was a huge disaster.

For some it strengthens the ACAB mentality. For some it opened eyes, but I know (in person) not a single person that thought it was the right way to do things. No-one can fathom why it was done in the way it was.
Permission? Wassat den?

Online Fishes

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This was successful until about 9pm when it was starting to wind down. At that point the mob with placards, spray paint and megaphones turned up.

I would be interested in a source for this. Having said that, I thought it was still legal to carry placards and megaphones.

Online RobinGriffiths

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Megaphones may be on the way out though.

From Ms Patel's forthcoming Police Bill:
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This measure will broaden the range of circumstances in which the police can impose conditions on protests, including a single person protest, to include where noise causes a significant impact on those in the vicinity or serious disruption to the running of an organisation.

Online RobinGriffiths

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Actually, that'll cover whistles and chanting as well.

Offline NewStuff

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Megaphones may be on the way out though.
If they try to enact or enforce that, they'll see a whole new level of riots they are not prepared to deal with.
Permission? Wassat den?

Online pwhole

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This was successful until about 9pm when it was starting to wind down. At that point the mob with placards, spray paint and megaphones turned up.

I would be interested in a source for this. Having said that, I thought it was still legal to carry placards and megaphones.

Indeed, but appropriate baggage for a silent vigil? I guess placards are 'silent', but does anyone really read placards anyway? I used to have the Shaker Maker 'hippy' model set and one of those had a placard, and that's kind of where I view them.

I'm still trying to see it from all sides ;)


Offline mrodoc

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The question least asked is 'Why now?' There is a wide variety of imitative behaviour occurring and this is just another example from everybody trooping to Durclle Door to a protest about something that happens sadly far too frequently.   

Online mikem

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As per usual, people don't have other outlets for their frustration.

 

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