G20 police ‘untrained and inexperienced’

The G20 protests policing report has revealed that too many inexperienced and untrained police officers were on duty during the day.

The Commons Home Affairs Committee report said the officers at the protests only had two days’ training each year in public order techniques. The Metropolitan Police force was accused of using a controversial crowd control technique, known as kettling, as well as creating a “them-and-us” divide between the police and public.

Police were filmed with their ID numbers concealed, and using aggressive techniques to control the crowd – including hitting members of the public with batons.

MPs warned that police must modify their actions in an age where they could be filmed.

The death of Ian Tomlinson at the scene – who was seen on camera being hit by police – is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

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News editor analyis

The fact that police officers only receive two days’ training in using public order techniques should not be used as an excuse for the behaviour of some Met officers on the day of the G20 protests.

Surely much of how officers respond to the public in such situations comes from a gut instinct on policing, their innate understanding of what tactics they should deploy to control crowds.

They should already be trained in knowing what behaviour is appropriate, and a couple of training days a year can’t make much of a difference to this.

Most officers at the G20 protests acted appropriately – the ones who didn’t should be investigated.

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