Police officers did not have sufficient training to tackle public disorder on the scale of the G20 protests, a Met police commander has said.
Bob Broadhurst, who was in charge of policing the protests in April, said crowd control training for the Met’s officers had been slashed to only two days a year due to overstretched resources and a lack of time.
Speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee as part of the investigation into policing at the G20 protests, Broadhurst was asked if he was satisfied with the level of training officers received. He said: “No, I’m not.”
Broadhurst admitted the reduction in training had meant officers missed out on learning the soft skills needed to communicate with demonstrators, and they only learnt the techniques used to contain public disorder.
He said he wanted frontline officers to be better trained to help identify potential troublemakers. He said: “Clearly our communications to the crowd were not good enough.”
Broadhurst added many of the officers were young and inexperienced at crowd control. The vast majority of those have never faced a situation as violent as that,” he said.
“What I have seen on the television are only the types of tactics that I train officers to do down in Gravesend [a Metropolitan police training base]. From what I have seen officers were doing what I have asked them to do under very challenging conditions.”
Following the G20 protests Met Police commissioner Paul Stephenson said it was “right and proper” that a full investigation into officer conduct was carried out.
Last week the home secretary, Jacqui Smith, said she could not rule out that ongoing “police bashing” in the wake of the G20 protests would have an adverse affect on recruitment.