Police must urgently review their tactic of kettling demonstrators, MPs investigating the G20 protests said.
In a damning report, the Commons home affairs committee says holding protesters in a small area for hours is unacceptable.
The first major review of the operation also said officers who work with their identity numbers hidden or missing should face the strongest possible disciplinary measures.
It concluded: Above all, the police must constantly remember that those who protest on Britain's streets are not criminals but citizens motivated by moral principles, exercising their democratic rights. The police's doctrine must remain
focused on allowing this protest to happen peacefully. Any action which may be viewed by the general public as the police criminalising protest on the streets must be avoided at all costs.
Police have been heavily criticised for their conduct at demonstrations by 35,000 people during the visit of world leaders to London in early April.
Newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson died in clashes in Central London, after being pushed to the ground. The officer who allegedly shoved him has been suspended and could face criminal charges. Amateur videos appear to show protesters being pushed or
hit by officers. More than 200 complaints of alleged police brutality at the protests have been made.
The report condemns the tactic of kettling, saying it is unacceptable to impose a blanket ban on movement. Frontline officers must be given discretion to allow peaceful protesters to escape highly-charged events, MPs said.
Committee chairman Keith Vaz said: It is clear that concerns about the policing of the G20 protests have damaged the public's confidence in the police, and that is a great shame. The ability of the public and the media to monitor every single
action of the police through CCTV, mobile phones and video equipment should mean they take even greater care to ensure that all their actions are justifiable.
Update: Police floated impostor theory over Ian Tomlinson's death
A senior police officer who 'investigated' the death of Ian Tomlinson told his family that the officer who struck him at the G20 demonstrations could have been a member of the public dressed in police uniform.
The City of London police investigator made the comment at an emergency meeting with Tomlinson's family and the Independent Police Complaints Commission on 8 April, hours after the Guardian released footage showing the attack on the 47-year-old
A report on issues surrounding Tomlinson's death by Inquest, the group that assists the families of people who die in police custody, said yesterday that the suggestion he might have been attacked by an impostor gave the impression that the
investigation was biased.
The City of London police completely failed to persuade the Tomlinson family of its impartiality, not least when they were told by an investigating officer that he was not ruling out the possibility that the alleged assailant may be a member
of the public dressed in police uniform, it said. A source present at the 8 April meeting said the senior investigator's comment was made after he was pressed on how the identity of the officer could be established from the video.
The investigator agreed that the man who struck Tomlinson was likely to have been a police officer, but could not rule out the possibility that he was a member of the public.
The family believed this theory was fantastical. The video of the attack clearly showed that the officer who struck Tomlinson, who has since been suspended from duty and questioned under caution for manslaughter, was surrounded by more than a
dozen police officers. The source said that the investigator claimed one possibility was that a member of the public had stolen a Metropolitan police uniform and equipment from the back of a police van before initiating the attack.
Parents who want to take photos of their children in school plays or at sports days can once again snap happily away.
The privacy watchdog says authorities that have banned parents taking shots for the family album are wrongly interpreting the rules.
Relatives wanting to take pictures at nativity plays, sports days or other public events are often told that doing so would breach the Data Protection Act. But the Office of the Information Commissioner has said this interpretation of the law is
It decreed that any picture taken for the family photograph album would normally be acceptable.
This guidance can now be used by parents and grandparents to challenge barmy rulings relating to the upcoming school sports day season.
Deputy Information Commissioner David Smith said: We recognise that parents want to capture significant moments on camera. We want to reassure them and other family members that whatever they might be told, data protection does not prevent
them taking photographs of their children and friends at school events. Photographs taken for the family photo album are exempt from the Act and citing the Data Protection Act to stop people taking photos or filming their children at school is
The guidance, sent to education authorities across the country, says: Fear of breaching the provisions of the Act should not be wrongly used to stop people taking photographs or videos which provide many with much pleasure.
Two female protesters who challenged police officers for not displaying their badge numbers were bundled to the ground, arrested and held in prison for four days, according to an official complaint lodged today.
The incident was caught on camera, and footage shows officers standing on the women's feet and applying pressure to their necks immediately after the women attempted to photograph a fellow officer who had refused to give his badge number.
The images are likely to fuel concern over the policing of protests, which is already subject to a review by the national police inspectorate and two parliamentary inquiries after the G20 demonstrations and the death of Ian Tomlinson.
Val Swain and Emily Apple believe they were deliberately targeted for arrest at last year's climate camp demonstration in Kent because they campaign for Fit Watch, a protest group that opposes police surveillance at demonstrations.
The pair were remanded to a women's prison for four days and released only after the demonstration against the Kingsnorth power station had finished. They believe their treatment is symptomatic of the increasingly aggressive approach taken by
police at political demonstrations.
Their arrests were captured on police surveillance footage obtained by the Guardian and submitted today to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Scores of the men caught by Operation Ore may not be paedophiles, but victims of identity theft.
There are some unspeakably vile people amongst the thousands of men swept up by Operation Ore, the police's extensive investigation into paedophilia and child pornography. But it is becoming increasingly clear that a substantial portion of those
who were convicted of offences such as incitement to distribute indecent images of children had committed no crime at all.
Thirty-five of the accused committed suicide. It's not easy to think of many things that are worse than being convicted of a paedophile offence when you are innocent of that ghastly crime. Once you are stamped as a paedophile and placed on the
Sex Offenders Register, you will probably lose your family, for your wife will divorce you, if only to ensure she can keep custody of the children whom you will now be forbidden to care for. You will lose your friends and you will lose your job.
That's exactly what happened to dozens of men who either pled guilty or were convicted as a result of Operation Ore.
Thousands of people are being stopped and searched by the police under counter-terrorism powers simply to provide a racial balance in official statistics, the government's official anti-terror law watchdog has revealed.
Alex Carlile is the Government's appointed Independent Reviewer of terrorism legislation. He said in his annual report that he has got ample anecdotal evidence , adding that it was totally wrong and an invasion of civil liberties to
stop and search people simply to racially balance the statistics: I can well understand the concerns of the police that they should be free from allegations of prejudice. But it is not a good use of precious resources if they waste them on
self-evidently unmerited searches."
The official reviewer of counter-terrorist legislation said there was little or no evidence that the use of section 44 stop-and-search powers by the police can prevent an act of terrorism: Whilst arrests for other crime have followed searches
under the section, none of the many thousands of searches has ever resulted in a conviction for a terrorism offence. Its utility has been questioned publicly and privately by senior Metropolitan police staff with wide experience of terrorism
policing. He added that such searches were stopping between 8,000-10,000 people a month.
None of the many thousands of searches had ever led to a conviction for a terrorist offence, he said. He noted, too, that the damage done to community relations was undoubtedly considerable.
The Met has announced a review of how it uses section 44 powers. And the home secretary, Alan Johnson, is to issue fresh guidance to the police, warning that counter-terrorism must not be used to stop people taking photographs of on-duty
Carlile uses his annual report to endorse complaints from professional and amateur photographers that counter-terror powers are being used to threaten prosecution if pictures are taken of officers on duty.
He said the power was only intended to cover images likely to be of use to a terrorist: It is inexcusable for police officers ever to use this provision to interfere with the rights of individuals to take photographs. The police had to
come to terms with the increased scrutiny of their activities by the public, afforded by equipment such as video-enabled mobile phones. Police officers who use force or threaten force in this context run the real risk of being prosecuted
themselves for one or more of several possible criminal and disciplinary offences, he warned.
Researchers from the Policy Engagement Network, based in the London School of Economics Information Systems and Innovation Group, have produced a 57 page report, which is essential reading for anyone worried about the Home Office's EU Directive
based mandatory Communications Traffic Data Retention laws, and their vague plans for extending this even further the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), the review of Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) codes of practice
In this briefing we aim to provide some depth of understanding of the nature of the Home Office's latest proposals on communications surveillance. We are sympathetic with the needs of the law enforcement community and we
agree with the Home Office that the communications environment is changing. However we question whether the Home Office fully understands the extent to which the way in which surveillance activities are authorised would change were its wishes
granted, in turn leading to a tipping of the balance in favour of state power and away from the individual.
We are also concerned that there is a significant under-estimate of the burdens being placed on Communication Service Providers at a time where elsewhere in government there is a demand for universal broadband internet
provision which industry is supposed to fund. This report was not drafted to respond to the Home Office's Consultation document, but rather we are adding more expertise to the public deliberation on this policy. The report is the result of
research we conducted with key experts across the UK and internationally.
The video released of police officers punching and Tasering a man lying on the ground speaks for itself. Once you give a weapon like this to the British police it will be used and abused as a weapon of punishment and torture. It seems only a
matter of time before one of the hot–headed thugs, that now seem to constitute the majority of officers on the street, kills someone who is resisting arrest , like this man in Nottingham.
LBC's Nottingham newsroom has received video footage which appears to show a police officer punching a suspect in Nottingham city centre three times.
It shows officers attempting to arrest a man on Upper Parliament Street on Sunday night using a taser gun as he lays on the ground. An officer is also seen pushing a bystander.
A Nottinghamshire Police statement read: Officers were called for assistance by door staff to help deal with an aggressive customer. Police attended and an officer was assaulted, requiring hospital treatment.
While no complaint has been made against any of the officers involved in the incident and no one has been suspended, the footage has been voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
Police are keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident or events leading up to the arrest, or anyone who has footage of events leading up to and during the incident.
"A 40-year-old man been arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm and has been released on police bail.
Assistant Chief Constable Peter Davies, said: We understand that some members of the public may be concerned about this. The public's trust and confidence is very important for us, which is why we have referred this matter for an objective
investigation to the IPCC.
We are proactively looking at other CCTV in the area to ensure we have a clear picture of events leading up to the arrest and I would ask anyone in possession of such evidence, including the person who took the footage that has been published,
to come forward as witnesses.
A police operation to stop Stoke City fans legitimately attending a football match in Manchester, first reported here last year, has resulted in a fan being awarded £2,750 after the police were found to be acting unlawfully. About 20
further complaints are outstanding and are expected to result in similar payments.
This is a great victory for the Football Supporters' Federation, which has been campaigning for police restraint in the use of Section 27 of the Violent Crime Reduction Act, which allows police to issue dispersal notices to groups whom they
believe may cause trouble.
Greater Manchester police used the act to round up more than 80 Stoke fans who were on their way to watch their club play Manchester United at Old Trafford on 15 November 2008. The fans had stopped at the Railway Inn, Irlam, where they were
surrounded by officers of Greater Manchester Police and aggressively ordered to board police buses. There had been no complaint from the landlord of the pub, who has since invited them back.
The fans were not allowed to attend the game and their buses were escorted back to Stoke, even though many of the supporters had not set out from Stoke in the first place. They were effectively deprived of their liberty for four hours during
which their buses were not allowed to make lavatory stops.
Britain's highest court, the House of Lords, ruled against the government on in a sensitive case involving the use of secret evidence to justify imposing home curfews on terrorism suspects.
Nine law lords unanimously upheld an appeal by three men who argued it was against their human rights to be subject to control orders, a form of house arrest, based on secret evidence they are not privy to and cannot challenge in court.
A trial procedure can never be considered fair if a party to it is kept in ignorance of the case against him, wrote Nicholas Phillips, Britain's most senior law lord, in issuing the lengthy judgment: If the wider public are to have
confidence in the justice system, they need to be able to see that justice is done rather than being asked to take it on trust.
The decision does not overturn the use of control orders, introduced by the government in 2005 and which allow terrorism suspects to be kept under curfew for up to 16 hours a day, but it does call into question a central element of the policy.
Human rights and justice organizations say they violate fundamental rights and freedoms, running the risk of turning Britain into a police state, with suspects placed under tight surveillance without knowing what they have done wrong.
Because the orders rely on secret information collected by the security services that cannot be made public, they also presume guilt without evidence being presented and without it being able to be challenged in court.
The government said it was extremely disappointed by the ruling and would consider it carefully.
Rights campaigners said the law lords' decision could mark a turning point in the use of secret evidence in control orders. One thing is clear from this judgment, it's going to be much more difficult for the government to sustain the use of
control orders when they have to disclose the evidence to the suspects, said Eric Metcalfe of the campaign group Justice.
Drinkers in Oldham pubs are to be told to stand in a queue and banned from ordering more than two drinks at a time at the bar. Rope barriers similar to those used in shops and post offices will be installed to keep customers in line.
The nutter plan has been proposed following supposed concern over disorder and violence in town centre bars.
The two-drink limit is intended to so called curb binge-drinking and stop customers ordering large amounts of alcohol.
But critics say the 'nanny state' restrictions will end the convivial British tradition of drinkers buying rounds for their friends. Mark Hastings, of the British Beer And Pub Association, said: We have no problem with tackling problem
drinking but this is not the way to go about it. These measures are costly, unnecessary and totally disproportionate at a time when around 40 pubs are closing every week. People aren't going to want to drink if they have to queue up as if they're
in the post office.'
Under plans drawn up by Not So Liberal Democrat-controlled Oldham Council, all 22 pubs in the town centre will have to comply with the new rules. The 2003 Licensing Act allows police and trading standards officers to apply for variations in a pub
licence if there is concern about drink-related violence and disorder.
Licensing committee member Derek Heffernan said: It would be the end of buying a round but we have to do something to calm things down. There have been fights and stabbings and it's not right that people going out for the evening have to worry
about being attacked.
Drinkers in Oldham yesterday were similarly unimpressed. Jeff Smith, a regular at the Hare And Hounds, said: It would cause even more trouble than there is already because there will always be someone trying to jump the queue.
An Oldham council spokesprat said: The measures are under discussion and a decision will be made within weeks.
In 2003 while lobbying leaders to put together the Coalition of the Willing, President Bush spoke to France’s President Jacques Chirac. Bush wove a story about how the Biblical creatures Gog and Magog were at work in the Middle East and how they
must be defeated.
In Genesis and Ezekiel Gog and Magog are forces of the Apocalypse who are prophesied to come out of the north and destroy Israel unless stopped.
Bush believed the time had now come for that battle, telling Chirac: This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins.
The story has now been confirmed by Chirac himself in a new book, published in France in March, by journalist Jean Claude Maurice. Chirac is said to have been stupefied and disturbed by Bush’s invocation of Biblical prophesy to justify the war in
Iraq and wondered how someone could be so superficial and fanatical in their beliefs.
Tony Blair viewed his decision to go to war in Iraq and Kosovo as part of a Christian battle, according to one of his closest political allies.
The former Prime Minister's faith is claimed to have influenced all his key policy decisions and to have given him an unshakeable conviction that he was right.
John Burton, Blair's political agent in his Sedgefield constituency for 24 years, says that Labour's most successful ever leader – in terms of elections won – was driven by the belief that good should triumph over evil. It's very simple
to explain the idea of Blair the Warrior. It was part of Tony living out his faith.
Blair has previously admitted that he was influenced by his Christian faith, but Burton reveals for the first time the strength of his religious zeal. Burton makes the comments in a book he has written, and which is published this week, called
We Don't Do God.
Scotland Yard was accused of misleading its own watchdog after an official report on the policing of the G20 London protests was said to contain false claims and gross inaccuracies.
The document, submitted to a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority yesterday, set out the police version of events during the demonstrations last month, and included claims protesters and independent observers said were misleading.
The Liberal Democrat justice spokesman, David Howarth, said the report was full of serious inaccuracies and questioned its claim that protesters were free to leave police cordons on the streets.
The report stated that whenever possible, people were allowed to leave the cordon around the Bank of England and the Climate Camp in Bishopsgate. But accounts from hundreds of people caught inside the pens for hours indicated police
refused people permission to leave.
Other alleged inaccuracies in the Met's report included the claim that the Bishopsgate Climate Camp had blocked a four-lane highway, and that police had supplied water to penned people.
The report also said Climate Camp protesters had refused to divulge their plans at a meeting with senior officers on the eve of the rally. Howarth, who mediated the meeting, said protesters had been constructive in attempts to liaise with
the police. It is time for the spinning to stop and for senior officers to ... take responsibility, Howarth said.
The report also said the Met was cooperating with the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is investigating a complaint relating to an alleged assault of a 22-year-old woman on 1 April. The IPCC has received 256 complaints relating to
A Scotland Yard officer boasted about the unwashed getting a good kicking at the G20 protests in a police blog entry posted a day after the death of Ian Tomlinson. The Met said last night it was attempting to identify the author of the
The latest inflammatory remarks from serving policemen over the treatment of G20 protesters surfaced after it emerged that PC Rob Ward had allegedly bragged on Facebook how he was going to bash some long-haired hippies at the G20
Met commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson responded to rising anti-police sentiment by announcing a new regime of intrusive supervision to root out rogue officers.
Meanwhile, the prospect of more Met officers facing criminal investigation for assaulting G20 protesters appears to be increasing. A London law firm has collated material indicating that 14 protesters sustained wounds to the head caused directly
by police violence. Another 15 cases are being examined in which people were punched or struck in the face by police riot shields or batons and suffered injury or trauma wounds.
At least 10 of the cases relate to injuries sustained by women, with one account involving two women who were pinned together and then hit repeatedly on their arms and heads with riot shields. A number also relate to instances where
demonstrators claim that they were attacked after they fell to the ground.
Bindmans is also preparing to launch a legal challenge against the use of kettling , the police tactic used to pen in 5,000 people during the G20 protests and a strategy which led to protesters suffering asthma and panic attacks. John
Halford, a partner in Bindmans, said that the firm had held talks with Climate Camp legal advisers to prepare to launch a judicial review against the containment of protesters.
Halford said that kettling is legally justifiable only when there is no alternative to address actual or imminent violence. He said: There is much to suggest that 'kettling' was the first thing resorted to as a response to a peaceful
demonstration that was considered a nuisance by the police. Worse, many protesters have reported unprovoked baton charges and other forms of intimidation while they were penned in. We plan to ensure all of this is examined by the courts.
Photos taken on London's Tube network — even tourist snapshots — may require a £34.50 permit, say Underground bosses who insist that the rules haven't changed.
Transport for London (TfL) has revamped its website in a move designed to make it easier to apply for a filming or a photography permit on the Tube. Though TfL says London Underground will adopt a common sense approach when dealing with
amateur photography, a spokesman told us: Our position is that if you wish to take a photograph on our property you should seek permission. ...[And pay up].
New Footage has emerged showing the moment Ian Tomlinson's head hit the pavement after he was pushed over by a police officer at the G20 protests.
The video also revealed fresh details about events leading up to the alleged assault on Tomlinson. It appears to confirm witness testimony that the 47-year-old showed no resistance to advancing lines of police in the moments before he was
hit and pushed to the ground.
Last night the IPCC attempted to secure a court order to prevent the broadcast of a truncated version of the film that appeared momentarily on YouTube. The truncated version was copied by Channel 4 News, which planned to broadcast it,
before it was removed from YouTube. But a judge refused to grant the injunction.
The IPCC said: We can confirm that we attempted to seek an injunction this evening against Channel 4 as it came to light that they were due to broadcast further evidence which we believe at this moment would potentially damage our
criminal investigation into the death of Ian Tomlinson. This injunction was specific to what was due to be broadcast this evening.
The attempt by the IPCC to prevent the broadcast of the video appeared to contradict the stance taken by its chairman, Nick Hardwick, several hours earlier.
Hardwick told MPs on the Commons home affairs select committee yesterday he did not believe web footage of incidents at the demonstrations would prejudice legal proceedings: We would rather it was not on the web but I don't think it is a
serious risk and we have to deal with the world as it is rather than as we would wish it to be.
No tourist trip to London is complete without a set of holiday snaps. But a father and son were forced to return home to Austria without their pictures after policemen deleted them from their camera - supposedly in a bid to prevent terrorism.
Klaus Matzka and his son, Loris from Vienna, were taking photographs of a double-decker bus in Walthamstow, north-east London, when two policemen approached them.
Austrian tourists Klaus and Loris Matzka were ordered to delete pictures of a London double decker in Walthamstow
The tourists were told it is strictly forbidden to take pictures of anything to do with public transport and their names, passport numbers and hotel address in London were noted.
Matzka was then forced to delete any holiday snaps that featured anything to do with transport.
The Metropolitan Police said it was investigating the allegations and had no knowledge of any ban on photographing public transport in London. [yeah yeah]. A spokeswoman added: It is not the police's intention to prevent tourists from taking
photographs and we are looking into the allegations made.
Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority and a Green party member of the London assembly, said the incident was 'another example of the police completely overreaching the anti-terrorism powers'. She said she would raise the
issue with the Met chief, Sir Paul Stephenson, as part of the discussion into police methods at the G20 protests, adding: I have already written to him about the police taking away cameras and stopping people taking photographs.
' The UK police officer caught on film attacking Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests could face manslaughter charges after a second postmortem concluded that the newspaper vendor died from internal bleeding and
not a heart attack.
It emerged last night that the Metropolitan police officer who had been suspended from duty has now been interviewed under caution on suspicion of manslaughter by investigators from the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
The New York fund manager who handed the Guardian the video evidence said last night that he felt vindicated by the findings. Now I'm glad I came forward. It's possible Mr Tomlinson's death would have been swept under the rug otherwise. You
needed something incontrovertible. In this case it was the video.
The first postmortem results - which were released by police - said Tomlinson had died of a heart attack. The second postmortem was ordered by the family's legal team and the IPCC after the footage was broadcast.
The second postmortem was conducted by Dr Nat Cary, who was able to scrutinise video evidence before conducting his examination. In a statement last night, City of London coroners court said Dr Cary had provisionally concluded that internal
bleeding was the cause of Tomlinson's death. Dr Cary's opinion is that the cause of death was abdominal haemorrhage. The cause of the haemorrhage remains to be ascertained. Dr Cary accepts that there is evidence of coronary atherosclerosis but
states that in his opinion its nature and extent is unlikely to have contributed to the cause of death.
Neither the IPCC nor City of London police made any mention of the injuries or abdominal blood found by the pathologist Dr Freddy Patel when they released results of the first postmortem. City of London police said only that Tomlinson had suffered a sudden heart attack while on his way home from work.
Tomlinson's son Paul King said: We believe we were badly misled by police about the possible role they played in Ian's death. First we were told that there had been no contact with the police, then we were told that he died of a heart attack.
Now we know that he was violently assaulted by a police officer and died from internal bleeding. As time goes on we hope that the full truth about how Ian died will be made known.
The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has ordered a review of public order policing amid mounting concerns over the way his force and the City of London police handled the G20 protests this month.
Stephenson said he had asked the chief inspector of constabulary, Denis O'Connor, to examine police tactics. The so-called practice of "kettling" – containing crowds will be a prime focus of O'Connor's inquiry.
Stephenson has also barred uniformed police officers from covering their shoulder identification numbers, saying the public has a right to be able to identify them.
Police have carried out what is thought to be the biggest pre-emptive raid on environmental campaigners in British history, arresting 114 people believed to be planning direct action at a coal-fired power station.
The arrests - for conspiracy to commit criminal damage and aggravated trespass - come amid growing concern among protesters about increased police surveillance and infiltration by informers.
Police said the raid on a school in Nottingham was made just after midnight yesterday, and was linked to a planned protest, thought to be at nearby Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station.
Last night campaigners said police were photographing and stopping people entering and leaving public meetings and the offices of the lobby group Greenpeace.
Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green party, said that with no charges more than 12 hours after the arrests : confidence in policing of protests like this has just about hit rock bottom. Peaceful protest is a civil liberty we need to be upheld,
even more in the context of the lack of government action on climate change. We have tried all the usual channels.
Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: In the light of the policing of the G20 protests, people up and down the country will want to be confident that there was evidence of a real conspiracy to commit criminal damage by those arrested
and that this was not just an attempt by the police to disrupt perfectly legitimate protest.
Power station operators, E.ON said: We can confirm that Ratcliffe power station was the planned target of an organised protest during the early hours of this morning. While we understand that everyone has a right to protest peacefully and
lawfully ... we will be assisting the police with their investigations into what could have been a very dangerous and irresponsible attempt to disrupt an operational power plant.
Offsite: The arrest of 114 power station protesters is extremely worrying
The arrest of 114 people on suspicion of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass at Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, near Nottingham, is extremely worrying and may be regarded as further indication of a style of policing that has developed under
this appalling government and is undermining the values and needs of a free society.
Let us be clear that the people arrested yesterday, who have all now been released on bail, have manifestly not committed any crime of trespass. Second, they possess inalienable rights to assembly and protest.
Is police interference in the right to protest designed only to protect the political and economic status quo?
The arrest of more than one hundred climate protesters alleged to have been planning to disrupt the operation of the Ratcliffe coal-fired power station is, I am glad to see, raising questions about undue interference in the right to protest.
Prior restraint of protest, especially in the form of preventive arrest, is difficult to justify. Adding restrictive conditions to the protesters' bail makes the prior restraint even worse.
Preventive arrests for inchoate offences stand completely outside the traditional understanding of how civil disobedience works, because they are aimed at stopping the protest itself, and at punishing the protestors without waiting to see whether
they cause more than trivial harm. If catastrophic harm might come about from allowing a particular protest to happen, there might be a case for breaking the tacit understanding on that particular occasion. But anything beyond that, especially
any attempt to defy the whole tradition of civil disobedience, risks destroying a very delicate mechanism that successfully balances freedom and order. It further risks producing a situation in which there is less of both, in which protest is
more often suppressed, but in which it is far less civil when it occurs.
'Intelligent policing' requires that officers respect protesters, not seek a confrontation with them
The events surrounding the police in the past 10 days are all too familiar - heavy-handed treatment of innocent bystanders, followed by botched cover-ups. Meanwhile, Bob Quick's inadvertent exposure of highly sensitive
information follows a tradition of lost discs, while the government demands to collect our personal data to protect us. The only comic side to the recent sad events is that they were all caught on camera, many of which were owned by the police
themselves. Rough justice or what?
That makes Quick risking his briefing papers for an anti-terrorist operation being photographed quite extraordinary. And the behaviour of the police officer attacking Ian Tomlinson from behind even more so. What could they have presumed would be
the reaction of anyone seeing those pictures? They must have known cameras were everywhere.
They may have felt safe from criticism because of Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act, which came into force on 16 February. That makes it an offence to photograph any police officer or member of the armed services in ways that could aid
terrorism. This problematic legislation risks discouraging an ever more precious weapon in holding police accountable when the government gives them powers to treat peaceful demonstrators as a threat not only to order, but to the state itself.
The Home Office has at last conceded that the policing of photographers requires a little more scrutiny. Tory MP and Assistant Chief Whip John Randall extracted an admission from the Home Office that it was an issue in need of further review.
Print Display worker Piers Mason can bear this out, having been stopped and questioned about his photographic activities last week.
As police closed down large sections of the City of London last week in readiness for the G20 protests, Mason was not impressed when police officers asked him to explain why he had taken photos of a TV crew outside the Royal Bank of Scotland’s
Bishopsgate Offices. He said: I saw a film crew setting up outside RBS and thought that would make an interesting picture. The next thing I knew, three police officers approached me and asked me to explain what I was doing. According to them,
this was to ‘investigate suspected crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour’.
A quick web search reveals that this particular formulation is one used frequently by Police in connection with Stops under Section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), either when searching an individual, or when simply asking an
individual to account for their actions.
Mason reckons the encounter took around 20 minutes, during which police logged his personal details, checked them against the Police Computer, and finally entered his name and details into a Stops Database.
The police should at least be made to provide ambulance and medical coverage for all of their public order operations. It would surely save lives even when the police are inevitably absolved of all blame.
It began with an anodyne press release from the Metropolitan police more than three hours after Ian Tomlinson died. It ended with a police officer and an investigator from the Independent Police Complaints Commission
asking the Guardian to remove a video from its website showing an unprovoked police assault on Tomlinson minutes before his heart attack.
In the space of five days through a combination of official guidance, strong suggestion and press releases, those responsible for examining the circumstances surrounding Tomlinson's death within the City of London police and the IPCC, appeared to
be steering the story to what they thought would be its conclusion: that the newspaper vendor suffered an unprovoked heart attack as he made his way home on the night of the G20 protests.
Late last Friday, after investigators from the IPCC had spoken to detectives from City police, the commission which claims it is the most powerful civilian oversight body in the world, was preparing to say it did not need to launch an inquiry
into the death during one of the most controversial recent policing operations.
But the release of the video by the Guardian this week, which revealed Mr Tomlinson was subjected to an unprovoked attack by a Met riot squad officer minutes before he died, has forced the IPCC to step up to the demand that it launch a full
The shocking video of Ian Tomlinson being attacked last week has led to a general concern about the police's oppressive tactics and lack of respect for rights. People as far apart politically as Peter Hitchens and Vince
Cable, both of whom have had direct experience of policing in London, have recently expressed fears that New Labour's laws are creating a gulf between police and public, and that our right to protest has been severely curtailed.
Last week I heard about another case of intimidation by police. It is unexceptional, which is what makes it so disturbing.
A teacher has been suspended after writing 'fictional' book in which her pupils feature.
Leonora Rustamova has been suspended from her post, along with a colleague, prompting mass demonstrations by pupils and a campaign by parents to have them reinstated.
The story, Stop! Don't Read This! appeared on a self-publishing website. Although it is claimed to be all invention, it features five genuine teenage pupils at Calder High School in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire.
It contains swearwords, has children skipping lessons, refers to a pupil flirting with a teacher and compares two youngsters to gorgeous Mr Gay UK finalists . The story names several teachers, including real headmaster Stephen Ball, and
features pupils missing lessons, stealing phones and setting themselves on fire.
One pupil is described as fantasising and flirting with 39-year-old Miss Rustamova, while she says she would do anything for a smile from another. She writes: It's getting harder and harder to see them just as kids.
Pupils at Calder High School have
set up a Facebook page asking for teachers Leonora Rustamova and Steve Cann's jobs to be saved following the publication of her book Stop! Don't Read This!
The suspensions prompted hundreds of pupils to hold mass demonstrations and create internet pressure groups supporting the pair. Former pupil Travis Downs one of those featured in the book, said pupils were now allowed to wear badges supporting
the teachers on their coats but not on their school uniforms.
According to Friends of Rusty and Steve , a campaign group set up to reinstate the teachers, Cann was suspended for having the guts to stand up for Rusty. It is understood he took over her class after her suspension.
Chris Ratcliffe, a parent of former pupils, said the book was a work of fiction, even though some characters are based on real people. He added: I don't think there's anything there that would concern parents, unless they're Mary
Whitehouse types. It's no worse than TV shows like Skins, and just as fictional. I mean, drug dealers under Calder High isn't going to happen.
Another of the named pupils, who has since left for college, said: I can understand why parents might not be happy. But of the five main characters all of us and our parents were fine with it. We like it. It helped us take school seriously.'
Natasha Gray's interests include physical exercise and dance - but the fact that she teaches these subjects at a secondary school has landed her in hot water.
The part-time model's revealing online portfolio was already common knowledge among secondary pupils when an irate parent wrote to Manor Community School in Cambridge to complain about the 'provocative pictures'.
Gray, who was voted Britain's sexiest teacher in an ITV competition in 2002, was immediately ordered to remove the photos on her 'Tasha' home page.
She was at work as usual yesterday after her behaviour was classed as misconduct rather than gross misconduct, but she is facing a severe reprimand.
Head teacher Ben Slade said the photos are certainly a disciplinary matter but that Miss Gray will not be suspended. He said teachers could have second jobs as long as it did not affect their work. But he claimed: This behaviour has
brought the school into disrepute. It will be dealt with most severely and will certainly be a disciplinary matter.
Miss Gray's father Barry, a personal trainer, said he was proud of his daughter and that her modelling shots were 'tasteful'.
Comment: A Kick up the Headmaster's Orifice
4th April 2009. Thanks to Alan
What a sanctimonious pillock this headmaster is! The pictures of the teacher are totally innocuous.
This seems to be yet another example of the "profession" illusion among head teachers - insisting that teachers, perfectly routine waged white-collar workers, are members of a "profession" like some barrister on half a million
If anybody's bringing the school into disrepute it's the idiot boss. I hope that the relevant teachers' union will back the woman to the hilt and suggest to the headmaster a suitable orifice into which to insert his arrogant "order" to
take down the pictures.
A policewoman admitted working as a high-class call girl when she appeared before a judge.
PC Victoria Thorne was among a number of women working for the Notorious Girls escort agency, appearing on its website in provocative poses and using the name Kelly.
The officer admitted misconduct in a public office when she appeared at Newcastle Crown Court and was remanded in custody.
The case was adjourned for the preparation of a pre-sentence report but her barrister John Elvidge made no application for her bail to be extended.
Judge John Evans adjourned the case and told her: You have pleaded guilty to this matter for which you will be given appropriate credit in due course. In the meantime you must remain in custody.
Thorne appeared in court alongside six others, all charged with offences relating to prostitution. They are charged with conspiracy to manage brothels for prostitution and conspiracy to control prostitutes for gain.