London: Police Chief Warns About Adoption Of New Extreme Protest Tactics

27 Jan

Police might have to adopt more “extreme” tactics to deal with the new breed of protesters who took part in riots in London last month, one of the country’s most senior officers has said.

Demonstrators jump off burning park benches during a protest outside the Houses of …More Enlarge photo

Students staged four protests late last year against government plans to raise university tuition fees, each being marred by violence.

The final demonstration on December 9 led to the worst riots in the capital for years, with protesters attacking the car of Prince Charles.

Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said the speed with which new protest groups had organised demonstrations and their lack of willingness to cooperate had created a “whole new dimension to public order.”

In an interview with Prospect magazine published on Thursday, he said there had to be a realisation that a lack of communication from protesters would prompt a different police response.

“The public do understand far better why police tactics do have to be seen as slightly more extreme if they are fully appreciative of the fact that the only reason we’re doing this is that these people will not engage with us pre-event,” he said.

More demonstrations are expected as the impact of the government’s austerity measures to reduce the country’s budget deficit begin to bite.

Students, unions and other campaigners are due to join in staging two protests in London and Manchester on Saturday.

“From a policing angle … there is something to be hopeful about the unions joining because they are an organised force,” Orde said.

“My sincere hope would be that if they are organising, as they are, a very large demonstration across the country that they engage and they show leadership.”

Orde defended the “kettling” containment tactic, saying it would evolve over time, and said British police forces‘ handling of protests compared well to other countries, highlighting the attack on Prince Charles’s limousine as an example.

“If that had been Washington, that would have been very different. I think it would have been a bloodbath,” he said.

He also played down the chances of water cannon being used in the future, saying it was “quite an extreme tactic” and would be inappropriate at the moment.

“That’s not to say that there may not come a time when you do see water cannon being used somewhere on the mainland in the United Kingdom,” he added.

(Editing by Steve Addison)


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: