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Robust Policing

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Worried about security in London tomorrow? Maybe you should be. A month ago Lynne Owens, an assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, had this to say to the Commons Home Affairs Committee, which was hearing evidence on the policing of the TUC march:

we will be preparing to police any protests on the day of the royal wedding very robustly, but what we should remember is it is a different sort of event. It is a security event, which will give us different powers under terrorism and other legislation, and we now have a much broader intelligence picture about the sort of protest activity that we can expect and we will be delivering a safe royal wedding for the royal couple and for this country.

This morning several squats across London were raided by police. A coincidence, obviously.

Comments on “Robust Policing”

  1. Thomas Jones says:

    Here’s a statement from the Met, headed ‘Proactive raids across London’, which says that ‘These arrests are part of ongoing proactive work to tackle suspected criminality. They are not specifically related to the Royal Wedding but have been brought forward ahead of the event.’

  2. Joe Morison says:

    I have been cycling round all the wedding places today, i’ve never seen more coppers in central London. They might be ready to deal with any protests ‘robustly’, but that’s not the atmosphere – they know that 99% of the policing tomorrow will be dealing with true believers.

    (One cheering sign, for me, is that i’ve not seen a single St. George’s Cross, all the flags are Union Jacks.)

  3. Joe Morison says:

    Going up Whitehall yesterday evening i saw a small angry crowd demonstrating opposite the entrance to Downing Street. A token republican protest? Monarchists against the cuts? No, the chants and placards were to ‘Free Syria’, i wonder how it was that they managed to get permission?

  4. pinhut says:

    “Proactive” – this word needs to be unpacked and divested of its generally positive implications.

    Arresting people *before* they commit a crime is the Philip K Dick world of ‘pre-cogs’ or of Orwell’s Thought Police. If it was conspiring to cause explosions, fine, but street theatre? Are we going to equate loss of life and limb with loss of face for the ruling class?

    The YouTube footage of an anthropology professor (and a rabbit) being arrested is there for all to see.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOli98fgBP0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOli98fgBP0

    • Joe Morison says:

      It’s terribly sad because that sort of eccentric and good natured protest is quintessentially British and would only have added to the day’s jollity. The trouble with the police is that if you give them a power, they’ll use it, no matter how inappropriate the circumstances.

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