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Archive for metropolitan police

Scotland Yard riot squad faces calls to end ‘culture of impunity’

tsg

No Cause For Complaint ?

What a surprise! : Of more than 5,000 complaints against squad, less than 0.18% were upheld

From The Guardian: 6/11/09:

Scotland Yard faced calls for an “ethical audit” of all officers in its controversial riot squad tonight after figures revealed that they had received more than 5,000 complaint allegations, mostly for “oppressive behaviour”.

Details of all allegations lodged against the Metropolitan police territorial support group (TSG) over the last four years reveal that only nine – less than 0.18% – were “substantiated” after an investigation by the force’s complaints department.

The figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act, were described as evidence of a “culture of impunity” that makes it almost impossible for members of the public to lodge successful complaints against the Met’s 730 TSG officers.

The TSG is a specialist squad that responds to outbreaks of disorder anywhere in the capital. It is under investigation for the most high-profile cases of alleged brutality at the G20 protests, including the death of Ian Tomlinson.

The unit came under renewed criticism this week after one of its officers was identified as a member of a team implicated in a “serious, gratuitous and prolonged” attack on a Muslim man.

PC Mark Jones, 42, was one of six officers involved in an attack on Babar Ahmad, 34, who was punched, kicked, stamped on and strangled during his arrest at his home in Tooting, south London. The Met paid Ahmad £60,000 in damages earlier this year and accepted its officers were responsible for the attack, during which Ahmad, a terror suspect, was forced into the Muslim prayer position and told: “Where is your God now? Pray to him.”

A former Royal Marine, Jones has had 31 complaints lodged against him since 1993. Twenty-six were assault allegations, most of which had been lodged by black or Asian men, but none were substantiated.

They included a complaint from a man detained in a drug search in 2007 who, Ahmad’s lawyers told the high court, accused Jones of forcing him into a TSG van, placing him on his knees, grabbing his neck and spraying CS gas into his face.

Despite being identified in court by Ahmad’s lawyers as the officer who placed him in an “extremely dangerous” neck-hold, Jones faced no disciplinary action and returned to duty on Wednesday after being cleared in another case of alleged racially aggravated assault.

The TSG has been the subject of 5,241 allegations since August 2005. They include 376 allegations of discrimination and 977 complaints of “incivility”. More than 1,100 of the allegations concerned what members of the public said were “failures in duty”. However by far the largest number of complaints – 2,280 – were categorised as “oppressive behaviour”.

Just over 2,000 (38%) were “unsubstantiated” by the Met’s department for professional standards, while the rest were resolved at the police station, dismissed, discontinued or dealt with in other ways.

Senior Met officers say the TSG’s work, involving drug raids and demonstrations, means they are more likely to face complaints than other officers.

Jenny Jones, a member of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA), the force’s watchdog, said tonight the figures revealed TSG officers were “practically immune” from criticism in the force.

“The fact that less than 0.2% of complaints about the TSG succeed, suggest its officers are protected within the Met to the extent that there is a culture of impunity for their actions,” she said. “It’s time for an ethical audit and a thorough overhaul. They desperately need better training, rotation of personnel, and reduction of duties to make them fit for purpose.”

Fiona Murphy, Ahmad’s solicitor, said: “The figures either mean thousands of members of the public are taking the trouble to make fabricated complaints against the TSG, which seems unlikely, or there is a systemic problem with the complaints procedure that means it is virtually impossible for officers in the unit to be held to account for their actions.”

A high court order prevented identification of Jones as an officer involved in the Ahmad assault until the end of his separate criminal trial. On Tuesday jurors at Kingston crown court cleared Jones of racially and physically attacking two 16-year-old boys in a police van in June 2007.

The teenagers said they were racially taunted in front a team of TSG officers who had stopped them near Edgware Road, west London. One of the teenagers said Jones punched him several times in the head and placed him in a neck-hold while calling him an “Arab cunt”.

 

697-domestic-extremists-lg

from schnews

Good Analysis of Liberal Press’  questionable coverage of recent Police Brutality:

also check: http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news697.php

more police brutality: nottingham


MAN WAS ALREADY CUFFED WHEN TAZERED

Colin Headley, the taxi driver who videoed the scene on his mobile phone, told a local radio station, Trent FM, that he was shocked by what had happened.

“He was Tasered three times, he was cuffed at the time, he was pretty much out of it I think. While all that was happening he was getting three punches to the head. There was no crowd at first, once they started punching, a crowd appeared.”

Mr Headley said he made the video public because he felt that the police actions were “obviously wrong” and needed to be brought to wider attention.

This follows the reports of the Met waterboarding “drug suspects” earlier in the week.

Kingsnorth Policing Cover-up

29 May 2009

090808_marcvallee_climate_camp_mass_action_9The failure to publish the long awaited report on policing tactics last summer is leading to accusations of a cover-up. Chris Ames reports

The Home Office and Kent Police have buried a report on the policing of last summer’s climate camp at Kingsnorth power station, provoking suspicions that it was critical of the controversial police tactics at the protest.

During the protest last August, activists complained of aggressive policing, including violence against peaceful protestors, excessive use of stop and search powers, arbitrary arrests and mass confiscation of personal property. A number of MPs called for an inquiry.

Last December, policing minister Vernon Coaker told MPs that the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) was “considering the lessons to be learned” from Kingsnorth. He said he would discuss its report with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and would then “be happy to share those conclusions” with Liberal Democrat Shadow Justice Secretary David Howarth.

But the report has been shelved, apparently because Kent Police did not like its findings, despite sending it back to be revised. Soon after receiving a “final” version, Chief Constable Michael Fuller commissioned a second review, on the grounds that the NPIA report “was not an evaluation of the operation overall or whether or not strategic and tactical objectives were achieved”.

The force also refused to hand the report to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). Kent Police have declined to say what the report’s findings were, in spite of a claim that its policy “has always been to be open and transparent in everything we do”.

The Home Office is now presenting the second review, which is being carried out by an assistant chief constable of South Yorkshire Police, as a “report by the NPIA”, even though both the NPIA and South Yorkshire Police have stated that the NPIA are not involved.

Howarth has tabled a parliamentary question asking when the Home Office expects to receive the original report. He has not yet had a reply. He told Index: “It would be disturbing if the police and Home Office were not being wholly transparent about the outcome of the review into the policing of Kingsnorth. This is not a time for the police to close ranks. A democratic police force should not be afraid of healthy public debate and scrutiny. A fully open discussion is an essential part of the process of rebuilding public confidence in the policing of protest.”

Coaker referred to the original NPIA report several times when he gave evidence to the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights in December. He said: “I want to see what that report says with respect to Kingsnorth.” Six days later, he had to apologise to MPs for an earlier, false, claim that 70 police officers at the climate camp had been injured by demonstrators. But he declined to comment on his previous assertion that police tactics had been “appropriate and proportionate”. He told Howarth that he would “wait for the NPIA report”.

But Kent’s Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Leppard has now claimed that the report was only “an initial debrief”. He said: “As a police force, we are always keen to learn and advance our techniques and that is why we asked the NPIA to carry out a full review.”

Kent Police’s refusal to give the original report to the IPCC has increased suspicions that it was critical of the force’s tactics. In March, the force made a voluntary referral to the IPCC of a highly critical report on Kingsnorth, which was published by the Liberal Democrats. The IPCC’s commissioner for south-east England, Mike Franklin, then asked to see the NPIA report.

According to the IPCC, “Kent Police told the commissioner that they had asked for additional work to be done on the report and that they would share it with him when it was complete.” Although Kent Police have not stated the exact date on which they received the final NPIA report, it seems clear that they had already been given it by that time.

In spite of Coaker’s pledge to consider the report, the Home Office has declined to say whether he took steps to obtain it. Like Kent Police, it is now referring to the South Yorkshire police review as an NPIA report, in an apparent attempt to deflect attention from the shelving of the original report.

A spokesperson said: “The conclusions of the report by the NPIA will be shared with the Home Office in June. We will in turn be ensuring that these lessons are picked up across the police service and linked into the [Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary] review of [the policing of the G20 protests].” She added: “At NPIA’s suggestion this review will be led by a Deputy Police Constable (DCC)with wide public order experience (from South Yorkshire), supported by NPIA.”

But this claim is contradicted by the NPIA and South Yorkshire Police, who have both stated that the new review has nothing to do with the NPIA. South Yorkshire police told Index: “The review was commissioned jointly by Kent Constabulary’s Chief Constable Michael Fuller and ACPO’s lead for public order, Deputy Chief Constable Sue Sim from Northumbria Police. The NPIA are not involved.”

The disappearance of the original report has aroused suspicions among campaigners. A spokesperson for the climate camp legal team said: “The policing at Kingsnorth was completely over the top, with the indiscriminate use of stop and search powers, the mass confiscation of personal property, and aggressive behaviour by police officers. The police do all they can to cover up their heavy handed behaviour, and so we aren’t surprised to learn that this potentially critical report has been buried.”

She added: “The right to protest is a vital part of our democracy and the police must not be allowed to silence public dissent on crucial issues such as climate change.”

video evidence of police assault on ian tomlinson

Ian Tomlinson's Widow, and Son, Paul. They Want answers

Ian Tomlinson's Widow, and Son, Paul. They Want answers

Click: Video:

Of course, this must just be a mirage, as the the Police said that they didn’t assault him, and they were being pelted with bottles.