the friend online
01 May 2009


Policing riot - preview

John Hall suggests that maybe the time has come to address the role of police

When I was headteacher of a school in Leyton, East London, we suddenly noticed large numbers of buses driving past one day, full of police officers
  • They were on their way to the protest camp blocking the development of the M11 link road
  • I left my office, walked the few yards to the camp and stood with a gathering crowd of Eastenders outside the pub to see what would happen
  • My friend, the local chief superintendent, was there but was too busy to notice me
  • The police officers consisted of two sorts: ordinary bobbies in helmets and riot police in the now-common motorcycle-type helmets, full-face visors and armoured uniforms
  • They were members of the Territorial Support Group (TSG; a renaming of the notorious Special Patrol Group present at the death of Blair Peach in 1979)
  • The reaction to the ordinary policemen from the public during the long day was offers of cups of tea
  • There was no contact at all with the TSG
  • The TSG also had no apparent contact with ordinary police officers, acting together as a completely separate unit

  • John Hall

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