Despite initial denials, SchNEWS has been passed 90 seconds of grainy footage showing an officer in FULL RIOT GEAR simply standing opposite a group of protesters. Throughout the film, the burly officer fails to CONCEAL his FACE and his BADGE NUMBERS remain fully visible. Not reaching for his BATON, despite verbal provocation, he shockingly does not BRUTALLY ATTACK any scrawny hippies or even SLAP or ROUGHLY PUSH around a single lentil-munching soap-dodger.
Jacqui Smith, Home Secretary, demanded the officer's immediate suspension, saying the footage “raised serious questions” and was a “shocking breach of standard police procedure”.
A senior Met bigwig has defended the officer claiming it was 'an isolated incident', and saying, “Our officers train hard to develop their basic stony-faced aggressive posture, public communication failure techniques and intimidation skills. In almost all cases they look to escalate confrontations with protesters and enjoy the free license to let the uniform and position of power go to their heads, letting off steam by directing their internal anger and frustration at defenceless hippies who no-one in the mainstream press gave a toss about until now.
But, in the heat of the moment - they are only human after all! - things can get of hand and reasonableness and decency can flare up. However, I accept in this case it appears this one officer apparently acted out of character and used seemingly proportionate force.
However, we should be wary of drawing too many conclusions from video evidence taken out of context – after all the officer involved might have just clubbed someone to the ground and was taking a breather just as the camera started recording.
Obviously we don't want the hard fought reputation of our loyal officers to be tarred with this kind of non-representative brush with the law – a few good apples can spoil the whole rotten barrel. We will now review our procedures for clamping down on people with video cameras to make sure this kind of embarrassing situation does not occur again.”
For the rest of this week's Schnews head to the website.