In the Media

'Macho' policing 'threat' to protesters on Armistice Day | Sandra Laville

PUBLISHED November 11, 2011

New brand of total policing behind 'threats' to demonstrators on Armistice Day New Metropolitan police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe's brand of total policing and the threat of protest during the two minute silence on Armistice Day today have led to accusations that the Met police's public order unit is intimidating the public and threatening free speech. The furore began with a series of tweets from CO11 on Friday, as the build up to the two minutes silence began. There is a policing operation in place to preserve the dignity of the two minutes silence. Individuals seeking to disrupt the two minute silence will be dealt with robustly. Any police action will be considered and proportionate respecting those who hold the two minute silence as a sign of respect. If the memory of dead soldiers is insulted where people have gathered to honour those soldiers there is clearly a threat to public order. And here comes the law bit: "Deliberately using abusive or insulting words or behaviour is an offence under Section 4 of the Public Order Act." So there it was. The Met police say they issued the tweets because of intelligence which suggests that members of the now banned Muslims against Crusades were planning to burn poppies and disrupt Armistice Day. "It's part of our operational planning. I wouldn't read too much into it," said one source. But it is also part of a change in tone, the macho flavour of the pared down back to basics approach of single-minded crimefighter Bernard Hogan-Howe. One lawyer, Jules Carey, who represented the pilot wrongly accused of carrying out the September 11 attacks and the family of Ian Tomlinson, wrote on Twitter: "Are the Met about to announce that rubber bullets have been authorised for use on anyone showing insufficient respect." Lee Jasper, who worked with former London mayor Ken Livingstone, said: "Total policing bollocks." Another advised the Met police to get some PR advice on using Twitter. All legitimate points, but unapologetic, macho, intimidating, foot in the door policing is the mark of the new commissioner and the reason he was chosen by the home secretary. Whether the outcry against this is enough to rattle him - who knows. What worked in Merseyside might not work in the capital; but he is certainly giving it a try. Crime Police UK criminal justice Protest Sandra Laville © 2011 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds