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Riot police on tour: The Times runs sick TSG PR as Tomlinson family attend vigil

Jack Weir | 02.12.2009 04:41 | G20 London Summit | Other Press | Repression

Last night, with phenomenally insensitive timing The Times newspaper published a puff piece aimed at rehabilitating the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Support Group, at exactly the same time as Ian Tomlinson's family were attending a candlelit vigil to remember him at Royal Exchange Buildings, near to the spot were he was attacked by a TSG officer on April 1st. The article was later pulled from The Times website, but not before copies were cached by other online news services.

In the article Chris Allison, the Met's kettler-in-chief, explained that the TSG are just misunderstood and do a lot of great work for charity...

The Times piece was published here:

See traces here:

The Ian Tomlinson Family Campaign website:

How the article looked before it was spiked
How the article looked before it was spiked

G20 riot police to go on good will tour
Adam Fresco, Crime Correspondent
The Times
December 1, 2009

Officers from the Territorial Support Group, which has been criticised for its heavy-handedness during several protests, are embarking on a good will tour to explain to people what their job really entails.

The road shows across the capital have been given the go-ahead after the death of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 protests earlier this year which also resulted in hundreds of complaints.

Some protestors claimed that they were brutally hit by riot squad officers for no reason.

Last week Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, said that the principle of policing by public consent had been severely undermined, most visibly by "aggressive and unfair" tactics at protests, such as the G20 demonstrations.

In a highly critical report he argued that deploying officers in riot gear had become a routine response to lawful demonstrators because of ignorance of the law about protest and a lack of leadership from chief officers and Home Office ministers.

Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison, in charge of public order, said that TSG officers were already going to schools and getting involved with youth groups and helping to raise money for good causes but this was now expanding to include road shows across London.

He said that he accepted public order officers had got a bad press recently and the public perception may be that all they do is drive around in carriers.

"We have to accept that the TSG have an issue with their image and it is our job now to get out there and explain what it is the TSG do. It is up to us to ensure the public understand what it is we do and why we do it because people don't."

Officers will be explaining what they do and why to members of the public at various locations including council halls.

Part of the show will involve getting members of the public to interact with the TSG officers. They will be given different scenarios and then be asked to make decisions like senior officers. They will also be given full TSG kit to wear.

Mr Allison said that lots of people thought officers wore balaclavas to disguise their identity when in fact they wore them for protection.

"It is about demystifying what we do and how we do it."

His officers will also be pushing figures that show in the last few years the number of allegations against them has fallen. From August 2006 to July 2007 there were 1,740 allegations but this fell in the last year, which included G20, to 1,114.

On Thursday the Met is holding its first International Public Order Policing conference at Wembley stadium.

The idea is to share ideas about policing public protests. The conference will include a talk by Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner, who earlier this year said that using water cannons could not be ruled out, as well as officers from America, Canada and Belgium.

Speaking to The Times in the summer Sir Paul said that Scotland Yard was going to review its policing of violent demonstrations if London needed harsher, European-style methods that could include the use of water cannon.

However, Mr Allison said, while he would "never say never" he believed the policing model that existed was "highly effective".

Jack Weir
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Display the following 6 comments

  1. De Menezes family agree compensation with police — Jean Charles
  2. It's still on the times website. — Times Reader
  3. it's *back* on the Times website — Jack Weir
  4. soap? — mr hippie
  5. No co-incidence — Dubai heat
  6. Where — Me