Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Public Relations

Been sent an email from an officer who states he is in the self proclaimed flagship of British police services, The Metropolitan Police. Paraphrased slightly to ensure names and times remain ambigiuous, and swear words removed.

"I am a level 2, or public order trained officer. Over the bank holiday weekend myself and my serial have been on standby at the Notting Hill Carnival.

We have been kept back, in a hall, awaiting deployment in case of a major incident or fight- large scale public disorder. I was one of several dozen if not 100+ plus officers held back in this hall.

Now there was one point early in the morning when the carnival parties were still in full swing and the booze and cannabis (thats another story) were in plentiful supply. As you might expect, a couple of fights broke out.

One or two of these fights became quite serious. The carnival has dozens of PC's on the ground. Most of them are what we call level 3 public order trained, i.e. have no riot training. One or two of these PCs found themselves in a quite serious fights and unsurprisingly asked for backup.

There were over 100 of us probably nearer 200, ready to go in that hall in full riot kit, ready to deploy as soon as the command was given. No such command was given. We sat in the hall listening as it became more and more urgent on the radio. Urgent assistance was required. Next thing, officers were down.

Still we had no command. We were standing up, adrenalin going full throttle, waiting to be let out to help our colleagues.

No command was ever given.

It turns out Gold (overall command) or whoever was his deputy wasn't prepared to release us. I have no idea how they justified it but it boils down to they were prepared to sacrifice the safety of a PC or two in order to not deploy the riot police with all the negative media that that would undoubtedly follow. At least two PCs were put in hospital just so the management could say it was a quiet successful event"

I have no idea if this is true or not. I was happily nowhere near Notting Hill this bank holiday. But if this is the case- I am hoping that some of the commenters may be able to verify this story- then this is a damning indictement of the modern police service. Safety of individuals play a poor second fiddle to the corporate and media image that senior management wish to portray. I hope the hospitalised PCs make a full recovery and sue the living daylights out of the Met under the Health and Safety at Work act.