Saturday, 4 August 2012

Are We Coming Close to Having a Police State?

On the Olympic Ceremony night I was watching the ceremony at the same time as reading twitter and keeping up with what was happening at the Critical Mass cycle ride.

Since then I have also caught up with many videos taken that night of the police and the way Critical Mass was handled.

First I have to say, that I was brought up to admire and respect our police.  When I was younger our police force was the best in the world.  That is a fact.  Now however, as a force, or service, as they are meant to be, I do not admire them and I certainly do not respect them.

Just a few of the situations from the few videos that I have seen of that night that have struck me.

1)  Refusing water to a cyclist, that has not only been cycling but was also due to break Ramadan.  Highly dangerous and could have ended up with that man being taken into hospital dehydrated.  This man was arrested on coming out of Tescos after buying food to break his fast.  He was finally allowed to eat at 1am in the morning.   This whole episode was inhuman and I would never have believed in a million years it would ever have happened here in Britain.  That tantamounted to torture.

2)  A pedestrian when videoing the buses full of arrested cyclists, was told he was breaking the law by standing just off the kerb on the empty highway between the bus and the kerb.  This is of course not against the law.

3)  A woman was told that she was breaking the law by owning a cycle.  She wasn't on that cycle at the time, she was simply standing there with her cycle asking if she could give a drink of water to another cyclist (no 1).  I believe she was also ultimately arrested.

4)  I saw an assault of a disabled man sitting in his mobility scooter, by pepper spray, baton and with a policeman's arm around his throat strangling him.  This was no less than brutality.  The man was trying to ask what he had done wrong and could be seen to be obviously no threat to threat of violence to that officer or any other.  He was also ultimately arrested. 

5)  A few people were kettled around a tescos, and a woman was heard to be shouting, "Let me out -  Let the shoppers out".

6)  A cyclist that had been cycling the world for charity and his end destination being the olympics was also arrested as part of critical mass.  How embarrassing and disgusting that a tourist to our country was arrested in that way.

7)  A policeman on seeing a lawyer (?) put a card in a cyclist's pocket which would have told him his rights, put his hand in the said cyclist's pocket and confiscated the card from him.  What was the policeman scared of?

8)  I also watched one policeman push another cyclist, who was doing nothing more than standing on the edge of the kerb, backwards, hard, into a mounted police horse, the mounted policeman then struck the young man with his baton.

I am sure over the next couple of weeks as people tell their story that we will hear of other shocking events.  Including the fact that people were held on the buses for many hours with no water, food, or toilet facilities.

 It would have been far better to put our soldiers on the streets and the police to handle security within the stadium.
 
I honestly believe that if our soldiers had been on the streets to guide critical mass away from sensitive areas instead of the police, the whole evening would have turned out quite different.

Our soldiers are trained as peace keepers equally as much as they are trained to fight when fighting is the last resort.  They are trained to fight for us, not against us.  With soldiers the evening would have had a completely different atmosphere.  Maybe even a carnival type atmosphere.

There is no doubt in my mind that the police that night were sent out deliberately to be heavy handed and stand no non-sense.  Unfortunately with the police training of nowadays our police only know one way to crowd control and that is to be on the attack first.  And of course with any injustice the British public tend to to not go calmly into the night, they want to know why??

The proof of the police attitude that night is in the pudding.  They were well prepared for trouble, even though critical mass is perfectly legal and peaceful, albeit a bit noisy, and police can't legally stop them riding the streets of London, they came prepared with buses and the backing of section 12 of the public order act, along with a police force of, as I understand it, 4 to 1.

Now if that isn't saying that the police were out for trouble that night I don't know what is.

I am also sure that for a very long time the police have wanted to "have a go" at critical mass and used this as their opportunity.

How can we trust a force that despise the public.  A force that makes up laws on the ground as they go along.

As far as I can make out 182 people were rounded up like cattle, including one 13 year old, yet only 3 were charged.  That's 179 people wrongfully arrested, if I have my figures correct.

This new police state that is being developed over the last few years is really scaring the hell out of me.  This sort of thing is like a canker.  It slowly grows until the people have gradually lost control of their freedom and rights.

I am hoping that there is going to be a very large enquiry into police heavy handedness, and I am hoping that some heads will roll.   The police that night were a disgrace to the uniform.

Today An Email was sent to "Critical Mass Organisers" from the police.  Now anyone that knows about critical mass knows that it is never organised, therefore there are no organisers.

As I understand it cyclists, wheelchairers, skateboarders, roller bladers, roller skaters and other self-propelled people simply meet at 6.30pm on the last Friday of every month on the South Bank under Waterloo Bridge, by the National Film Theatre.  Everyone sets off about 7pm simply following whoever is in front.  No one plans where they are going and those at the front change constantly.

Maybe the police now want an agenda of each ride in future.  Maybe they are going to insist that rides are planned and streets chosen by the police for the mass, or maybe, and I think this is more likely, the police are now going to attempt to wriggle out of the embarrassment and damage that their actions have caused them on the Olympic Ceremony night.

Footnote:  I am only viewing all this from my armchair many miles away from London so please forgive me and correct me if I have mentioned your personal experiences of that night wrongly.

2 comments:

  1. Looks like you could be right. Look at the way this incident was handled. http://bit.ly/N5wP9r (from the Guardian)

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  2. I really was shocked at the way the whole evening was handled. If someone had told me 40 years ago that this is what our police force would turn out like I would have called them stupid.

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