Licence to kick

Latest posts by Edward Case (see all)

On Saturday afternoon about 200 people quickly gathered at a Peckham estate in a bid to thwart immigration officers from taking away a man from one of the flats who had been arrested.

The group, made up of neighbours and protesters sat in front of the van trying to take the man away, whose visa had apparently expired, and basically just stayed there, the only inconvenience being caused to the officers in the van.

Then the Met turned up.

One has to wonder how, with the force under such intense scrutiny at the moment, there are still officers out there who don’t appear to care that they are being filmed stamping and kicking out at a guy who’s not even blocking a road. Whether or not he’s one of those professional activists (I don’t know either way) he’s not throwing himself in front of a procession on the Mall, blocking a bridge over the Thames, superglueing himself to a cooking oil lorry or trying to cause gridlock on the M25, he’s sitting in front of one van on a south London council estate because he’s convinced that some bloke is about to be thrown onto a plane to Rwanda.

The footage is freely available to view on a number of newspaper websites and it makes disturbing viewing, just as the wrestling of a woman to the floor during the Sarah Everard vigil was horrible to see.

Now look at the photo above from Twitter and it sums up how out of control the Met has become.

It’s difficult to know how someone is going to react when confronted by a couple of hundred people determined to prevent you from doing your job, but the police are trained for situations like this and their job on Saturday was to disperse a large group of people engaged in peaceful protest.

That means picking them up off the floor or dragging them out of the way if necessary and arresting them if they continue to cause disruption to the point of breaking the law.

It does not mean putting the boot in or punching a woman full in the face.

Thank goodness they didn’t turn up with batons, shields and tear gas.

There are officers in forces across the globe who don’t care about being filmed or photographed because they think a uniform entitles them to a free pass on being violent.

But to see it on our own shores in 2022 reminds me of the late 1970s and the old, now long disbanded Special Patrol Group who were regularly sent out by Scotland Yard to rough up anti racist demonstrators staging counter protests to National Front marches.

I don’t believe joining the police turns you into a certain type of person, there are many decent coppers out there who are being tarred with this dirty brush.

But I do think you have to be that way inclined in the first place and that needs to be tackled at recruitment level.

By allowing it to thrive over many decades with little more than perfunctory rhetoric about learning lessons etc every time a report finds the force lacking, the Metropolitan Police now finds itself, like many police forces in the US, riddled with a cancer that I fear could yet prove terminal.

Then what the hell do we do?

Quotes of the week

“My years of experience make me think the fairies might be trying to pass a message on to the people in this castle.”

“Have you ever seen a fairy?” (to a woman)

“Are you a pixie?” (to an “invisible entity” supposedly stood by a tree)

All from self styled medium Chris Fleming on Reality TV’s Spooked Scotland

Stupid TV quiz answer of the week

All I can say about the following is oh dear oh dear.

The Chase:

Q: In the fairytale where does goldilocks fall asleep?

A: A tuffet

And with a big fat zero in the cash builder –

Q: “The future’s not ours to see” is a line from which Doris Day song?

A: We’ll Meet Again

Tipping Point:

Q: Which large dog breed shares its name with a Canadian Peninsula?

A: Bernese Mountain Dog

Q: On The London Underground, Liverpool and Baker are followed by which word?

A: Station?

Edward Case