Full investigation into riot policing methods needed in the wake of G20 protests

17 April 2009

On 15 April 2009 Sir Paul Stephenson, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, ordered a full review of footage from the demonstration. Any serious cases of misconduct it uncovers will be referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: “This timely statement from the new Metropolitan Police Commissioner will be welcomed by all Londoners. We welcome his remarks on peaceful protest and on officers being identifiable. We also welcome his comments on the worrying tactic of ‘kettling’ large groups of demonstrators. It seems to us that this practice risks increasing anger, increasing distress and increasing rather than diffusing any threat to public safety.”

The IPCC has received a deluge of complaints about excessive use of police force and police tactics at the G20 protests. Scotland Yard has suspended two police officers after footage emerged of an unprovoked police attack on Ian Tomlinson, who died shortly afterwards, and another film showed a sergeant striking a woman across the face with the back of his hand before hitting her legs with a baton.

Liberty's Director Shami Chakrabarti said it was essential that IPCC investigators did their job properly.

She said: "The clock is ticking for the IPCC. This is a body we want to believe in but they are not proving themselves capable. It failed its first big test with the inquiry into the death of Jean Charles de Menezes. This investigation has to be got right in terms of speed, sanctions and transparency if there is to be any public confidence in this fledgling watchdog.”