When the police are seen acting like thugs, often we hear the defence that it's only a couple of bad apples.
The policing operation at Kingsnorth last year had already raised doubts about the bad apple theory. Kingsnorth revealed a systemic culture of repression towards demonstrators, with police officers regularly abusing the law and using violence to shut down protest, under the watchful and no doubt approving gaze of senior officers.
The same contempt towards civil liberties was repeated this year in London at the G20 protests, when without provocation police charged peaceful protesters at the Climate Camp in Bishopsgate. People were beaten by those who are meant to defend the law, and one man who wasn't even involved in the protest died after an encounter with violent police officers.
Today's revelations in the Guardian show that the Kingsnorth story isn't over. Thanks to the police's forward information team (FIT) recording the demonstrations and Freedom of Information requests aquiring the video footage, we are able to see a police eye view of what went on, and through hearing their own words, get into the minds of the people who are supposed to be entrusted with protecting our persons and our civil liberties.
The language used by the FIT officers, the hiding of police identification and the violent behaviour towards someone who simply asked for their numbers illustrates that these police have nothing but contempt for the public.
It's easy to blame it on the bad apple theory, but it doesn't wash. There are too many examples of anti social police behaviour now to defend that argument. A quick search on YouTube is all it takes.
In Kingsnorth, these officers were supervised and this video footage has probably been examined already by senior police, but nothing has happened to these men who put innocent people into dangerous neck grips and hog tied them before throwing them into a police van, arrested on manufactured charges.
These police are not our defenders. They have no care for civil liberties and clearly get off on violence. They are enemies freedom and democracy. They have been given too many powers by successive governments through laws which are constructed in such ambiguous terms that the law can mean whatever a police officer says it means. We rightly agonise over the corruption of the law makers in Parliament, but the abuses by the law enforcers on the streets should meet similar ruthless scrutiny. At the minute, how can we trust the law with either body?
There needs to be a serious reform of the police and a new system of accountability, and offences investigated by a body with more powers than the pathetic and toothless Independent Police Complaints Commission.
There needs to be a start to regain public confidence. These officers at Kingsnorth need to be brought to justice. Watch the video. Every single one of them involved should be dismissed.
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