WHATEVER has happened to the British police? On Monday evening, a TCW reader posted a long amateur film in our Comments section, footage of the ‘Freedom Day’ Parliament Square protests.
It is a disturbing and shocking watch and I found myself almost in a state of anxiety as I looked at it. I thought I was about to witness a police killing, here in the UK.
If you watch, you will see a protester (presumably) held to the ground by a number of officers and a further protective cordon of police around them – designed, it seemed, to stop the possibility of anyone coming to the man’s aid, or seeing what was going on.
This was no two-minute incident. From an early scene of one policeman punching the ‘body’ they had pinned down and being pulled off, it went on – later showing another astride the man’s body. It looked as though he could die there. Where was the ambulance?
Why were dozens of police apparently needed to overpower this one man? How and why could that possibly be necessary? He was seen later kneeling then standing up, and did not appear to be armed. He was finally forcefully pushed into the cage of a police van.
Following the international furore over George Floyd being pinned to the ground and killed, it amazed me to see, so soon after, what looked to be such a similar scene being played out in our very own Parliament Square, outside the mother of parliaments and the heart of our democracy.
It shows the police not just losing the plot, but going feral against the crowd in a way I could never have believed.
So yesterday morning I expected to read, at the very least, the newspaper headlines reporting how the police had lost control and how any semblance of proper procedure for protest policing or riot control had evaporated. But all to be seen were what looked to be police-prompted reports of the ‘clash’ between officers and protesters and the 11 arrests that had been made.
If the Telegraph sent a reporter to independently witness the event, nothing in its report suggests it. It ends with a quote from the police presenting them as victims of the day: ‘Eleven people have been arrested for a variety of offences. Our policing operation continues, sadly officers have been met with hostility while engaging with crowds.’
And here, taken by Richards Ings, one of TCW’s writers on the spot, are further pictures of just what that policing operation was. Was such a large and intimidating police presence necessarily for this spontaneous protest? It certainly gives the message that they meant business.
Was any comment from any protester sought – from any of those smeared and dismissed by the paper as ‘anti-vax’ – or to be seen? No.
Yet later the film shows a woman, who was no risk to the police beyond the sound of her voice, being brutally struck in the neck. Officers are lucky indeed that she didn’t suffer a serious injury or that the strike did not prove fatal.
The picture shown online with the Standard’s report, of a policeman punching a man in the head, is the one mainstream media-reported image that at least captured the prevailing mood of the police.
It sounds trite to say that I never expected to see our British police descend into such institutionalised hostility to the public they are meant to protect, witnessed from the first lockdown protest.
But corrupted, I am afraid, they have been – among other things by woke culture, by the obsession with diversity and inclusiveness, and by a rapid transition from their traditional stance as upholders of good law into a Stasi-type thought police enforcing bad law.
It cannot be a happy place for them, as they find all public respect for them is lost. No wonder so many are leaving the force. And it becomes an ever more dangerous place for the rest of us, and not just for those who object to the current undemocratic order.