G20 protests: 'Some police unaware of human rights law'

An official review of the G20 protests in London has described the public order training given to police as “inadequate for the modern day”.

The police watchdog’s investigation is the result of a number of complaints – including some from photographers and reporters – about how they had been treated.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Constabulary, Denis O’Connor, said some officers at the demonstrations in April were not sufficiently aware of human rights laws.

He also criticised police use of containment to pen in demonstrators on the day newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson died, calling it “inconsistent”.

O’Connor called on the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) to carry out a wide-ranging review of tactics and training for officers dealing with protesters.

He said the changes needed to be made as soon as possible to “meet the challenges of the 21st century”, and would be especially important for the Olympic Games in 2012.

The Metropolitan Police accepted the report’s recommendations and said it had launched a review of officer training.

Assistant commissioner Chris Allison denied senior officers were unaware of human rights laws and how they relate to protests.

But he accepted the Met could lose public confidence if it did not make changes to its policing of demonstrations.

In the run up to the G20, protesters accused police of exaggerating the threat of violence in briefings with the media.

But Allison rejected the claim that the Met had hyped up the potential for violence, and said officers were urged to stay calm.

“At no time did we say we anticipated major disorder taking place on this day,” he said. “We expected protests to be disruptive, but not major disorder.”

Sir Hugh Orde, the new president of Acpo, said he would consider the report carefully.

The Independent Police COmplaints Commission is carrying out a separate investigation into a string of complaints against police on the day.

The National Union of Journalists has given the IPCC a dossier detailing the complaints of 13 NUJ members about the behaviour of the police during the G20 demonstrations.

The union said there had been a lack of consistency and a misuse of power by a minority of officers when handling the media.

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