Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sir Paul: Officers Were Wrong to Hide Their ID Badges; Watchdog Condemns G20 Assaults as 'Unacceptable' and 'Not the British Way'

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Sir Paul: Officers Were Wrong to Hide Their ID Badges; Watchdog Condemns G20 Assaults as 'Unacceptable' and 'Not the British Way'

Article excerpt

Byline: MARTIN BENTHAM AND KATHARINE BARNEY

THE Met Commissioner broke his silence over the G20 protests today to admit officers were wrong to hide their identities -- as the official police watchdog rebuked some of their conduct as "unacceptable".

The public criticism from the Government's Chief Inspector of Constabulary dealt a new blow to the crisis-hit force, already reeling from the aftermath of the protests and a manslaughter investigation over the death of newspaper vendor Ian Tomlinson.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission also revealed it is examining 52 separate complaints about police conduct at the protests in the City.

Met Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson made his first public comments today as he admitted officers were wrong to conceal their shoulder numbers.

The Met's policy is that they must be identifiable.

"I have made it absolutely clear that it is absolutely unacceptable for any officer who should have identification numbers on not to have those identification numbers on," he said. "As for the collar numbers I have made absolutely clear what my expectations are and I have taken action to ensure that is the case." Mayor Boris Johnson offered Sir Paul a public expression of confidence after a 10-minute discussion in a private office at a strategy launch in Islington this morning.

Sir Paul's comments come after dozens of complaints alleging aggressive behaviour by officers, and footage of demonstrators being struck. He said: "This was a successful conference, although there have been a few disturbing images that need to be investigated."

But there was more criticism from Denis O'Connor, the Inspector of Constabulary, as he was questioned by MPs on the home affairs select committee.

Mr O'Connor, who is conducting an official review into public order policing, said he was "very concerned" by some of the images he had seen.

And he issued a stern rebuke over the failure to wear identification numbers.

Asked about footage of police violence towards protesters, including Nicola Fisher being slapped by an officer and then hit across the legs with a baton, Mr O'Connor said he had been "uncomfortable" with the incident. …

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