3 April 2009
Jenny Jones AM has written a formal letter to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to express her concerns about the treatment of the G20 protesters by the police (see below). The Assembly Member first brought up anxiety over the kettling of protesters outside Bank of England and in the Climate Camp in Bishopsgate at the Metropolitan Police Authority's Strategic and Operational Policing Committee on 2nd April and has since been assured that there will an informal meeting for MPA members to ask questions about the police operation. The next MPA meeting is 13th April at City Hall.
Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson
Metropolitan Police Service
New Scotland Yard
Having watched footage from various sources of the G20 protests on Wednesday 1 April, I cannot accept that the policing plan was appropriately designed to protect safety and facilitate legitimate protest, nor that all police officers behaved with complete professionalism, which I'm sure will be a cause for concern for you.
As you will know the Authority is calling an informal meeting for members to ask questions about the police operation and I shall contribute to that, but in order to be better informed and save time I should also like formal answers to the following questions:
Climate Camp in Bishopsgate
What final warning was given to the climate camp people that they were about to be contained?
Were demonstrators allowed to leave during the containment?
There were reports of confusion at about 7.30pm in Bishopsgate about what the police were meant to be doing - the TSG began to move in and then stopped - why was this?
What was the rationale for containing and clearing the climate camp?
When did each of these operations take place?
Who made the decisions to contain and clear the climate camp? When were these decisions made?
I have received reports that the police dragged, kicked, punched and hit people in the climate camp with shields to move them away from the area and disperse them. Why did the police feel it necessary to use such force against non-violent campaigners?
Did the police remove the notebook of the climate camp's police liaison?
If so, will they be returning it?
Police kettling in the Bank area
Were contained protesters left for some time without food, water or the use of a toilet? If so, how long was this period? If not, what facilities were provided and when?
Were protesters who wished to leave the contained area prevented from doing so? If so, why?
When the police cordoned off the area surrounding the RBS in Threadneedle Street there was heightened violence and criminal damage. Was that foreseen?
Was a Health and Safety risk assessment made of the dangers of extended containment of protesters for this occasion?
Thursday 2 April protest in City
Why did the police contain and disperse the further protest in the Bishopsgate and Bank area on Thursday 2nd April?
What health and safety risk assessment has been made of the general tactic of "kettling" used to police protests?
Did the police take away cameras and phones? If so, what was the reason for that and under what powers?
Did any officers, at any time, cover their numbers?
I trust that you will let me have the answers to these questions as soon as possible.
Cllr Jenny Jones
Green Party Member of the London Assembly