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Stay safe

April 3, 2010

As I write this, hundreds of my colleagues are in Dudley, keeping the peace between the English Defence League and United Against Fascism.

Whatever happens, there will no doubt be complaints about a) the cost of the operation b) the numbers of police getting in the way c) the disruption to normal life and d) the quality of the sandwiches.

These protests are a fine example of the freedom of speech we still enjoy in this country. However radical and obnoxious your point, it can still be aired in public. Unfortunately, some people interpret freedom of speech to mean freedom to damage property, assault anyone who is passing or be abusive to anyone who happens to be in earshot.

Hopefully, my colleagues will all go home uninjured tonight. But should things get nasty, then I also hope that the media appreciate that sometimes, we have to use force to make sure the majority are kept safe from the small minority who hijack these events for their own purposes.

It’s interesting to see that the group of people who suffer the most injuries in these kind of events are the police officers involved. That’s because we work to certain rules of engagement and the others can fight as dirty as they like. Fortunately, the courts have recognised the problems we face and the decision to acquit a Met sergeant of assault this week will send out a very positive message.

To all police officers involved in the protest. I wish you well – have a safe day. I’ll be on later to pick up the pieces elsewhere.

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