Examination of Witness (Questions 380-402)|
19 MAY 2009
Q380 Chairman: Do you want to tell
us what it was then?
Commander Broadhurst: I have not
got it in front of me, sir.
Chairman: Do you have it?
Mr Winnick: The statement is here.
Q381 Chairman: Read it out then.
Commander Broadhurst: Read it
Q382 Mr Winnick: It did not indicate
in any way. This is the point, and I do not want to pursue it
because it is the subject of investigation and I do not want to
pursue it endlessly, but I do put it to you, Mr Broadhurst, that
this statement on 1 April made no mention that the police had
contact with Mr Tomlinson beforehand. Do you stand by that? It
is a simple question.
Commander Broadhurst: If I can
explain the statement, sir? At the time it was made, bear in mind
I am in the control room at Lambeth
Q383 Mr Winnick: Why can you not
answer yes or no?
Commander Broadhurst: I need to
put it in context.
Chairman: We must allow the Commander
to answer the question.
David Davies: I would not be allowed
to question a witness in this discourteous fashion.
Q384 Chairman: I think the Commander
is going to give us an explanation.
Commander Broadhurst: At the time,
I was in the control room at Lambeth where I only have access
to the CCTV coverage that I see. The first time I became aware
of Mr Tomlinson was seeing him on the pictures from our helicopter
being treated by our medic officers. It became very clear to me
that he was in a very bad way, and I was told very quickly afterwards
that he had died. Unfortunately, due to the nature of our systems
within the control room, I do not have the ability to rewind and
look at any other footage. We can only do that subsequently. So,
at that time, none of us in the control room had seen any of the
footage that later came on television. The first I saw of Mr Tomlinson
was him being treated. As soon as I had heard that he had died,
because I now have a suspicious death, I did exactly as I would
do in any other suspicious death on the streets. (By "suspicious"
I mean we do not know why he has died.) I asked for it immediately
to be made a crime scene, I sent a detective chief inspector to
the scene to start forensic recovery; I asked that we capture
any CCTV images we may have taken (bearing in mind I cannot immediately
view them but I can ask for them to be kept so that we can subsequently
view themI do not have the facility to view them), and
I asked that we make a note of which police serials were in the
area, again knowing that as these things fade away from us it
is hard to work out who was there. So I took steps, because I
did not know whether Mr Tomlinson had come into contact with police,
I did not know whether he had come into contact with the crowd,
I did not know if he was just a passer-by who had been mugged,
or just had a heart attack. I knew none of that, and I had seen
none of the footage until I saw, on the television, a week later,
the same images that you saw. We, the Metropolitan Police, had
no prior knowledge as to what had happened, because we did not
have the camera systems to allow us to go back and look. That
has subsequently happened.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Just two
quick points, if I may, Chairman. You have got to remember this
is now part of a third new investigation now being undertaken
by the Independent Police Complaints Commission into what was
said. Secondly, I have to say it would be hugely irresponsible
of the police to speculate as to we may or may not have come in
contact with the inquiry; the best and safest course of action
is to stick with the facts. That is what the statement did. To
try and imagine, or try and distil early information so that we
could have put a press statement out would have been hugely irresponsible,
and I would not have supported that being done. The fact were
published from the Met.
Commander Broadhurst: Before that
statement was issued, we contacted the IPCC's press officer, ran
the statement past them and, also, contacted our Director of Professional
Standards. The reason we put the statement out is normally we
would not because there is potentially an IPCC investigation in
the offing; it was because I was concerned about the potential
community interest; I thought it was only right and proper we
say: "Somebody has died in this demonstration. We do not
Q385 Mr Winnick: Mr Broadhurst, can
I say that if a moment ago I seemed discourteous, I apologise.
Commander Broadhurst: You did
Q386 Mr Winnick: It is not our wish
to put dedicated public servants in a position where they are
subject to rudeness. If I was, as I said, I apologise. Is it not
important on future occasions to learn from what has happened
as regards the statement and to be absolutely clear, as far as
the Met is concerned, be it at the most senior level, or next
to the senior level, like yourself, to have absolutely the facts
gathered together, even if it means delaying the statement until
you are absolutely certain of all the facts? Would that not give
greater confidence to the public?
Commander Broadhurst: I would
then have been accused of not reporting the death at all.
Q387 Mr Winnick: You smile, Sir Paul.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Exactly what
Commander Broadhurst is saying, Mr Winnick. The reality is you
are damned if you do and you are damned if you do not. Not to
have put anything out in these circumstances would potentially
have led to much further problems. Our intent is to reduce problems
and reduce tension on the street, but to go beyond the facts as
you know them at the time is a very silly thing to do
Q388 Mr Winnick: The facts were not
quite out with precision.
Sir Paul Stephenson: The facts,
as far as the Met was concerned, were put out with precision,
and we learnt that from Stockwell.
Q389 Tom Brake: It has been put to
me by the crime correspondents with whom you meet, I understand,
that their concern may have been about the verbal briefings that
were issued as opposed to the written statement. Do you have any
concerns about any verbal briefings that were issued?
Commander Broadhurst: Is this
before the event, sir?
Q390 Tom Brake: Yes.
Commander Broadhurst: I briefed
the Crime Reporters' Association. The Commissioner has a monthly
briefing with the Crime Reporters' Association. We took advantage
of that, about 10 days to two weeks before the week of the summit,
to personally brief them. I have read some articles since that
my briefing, if you like, "hyped-up" the situation and
"hyped-up" the potential violence that they were going
to look at. That caused me concern. I have reread my transcript;
I did not use the word "violence" or "force"
once; I merely said it was the aspirationand I repeat "aspiration"of
the protesters to "stop the City".
Q391 Tom Brake: Thank you. Can I,
just very briefly, state and go on the record saying that the
overwhelming majority of officers on the day acted perfectly professionally
and that it was very clear that a small minority of the crowd
were there to cause trouble, were being violent and aggressive.
I want to go on the record about that. I would certainly hate
it if the UK moved to a more remote form of crowd control. I do
not think that would be the right thing for us a country. I want
to return to this very serious allegation, because I want to try
and get you on the record just confirming, Commander Broadhurst,
or Sir Paulwhoever is appropriatewhether you are
going to be investigating that allegation about agent provocateur
Sir Paul Stephenson: I will go
away from this Committee and examine what we have done with that
letter and I will communicate with you immediately afterwards,
Q392 Tom Brake: Thank you. If you
want my assistance with going through the footage I am very happy
to do that, as I am contributing to this allegation in one small
respect, in having said that I saw two men leave through the police
cordon in a way that nobody else on the day had been able to do.
Just to come on to a couple of questions about what actually happened
in relation to a number of things, such as the availability of
water, such as the availability of toilets, such as the warnings
that were issued on the day and, also, the ability of people to
leave through the police cordon. In the evidence that the Metropolitan
Police Service gave to the MPA, there were, I think, some fairly
categoric statements about water being available, toilets being
freely available, small numbers of people being allowed to leave
through the police cordon and warnings being issued to the crowd
about the action the police were about to take. My evidence, as
submitted in the report that you have received, is that water
(certainly when we were requesting it) was not available; toilets
were not available after a certain time because the police cordon
had moved forward and they were then behind the cordon; there
was no evidence that I could provide of anyone that we had asked
to be allowed to leave through the police cordon to be allowed
to leave, and there was evidence that warnings were not being
issued beforeand I personally saw itthe crowd were
being charged by the police. How does that tally with the evidence
that was provided by the MPS to the MPA?
Commander Broadhurst: I think,
sir, given that, again, I wrote the report and I stand by what
I wrote in the report, everything in the report is factual. Again,
having learnt the lessons from 2001 and the containment in Oxford
Circus, one of the recommendations from that was that if police
use that tactic on a large-scale again they should ensure toilets
and water are provided. So through the City of London Corporation
we did just that. They were put into Lombard Street at a given
time. I was not aware, until you told me afterwards, sir, that
that had moved back a bit so they were no longer available. People
were let through cordons and warnings were given.
Q393 Tom Brake: How many people were
let through the cordon?
Commander Broadhurst: We do not
keep a note of that, I am afraid, Chairman. Bear in mind there
were five cordons. A sizeable number of people were allowed through.
If I can just finish, it comes back to, I think, the confusion
of any public order situation. The lessons that I have taken awayand
we are already starting to act uponis, one, clearly, our
communications to the crowd were not good enough, so we need to
think: do we need to invest in dot matrix signs or louder PA systems
rather than just a hand-held megaphone that probably does not
reach too many people? That is an issue we need to look at. So,
for instance, we put water into Lombard Street. I have asked the
question: how would you have known if you were on the other side
of it? You probably would not. I accept that we need to get that
better. We need to get better, as we have said before, at identifying
those within the crowd who we think will cause us problems and
those who are wholly innocent. I have read, again, some very factual
reports from your report, sir, where people have come up and said:
"I'm epileptic, can you let me out?" The Bronze Commander's
view was: if everybody comes up and says: "I suffer from
this, that or the other condition", how do we know? We need
a better way of filtering people out so that we can actually manage
that. We need a better way of communicating to the officers at
the front of the cordonsthe very ones who have been the
subject of assault, abuse and everything elsethat they
get the message from me. For instance, at one stage I was told
that members of the press could not get out. That actually came
through to us in the control room; the message I got back was:
"Please let them out if they are bona fide press."
That message takes a long, long time to get down to the front
line. Again, I think your experience was officers at this end
of the cordon interpret "discretion" in one way and
officers at this end in another. That is for us to get into in
our training. Again, I only have these two days a year and most
of the training is around techniques and using cordons, etc. We
do not do enough around the softer issues of speaking to crowds,
etc. I accept that is more work for us to do.
Q394 Tom Brake: Thank you. Can I
make a recommendation that when the MPS do provide evidence to
organisations like the MPA that that evidence is, perhaps, more
caveated than is the case, because my experience was not what
you have just described in terms of the police cordonthe
way they were operatingthe availability of water and the
availability of toilets. In terms of credibility it has got to
be not quite as black and white in terms of its presentation.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Chairman,
if I may say, the commissioning of Sir Denis O'Connor to actually
review the tactic is not necessarily designed to lead to the result
that containment is bad; actually, it may well be how do we improve
containment, if that is the appropriate tactic and we are not
going to move towards this distancing approach. Those lessons
are about signage and they are about communications to the crowd
but, critically, I think, Commander Broadhurst has raised a real
issue (and you have raised a real issue) and that is how do we
get the message through so that officers can with discretion let
the right people through? That is extraordinarily difficult, and
we need to work harder on that.
Bob Russell: Commissioner and Commander,
this is the second session we have had where the term "kettling"
or "kettle" has been used. I find it offensive. I do
not know where the term has come from. The police have stated
it is not terminology they use. I wonder if, first of all, you
could tell us what your terminology is and, perhaps, the London
Evening Standard can run a competition to get a British-sounding
terminology for this type of police operation.
Chairman: Are you implying that "kettle"
is not a British term?
Q395 Bob Russell: It is something,
Chairman, that in my many, many years in public life, and as a
former court reporter, I have never heard of until relatively
recently. So I am just wondering where the term came from.
Sir Paul Stephenson: It is not
a term we use; it is not a term we favour; weand I think
it is in the ACPO manualuse the term "containment",
and that is what we will continue to use because that accurately
describes what the tactic is.
Q396 Ms Buck: Can I ask you about
some of the evidence we have received from representatives of
the NUJ, which is that journalists were told, on the evidence
that was given to us: "You can go or you will be arrested.
You can come back in half-an-hour." Do you regret that that
side of the management was, perhaps, not done in a way that did
not keep the media with you, in the first instance? Do you accept
that that is an accurate version of events?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I will pass
on to Commander Broadhurst, but I think, as I have already said,
Bob has already given an example of how officers on the front
line were, perhaps, not responding as precisely as Bob would have
intended to respond, in terms of letting journalists through.
Commander Broadhurst: Just to
tell you, on the allegation itself, clearly, if that was someone's
experience then I accept it. I would say probably the officers
would have a different version of what they said and what they
did. Coincidentally, I spent a rather feisty afternoon yesterday
in front of the NUJ and their photographers, many of whom had
been at G20, and I think they are absolutely right. We do not
set out to cause difficulties for journalists or photographers
or anybody else; it is in our interests that things are reported
and reported accurately. However, I come back to the point, if
you look at any of the images, our officers were faced, sometimes,
by more photographers and journalists than protesters, which they
find very, very confusing. When they are told: "You can let
journalists out", a lot of people will come up with a camera
and say: "I'm a journalist", and they have not got a
press pass; they might be working for a protest organisation,
a college or universityit matters not. I got into quite
an embroiled debate with the journalists yesterday. Certainly
my view is, and I am sure the view of the Metropolitan Police
is, that we support journalists in doing their job. We try to
give them facilities. However, when there is a disorderly situation
they have no more right than the ordinary citizen to come through
all our cordons.
Q397 Ms Buck: Can you also clarify
for me, because constituents have been in contact with me about
G20, that you would not seek to use powers available to you under
counter-terrorism legislation to prevent photographers from taking
Commander Broadhurst: Not at all.
In fact, I make it quite clear at all briefings that we try never
to confuse our counter-terrorist/anti-terrorist powers with our
public order powers, and that goes to stop-and-search and section
44 as well.
Q398 Gwyn Prosser: We took evidence
from Sir Hugh Orde and he told us the value of using the Parades
Commission prior to demonstrations and how effective it was in
taking the heat and hostility out of those events. Would either
of you favour the adoption of a similar strategy or similar commission
throughout the UK?
Sir Paul Stephenson: I will let
Bob answer for himself. I wonder, ratherI know these are
serious matterswhether, on mainland UK, that would be a
sledgehammer to crack a nut. The vast majority of demonstrations
and parades that we deal with we deal with responsibly; we have
organisers who tell us what they intend to do and we police it
very well. To actually put that under an additional constraint,
I think, would be an unnecessary constraint. The difficulty we
have is when, on a very small number of occasions, we have organisers
who are not willing to share with us their intentions, so that
we can do something to facilitate their peaceful protest. I am
not entirely sure we are comparing apples with apples there. I
have worked in Northern Ireland, on the Garvaghy Road on Drumcree
back in 1992 in a very significant public disorder situation.
It was (and, perhaps, still is) a different world and not one
that we can compare directly with our streets.
Commander Broadhurst: I fully
agree with that. As I said earlier on, in the vast majority of
protests/demonstrations/marches that we deal with, we have organisers
who come to us, they tell us what they want to do, we negotiate
and then we facilitate whatever it is. Generally, they go exceedingly
well. That is what happened on 1 April. Where we have issues are
where we have nobody to talk to. Whether you had a Parades Commission
or not, anarchists, by their very nature, would not talk to anybody
in authorityotherwise they would not be anarchists. I do
have some issues with Climate Camp. Whilst I accept that they
are a peaceful organisation, and I understand what they are trying
to achieve, they will not put forward organisers because they
say they are a non-hierarchical organisation where nobody makes
decisions, which then gives me huge problems in trying to find
out, as happened on 1 April, what they intend to do and where
they intend to do it. They sometimes confuse being peaceful with
Chairman: A final question on a non-G20
Q399 Mr Winnick: Commissioner, your
immediate predecessor had an agenda to do whatever could be done
to encourage black, Asian and women into the force. Does that
remain your objective, and how successful do you believe you will
be over a period of time?
Sir Paul Stephenson: Absolutely.
I think the organisationand I am on record as saying that,
Mr Winnickhas made very significant progress since the
Macpherson report, but there is much more yet to be done. We have
seen significant improvements in our recruiting; last year, I
think, the percentage of new recruits into policingthat
is new recruitsran at something like just over 16% from
black and minority ethnic communities. That is light years away
from where we were 10 years ago. Our target is in excess of 25%
from black and minority ethnic communities in our next recruiting
round. Similarly, we are trying to improve the position of women,
which again has improved dramatically. On recruiting we have made
great strides forward, but there is more to do. Similarly, there
is more to do in how we treat people once inside the force; how
do we ensure that all our processes and systems allow people to
access not only advancement in a vertical sense but, also, in
a lateral sense. I think you cannot police London without understanding
Mr Winnick: Thank you very much.
Q400 Chairman: Have you dealt with
all the outstanding cases that were brought against the Met as
far as racial discrimination was concerned? Is that all now sorted
out, because we do not read about them any more?
Sir Paul Stephenson: There will
always be ongoing issues because people have a right to bring
employment tribunals. I think it would be inappropriate for me
to comment on high profile cases. There is one very high profile
case outstanding, but I think the other high profile case is now
Q401 Chairman: Do you think we will
have a black Commissioner some day in London?
Sir Paul Stephenson: It is not
for me to comment on, but certainly not for the next four years
because I intend to be here.
Chairman: We are very pleased you are
Mr Winnick: We will believe it when we
Q402 Chairman: On behalf of the Committee
could I thank both you, Commander Broadhurst, and you, Commissioner,
for coming here. I am sure that you will be back in the future,
as we have always dealt very courteously with your office, and
we wish you the very best of luck in your term as Commissioner.
Sir Paul Stephenson: Thank you