Written Evidence |
1. Letter from the Chair, to Assistant Commissioner
Allison, Metropolitan Police Service, 20 December 2010
Thank you for providing evidence on 14 December on
the policing of the student protests in November and December
2010. I am writing to follow-up on a number of issues, some of
which I raised at the end of the session. I have set these questions
out below. I would be grateful if you could respond to them by
close of play on Monday 24 January 2011.
1. You told us that on 9 December the containment
strategy was used on protestors in Parliament Square until around
9pm when the remaining demonstrators were moved to Westminster
Bridge. You also told us that containment was used as a last
resort after disorder broke out. I would be grateful if you could
provide us with more detail on the decision making process, in
(a) The degree of disorder and the attendant
risk to public safety which triggered the decision to use the
(b) How the commanding officer determined that
containment was a necessary and proportionate response to that
(c) Whether advice on human rights issues was
taken by the commanding officer prior to making that decision,
and/or had the decision-making officer had training on human rights
and the right to protest?
(d) Why it was necessary to contain demonstrators
for as long as 7 hours?
(e) Whether the necessity of the maintaining
the containment tactic was regularly reviewed during this time?
Can you provide us with evidence to show that these regular reviews
2. You told us during the evidence session that officers
communicated with those demonstrators on 9 December who were being
contained in Parliament Square including through the use of a
"warning and informing" tannoy system. The representatives
of the National Union of Students and the National Campaign Against
Fees and Curts told us that communications were not received by
(a) Please provide more detail on the "warning
and informing" tannoy system used;
(b) What steps were taken by you to ensure that
communications were received throughout the contained crowd, and
to facilitate supplementary information being provided by stewards
and marshals, if any.
(c) What were those being contained told by the
(i) the reasons for the containment,
(ii) the likely duration of the containment,
(iii) access to facilities and how to exit the
containment? What other information was communicated to the contained
3. During the evidence session Mr Porter of the National
Union of Students questioned what efforts had been made by the
police to gather information on demonstrators that had caused
trouble during the demonstrations on 10, 24 and 30 November and
how this information was used to police the demonstrations on
9 December. Can you explain what intelligence was gathered on
those expected to be participating on the demonstrations on 9
December and how this informed the policing strategy on this date?
4. The Association of Chief Police Offices' guidelines
on the policing of protest state that during demonstrations batons
should only be used in a reasonable and proportionate manner by
officers. Can you comment on whether the use of batons on 9 December
was both reasonable and proportionate and provide evidence for
your view? Is there any more specific guidance about how batons
should be used, e.g. are there any specific instructions that
officers using batons should attempt to avoid blows to the heads
5. There have been reports that a disabled demonstrator
was pulled from his wheelchair by police officers on 9 December.
Is specific guidance and training available for officers on the
treatment of disabled demonstrators during protests?
6. You described to us an "active advance"
made by mounted officers on 24 November to disperse demonstrators,
but told us that no such advance was used on 9 December. Can
you comment on suggestions that mounted officers approached those
contained in Parliament Square on 9 December at a fast pace and
explain the purpose of the advance in this case, given that the
demonstrators were already contained and so had nowhere to move
You described the "active advance"
as an ACPO-approved tactic. Is there any specific guidance on
when and how it should be deployed?
I thank you again for providing evidence to the Committee
and encourage you to include any further information you feel
would be helpful to the Committee in your reply.
20 December 2010
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