As a young, black, liberal-minded police officer serving the community of London, I was appalled to see the violence directed against colleagues and friends who policed the 'peaceful' demonstration against the Criminal Justice Bill last Sunday.

From the television coverage alone (without speaking to anyone who policed the march to cloud my judgement), it was obvious to me that an intolerable amount of vicious and intense violence was used against police officers by a hard core of what can only be described as rent-a-thugs. These nasty, bitter and twisted yobs hijacked a legitimate and harmless demonstration by a wide cross-section of society, whose sole aim, I'm sure, was to exercise their democratic right to protest against a Bill before Parliament. The yobs were out to further their own perverse, anarchistic aims, ie, to force a violent confrontation with police and undermine the value of the excellent bridge-building dialogue that continues between London's police service and the many and diverse communities of the capital.

The whining and whingeing protestations of so-called experts and social and political observers, condemning out-of-hand police tactics without analysing the visual evidence, is deplorable. It is about time the police-bashing seen in certain sections of the media recently was challenged and a few unpleasant truths were faced.

I have policed two previous anti-Criminal Justice Bill demonstrations and on both occasions I was spat on, punched, kicked, and verbally taunted with phrases such as coconut (meaning 'black on the outside, white on the inside'), black traitor and white man's nigger - all this from white adults who complain about the police race relations record and a lack of black police officers. Not once did I retaliate. Not one arrest did I make.

Like many officers on duty on these occasions I just had to grin and bear it.' It's just part of your job', 'You should expect it from time to time. After all, what are you paid all that money for?' is the response we would receive from self-styled experts and social commentators. Well I'm afraid you'd all better wake up to reality. No amount of money justifies the level of violence and provocation faced by police on Sunday.

I, for one, would like to see the 'police bashers' stand in the protective 'thin blue line' and have bins, house bricks, CS gas and stakes with nails thrown directly at them.

How would they react? Would they just stand there and take it? After all, this is what they expect police to do.

Apart from the fact that not responding to violent and potentially life-threatening criminality sends out a message that this behaviour is acceptable and will go unpunished, it also undermines the whole purpose of the rule of law.

Besides this, whatever 'provocation' may have been seen by observers, there is no excuse for looting, assault and the throwing of missiles.

It is about time that the responsible people in our great nation supported the men and women of the police service, who lay their lives on the line for those they swear an oath to protect and serve - which, ironically, includes you.

Yours faithfully,

Jaiye Warwick

(Photograph omitted)