Court finds police kettling was unlawful

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The Independent Online

The use by police of controversial kettling tactics at the London G20 protests in 2009 has been declared unlawful by the High Court.

Judges said the tactic, which contains demonstrators in a small area, was too inflexible and violent for dealing with protesters at the Camp for Climate Action part of the demo.

Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Mr Justice Sweeney were also critical of the police's policy and training for the use of riot shields. The Metropolitan Police immediately announced it would appeal.

Human rights lawyers said the ruling required an "immediate change to police attitudes and tactics". They denounced kettling as "unacceptable" in a democracy.

The case was brought by Hannah McClure, a student, and Josh Moos, a campaigner for Plane Stupid, who had challenged the legality of the "violent" restraint methods used against them on the day that Ian Tomlinson died after being struck by a police officer at a separate protest nearby.

Police claimed the kettling was justified because they feared violent demonstrators at the Royal Exchange would "hijack" the more peaceful climate camp. A Met spokesman said the judgment applied to one protest and should not be regarded as a blanket ban on kettling. "Where necessary, we will continue to use containment as a last resort to prevent serious disorder and violence," he said.