Police chief condemns G20 officers for removing ID tags

Stephenson criticises Met's policing of demonstration

The actions of some police officers at the G20 protests were "unacceptable", according to both the Met Commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, and the man leading the investigation into police tactics.

Sir Paul said it was "absolutely unacceptable" that some officers covered or removed their identity shoulder tags during the protests.

Denis O'Connor, the new Chief Inspector of Constabulary, called for an immediate end to the practice. Mr O'Connor, appearing before the Commons Home Affairs Committee, contrasted alleged police brutality against protesters to the heroism shown by the south London constable Gary Toms, who died last week after he was run down by a getaway car.

"When you see something that does not square with that noble cause, it is disappointing and hugely concerning," Mr O'Connor said. "My concern was obviously about the individual incidents where officers, on the face of it, appeared to break with their colleagues and assault people."

The Home Affairs Committee confirmed that it would hold its own inquiry into the G20 policing, as The Independent disclosed yesterday. It plans to publish its report in June, alongside Mr O'Connor's initial conclusions on the tactics used by police.

Mr O'Connor admitted that seeing images of protester Nicola Fisher being struck across the face by an officer made him "very uncomfortable". He added: "I would expect police officers in public order and other situations to wear their numbers so the public can identify them. It acts as a good check and balance for all parties in the situation."

More evidence of police brutality emerged yesterday: a video posted on YouTube showed a young, female protester being pushed in the face by an officer. The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is conducting three investigations into G20 policing, examining the death of Ian Tomlinson, the treatment of Ms Fisher and a complaint from an unnamed 23-year-old man.

Yesterday, Police Federation chairman Peter Smith accused IPCC chairman Nick Hardwick of running a witch-hunt against G20 officers and depicted him as a "grandstanding anti-police campaigner". "Keen, apparently, to don the mantle of witchfinder general, Mr Hardwick discusses some selective aspects of G20 and passes lofty and withering judgment on London's police officers," he said.

Yesterday, as more footage emerged of alleged police brutality, the IPCC failed to secure an injunction to prevent Channel 4 News from broadcasting fresh pictures of events preceding Mr Tomlinson's death. Originally intended to be screened yesterday, the report is now scheduled to be shown tonight.

The IPCC said yesterday that a third post-mortem would be carried out on Mr Tomlinson, who died minutes after being pushed to the ground by an officer. The first post-mortem concluded that he died from a heart attack, but a second examination certified the cause of death as abdominal bleeding.

Mr O'Connor admitted to concerns about the use of "kettling", a tactic deployed by police during the G20 protests to restrict the movement of protesters. It meant that some people caught up in the protests on their way home from work were prevented from leaving for many hours, while those penned in were denied access to food and drink. He said the tactic posed obvious problems when used "inflexibly", and his investigation would be examining how it was applied during the G20 summit. Tom Brake, a Liberal Democrat member of the committee, released a video showing police preventing a journalist from leaving the "kettle".

MPs also raised concerns over so-called "distraction tactics", which allow officers to strike anyone who they believe is acting violently. Nick Hardwick, head of the IPCC, said that the term was a "euphemism" and that support for the technique may have to be looked at as officers could not be blamed for deploying a tactic they had been trained to use. The Police Federation accused him of conducting a witch-hunt against G20 officers.

The Home Office minister Lord West defended G20 police. "I think we should be extremely proud of them," he said.

He did not want to "excuse" any "criminal acts" under investigation, he said, but insisted that British police tactics were better than "water cannon, baton rounds or shooting people - all of which seem to occur in some other countries".

Lord West, speaking in the House of Lords, added: "Thousands of officers acted absolutely professionally and proportionately, thousands were actually able to demonstrate peacefully on our streets, criminal activity in the rest of the metropolis was kept to an absolute minimum and the police also maintained high levels of security.

"And I think we should be extremely proud of them. This does not excuse acts which are criminal and there are now investigations taking place for those particulars.

"But in general I think we are very well-served by our police. I am very proud of them and the way I approach it generally is they are on our side and they are our people."

A policeman has been interviewed under caution on suspicion of Mr Tomlinson's manslaughter.

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck stars as prime suspect Nick Dunne in the film adaptation of Gone Girl
filmBen Affleck and Rosamund Pike excel in David Fincher's film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
News
people
News
i100
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel, Chandler and Ross try to get Ross's sofa up the stairs in the famous 'Pivot!' scene
tv
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments