Police defend Dale Farm eviction tactics

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The Independent Online

Police defended their handling of the Dale Farm eviction operation today following violent showdowns on the site.

Officers faced claims they used "undue force" during angry clashes which saw Tasers used against two protesters and three arrests made.



But Superintendent Trevor Roe, of Essex Police, insisted his force treated those on site with "respect and dignity".



And he supported the use of a Taser gun during one angry confrontation.



"Serious violence was offered to a pair of officers in particular," he said.



"Their response was to protect themselves. They carry personal protective equipment which includes the Taser and they just naturally reacted as they are trained individuals to operate that device."



Acknowledging Tasers are not recommended as a "public order tactic", he added: "This was an isolated incident where officers were threatened directly."



And he insisted the officers involved were appropriately trained and understood their boundaries.



An inquiry will now be launched into issues of reasonable force during the operation which saw police pelted with bricks and some protesters urinating on officers.



Essex Police said the force was now in control of the site, describing the atmosphere as "calm" while tension had been "reduced".



"We haven't had many difficulties this morning," Supt Roe added.



"We treated everybody with respect and dignity and there's been a clear delineation between the travellers and the protesters this morning.



"The majority of the violence was clearly coming from the protesters as we understand it and obviously we have (had) to deal accordingly."



The police operation followed intelligence suggesting there would be "serious disorder" as officers stormed the site.



"A lot of missiles, fluids, objects and liquids had been stored," Supt Roe told reporters.



"Intelligence clearly suggested there was going to be a serious disorder if entry was made into the site.



"Based on that situation, and that information, the tactic was obviously to try and gain safe control of the site as soon as we could."

PA

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