Puzzled by Police 169


I have just been watching live BBC helicopter footage of a group of young criminals attempting over a long period to break into a bookmakers and other businesses in (I think) Hackney. Police in full riot gear were just down the street, watching and making no attempt to disperse them.

I have been on perfectly peaceful demonstrations and been pushed around by policemen acting far more aggressively – and in hugely greater numbers – against non-violent protestors than they are reacting against violent criminals against whom, frankly, the police should be reacting with force; proportionate, but force.

Very hard to understand this at all.


169 thoughts on “Puzzled by Police

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  • Jaded.

    Because the world stinks maybe? And talking of stinky sides are you on late shifts this week or something? Over and out Tel Aviv. 🙂

  • Jonangus Mackay

    Only a few months ago the driving of vehicles at high speed into troublesome Cairo crowds was greeted in this country with horror.
    .
    I see that Vikram Dodd of the Guardian quotes the Met as having employed with success this ‘new tactic’ in Lavender Hill tonight with armoured vehicles. Not a new tactic, Mr Dodd.
    .
    Has been in the little-known ACPO Public Order Manual for decades — in a numbered list just above ‘live fire.’
    .

  • Jonangus Mackay

    Things must have reached a pretty pass when anarchists are to be found restraining arsonists. I note that tweeter @Anomie77, ‘web developer, anarcho-autonomist & father,’ says: ‘Anarchists were present in Hackney stopping youths starting fires in local shops & putting them out.’

  • Clark

    Yes Angrysoba. My opinions are worthless, like those of most people here. Keep on at me and maybe you’ll make me fuck off. Or maybe you’ll just succeed in making me hate you, or maybe hate myself, or everyone. People don’t need hope or a sense of value, because they’re nothing more than machines.

  • mary

    Don’t let him get to you Clark. Your summary was spot on. We are all saddened by the recent events and by what is happening to our country which we love and to our world. Tired and fearful too I guess.

  • angrysoba

    Clark, your opinions are not worthless IMHO, I’m just trying to warn against confirmation bias. I sometimes get the impression that when anything like this happens everyone has already sussed out the reason why it happened immediately. Those pre-disposed to the agent provocateur angle will believe that. Those who pre-disposed to see cuts will blame that. Nick Griffin is blaming immigration as he was bound to do because of what he is pre-disposed towards etc… etc…
    .
    I just happen to think that these are “magic bullet” explanations, but that is merely my opinion.

  • angrysoba

    Angrysoba, you know how Uri Geller breaks spoons, don’t you?

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    I think he just snaps them when no one’s looking but I could be wrong.

  • Clark

    Yeah, you’re wrong. Funny about being wrong. It’s so much easier than being right. Same principle as the second law of thermodynamics. We’re all looking at this all wrong. We don’t need an explanation for looting. We need an explanation for its usual absence.

  • Frazer

    I thought I worked and lived in some of the most dangerous spots on the planet.
    Watching what is happening in the UK makes me want to sell up and move to nice peaceful Afghanistan.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Yes, thanks very much to Jon, who, at considerable personal risk, has been a roving reporter of the night’s events in Birmingham. Well done, Jon. Now get some kip!
    .
    Uri Geller – everything about him seems to yell, “Charlatan!” I mean, would you buy a used dinner-set from this man?
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    “We don’t need an explanation for looting. We need an explanation for its usual absence.” Clark.
    .
    Yes. As I said, looting during riots seems to be central – and no surprises there. As many have pointed out, the City of London and the ruling classes have been looting the people of this – and many other – countries for years, and esp. since 2008, so the only thing that is ironic – though again, not unusual in such riots – is the lack of physical attack on the financial City of London itself. If the City of London – the shining towers of global capital – were attacked and if the police were unable to hold the line, the Government most definitely would send in the troops. We would see tanks deployed on the streets of London (again – remember Heathrow?). But these riots do not seem to be part of a political movement, so, like all of those that went before, they will occur and then will fizzle out. There will be an inquiry, chaired by a Lord, which will reach obvious conclusions, three years later. And from the mandarins and the flunkies, as the Royal Family tours the aftermath of the Blitz, shaking hands and looking serious, we will hear statesmanlike words, such as, “We’re all in it together!”. No, we’re fucking well not.

  • conjunction

    Suhayl, I think you have summed up the debate fairly well, escept for one thing. We have had similar riots before, Bristol, Toxteth etc. But as far as I remember, those could be dealt with by community iniatives, Michael Heseltine donning an apeskin and doing walkabouts, lots of hand on heart liberal media interest which makes everyone feel just a bit cared for.
    .
    That’s going to be difficult this time, because just like the financial crisis, everything is so stretched. I am very curious as to what Cameron is going to say – he will say something, eventually – because they may not have given him the right script at Eton.

  • angrysoba

    We don’t need an explanation for looting. We need an explanation for its usual absence.

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    Because the conditions for opportunistic looting aren’t always there?
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    This lady is disgusted by the looting and is clearly infuriated that the looters are exploiting the death of Mark Duggan for their own benefit.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SHKhvVjLIc

  • ingo

    Cobra will have to consider, whether to

    1)bring in the army, the police is exhausted and can’t cope
    2)to interfere in the phone network and stopp coordination amongst rioters,
    2a) declare a curfew from 7-7pm. (this one would get people shot)
    3)prioritise what to defend first, people, minsteries, the Olympic site? airports.
    4) appeal to parents to stop their kids going out.
    5) dispend with the stockmarket for above reasons 😉 for a day.

    Developers are rubbing their hands at some of the inner city properties that have been torched, for them there’s opportunity in this mayhem.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    “This is the most arcane of uprisings and the most modern. Its participants, marshalled by Twitter, are protagonists in a sinister flipside to the Arab Spring. The Tottenham summer, featuring children as young as seven, is an assault not on a regime of tyranny but on the established order of a benign democracy. One question now hangs over London’s battle-torn high streets. How could this ever happen?” Mary Riddell, The Telegraph.
    .
    This reminds me of, “Why do they hate us?” Mary Riddell, where in God’s name have you, and those of your ilk, been for the past decades? (Answer: At Chipping Norton champers parties with Rupert Murdoch). This is the extent and depth of the psychosis of denial and also the panoply and flannel of propaganda. “A benign democracy…”??? Good Lord! Give the woman a cup of tea and dose of LSD!
    .
    Conjunction, aye, good point, point taken, thanks very much.
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    There will be troops on the streets and curfews, the senior cops and politicians are already talking about it.

  • Mark

    How many deaths reported in these recent events besides the police execution in Tottenham? None? Anyone who isn’t a well connected millionaire and lives in the Met area will know the police are not there to serve or protect them. I remember a few years ago driving past Biggin Hill airport during a nationwide climate protest. There were about five protesters, seven members of the fourth estate and at least fifty or sixty police officers making sure the private planes of our spendid elite were able to fly unimpeded. I was on my way to court as a witness to an assault. After said assault I had called police and was told they were too busy to deal with it. It took several calls and dogged persistence to get the case to court. Meanwhile, our politicians, whilst taking a break from doing deals with tax dodging corps have mustered the courage to condemn the rioters whilst they praise the work of our boys bombing the shit out of Libyan children. It’s all to with context.

  • sid

    [Mod/jon – sorry Sid, collateral damage – let’s not divert to Larry’s favourite topic here!]

  • ingo

    Somehow don’t think there are going to be any late shopping hours in London for this christmas. Full on riot proof shutters will become a hot seller.

    Now this will be used to stop any large gatherings in future, unless they are announced and OK’d.
    What is astonishing is the agility of the rioters, the use of IT/phone networks to organise and hit anarchic without much leadership, chaotic cells.

    Many people were seen to be on the phone, talking to others, so how can one single out these very busy numbers,in and around these riot sites, gather their info and block them for 12 hours?
    All phones can be located the technology exists to take them off line, is there a programm that does this at speed? tracks and displays those numbers and find patterns?

    All the fires, with high winds fanning them, could combine in a firestorm if these idiots are allowed to carry on like this, they have to throw manpower at this and fast. The fire fighters must be tired and in need of a rest, what utter breakdown. This should make it clear to every politician that unemployment in young years can be very dangerous to society, it is important to engage with young school leavers as they walk out of 6th form, there must be jobs to go to, even if that means lowering the pension age.

    I would suggest that some space is made somewhere for these prisoners to come, abandoned quarters of sorts, I feel if they are in a single place, all together, they start feeling good about themselves.

    But how can one ever address this in society?

  • Parky

    It’s all very well going on about what needs to be done now, stick a plaster on the wound and carry on, the damage has been done over the past thirty or so more years and no amount of posturing today is going to fix it overnight. I’m surprised it has actually taken so long for something like this to occur and I thought 2010 would be the year of reckoning. Maybe the election (held at the very latest Brown thought he could wing it) delayed it. Regarding laws of nature it is Newtons third law that states every action has an equal and opposite reaction and now we have the result of social exclusion, consumerism as a new religion and the breakdown of state and family. Now the genie is out of thew bottle and these kids have found they have power, don’t expect it to go back in. We reap what we sow.

  • mary

    Suhayl Is Mary Riddell related to or connected to Peter Riddell of Gibson Detainees inquiry fame?
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    Angry ‘I sometimes get the impression that when anything like this happens everyone has already sussed out the reason why it happened immediately.’
    Yes that is because we live here and you (and Larry) don’t so we know what is going on and what the agenda is. We have already had Patrick Mercer saying this morning ‘If the police think that they don’t have enough powers, then we will have to think about….. ‘ and then offered alternatives. Mercer is a war hawk.

  • angrysoba

    “Yes that is because we live here and you (and Larry) don’t so we know what is going on and what the agenda is.”
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    Right but a lot of people who live there seem to disagree on what The Agenda is.

  • John Goss

    Guest. That puts a whole different slant on things. We were led to believe that the bullet which lodged in a policeman’s radio had come from the car, not from another policeman.

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