Friday, June 09, 2006

Flags and police everywhere

In London on Wednesday afternoon, there were flags and policemen everywhere, community officers too, police dogs and police horses as well.

It seemed at first to be like a police state, so many policemen were to be seen, but it turned out that they were preparing for a pageant from the Queen, The Beating of the Retreat. It was a nice day for the police to be out and about, in the parks, standing around chatting to each other, helping the tourists finding their way around, answering questionsfrom people about why there were so many police around.

This would be less than a week after the Forest Gate fiasco, where they stormed a house with 250 officers in search of bomb making equipment, having received 'some' intelligence. Nothing was found, but worst of all, one of the suspects was actually shot (presumably by a police officer). A typical row ensues about the tactics and behaviour of the police. I am off the opinion that accidents will happen, but there should not be too many of them. On the other hand, the police do have a duty to protect the public against terrorism and crime and have a job to do. As someone said yesterday, their behaviour needs to be proportionate to the danger and possible crime. 250 against 2 did seem excessive.

Having spent the three hours in Central London on Wednesday and seeing a police or community officer every 20 yards or so, it is quite a surprise to hear that people want even MORE police. Maybe the answer is not more police but better police practices, although that is easier said than done.


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