From the archive: What if the police and public united?
This blog is more me thinking aloud.
I am writing this blog for the public. For the people wanting to rise up and make a stand against the UK Government. For the people who plan to attend one of the many anti-austerity marches this year.
I am also writing this for the police officers who are tasked with policing these marches. Police officers who can relate to many of those marching having spent the last five years seeing their own pay, working conditions, pensions and living conditions being hacked away by the Tories. Police officers who have nothing more than their strong sense of duty preventing them opening the cordon and letting the crowd through the gates of Downing Street. Officers who are doing their duty but some of whom I know for a fact want to be part of the march but would face certain dismissal and possible criminal charges if they did so.
Both sides are against the austerity being inflicted upon the nation. Both sides are suffering various levels of pain at the hands of this tyrannical government. Both sides (with perhaps a few exceptions) did not want the Tories back in power. Both side have a common enemy but will, over the course of the year, end up going head to head in battle on the streets of London and dare I say other major cities.
The protesters will march. The police will march and contain.
The protesters will increase their numbers and try and break containment. The police will increase their cordons.
The protesters will begin to venture off track. The police will begin to kettle.
The protesters will begin pushing and shoving. The police will begin pushing and shoving too.
Things will get thrown, batons will get drawn. Police will get hit, protesters will get hit.
The police will use the media to claim the protesters were thugs and violent. The protesters will use social media to claim the police were thugs and violent.
Protesters will be caught on camera breaking the law and face justice. Police will be caught on camera breaking the law and they too will face justice.
Both sides will take casualties. Public property will get damaged. Innocents will get caught in the fracas and they too will get injured by either side.
And whilst all of this goes on and the public pick a side and begin condemning the other, the common enemy, the people responsible for this uprising, the people who hide behind the police officers’ strong sense of duty whilst simultaneously attacking both warring factions will sit in their fortresses laughing at the chaos in the streets below but vehemently condemn in front of the camera.
The Government will condemn the protesters and deny they were responsible in any way for the public dissent. The Government will criticise the police for their slow response time, their lack of resources, their lack of equipment and the actions they took. They set the two sides against each other then sit back and attack them both again and again… and we let it happen time and time again.
These protest which we are seeing and will continue to see in increasing numbers and strength are directed toward the same Government, the same enemy that the police have faced for the last five years but have been prevented by law from doing anything about it or to protest in any way.
The difficulty is that the police are sworn to protect ALL person and ALL property without showing any favour to either side. You may argue that by stopping the protesters reaching their targets and by using force against the protesters that they are showing favour towards the enemy. However, I assure you that if the Tories were to suddenly man up and come outside of their fortresses and try to get at the protesters, if they decided to stop hiding behind their fences and the duty of the police and try to fight back, the police would 100% absolutely stop them too. They would use force where necessary and would make arrests for any crimes they committed. That is because although I am sure the vast majority would love to see David Cameron or George Osborne get given a slap or a bit of a beating, they MUST act without fear or favour and protect each person (even their own enemy) from danger… That is the nature of police work and that is what they are duty bound to do. To do any different, to step aside and us gain access to Downing St, Westminster Palace, Tory HQ or any other Government building would guarantee they got the sack and faced criminal charges for neglect of duty and misconduct. They would absolutely face greater convictions than any single protester.
So why not box clever and rather than play the games of our enemy, rather than go to war with each other, rather than protesting against austerity, cuts and the Tory tyranny but then attacking physically and verbally other victims of this regime, co-operate and protest in an alternative manner?
What does/has attacking police with barriers, cones, bricks, rocks, sticks and smoke bombs achieved for the cause?
What has punching, kicking, elbowing, headbutting, baton striking or spraying protesters achieved for the police?
Both sets of actions have simply brought both parties into disrepute and seen them facing public criticism and legal action. Counter productive and does nothing to alter the course we are heading. Nor does it have any impact upon the common enemy, David Cameron and the Tory party.
The police are absolutely NOT going to engage in violent protest. But imagine the impact it would have on WORLD media and the Government if the police stood amongst or side by side with rather then surrounding or kettling the protesters.
If the protests remained friendly and non-violent with nothing being thrown, nothing being burned, nothing being damaged and no reason or excuse given for the police to draw their batons or begin cordoning or kettling then the exact same message could be expressed without the enemy and it’s media being able to criticise anybody at all.
It isn’t only the protesters who would need to make a change in their actions and attitudes. The police would need to recognise that these men and women are marching and protesting against something they too have been victim of for half a decade. They would need to be a little more tolerant and understanding and recognise that these people represent them and their grievances too. That these people are doing what the police have been wanting to do for five years but have been prevented from doing so by law. To remain calm and use alternative methods of policing the marches and dare I say, question orders given to the contrary.
A simple gesture such as standing together facing the Government buildings rather than the crowd would show a participation, a protest without actually “protesting”. A sign of defiance against the Government and solidarity with the community NOT the enemy. The police officers policing these events would need to stand together as one in their actions. They can’t sack or discipline everybody after all.
John Lennon said:
“When it gets down to having to use violence the you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you; pull your beard, flick your face to make you fight [they will use the presence of the Police to do this that is what you all need to recognise] Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humour”
These protests would have so much more impact if the public recognise the restraints placed upon the police and the fact that THEY CAN NOT ALLOW THE LAW TO BE BROKEN NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY MAY DESPISE THE GOVERNMENT. The police also need to recognise that the public partaking in these protests only want the same as you. Fairness, equality and the Tory scum out of power. BOTH sides need to accept that those responsible for the austerity are the ones fuelling the violence and the moment either side resort to aggression the Government has won again.
The public is the police and the police is the public. Uniting as one would have unquestionable impact.
Courtesy of Snapper at Snapper-Chat
Picture: TSG Police Line Student Protests – Parliament Square, Westminster 2010. Credit: Bob Bob via Wikimedia Commons.
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