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How should the police deal with protests?

11:08 UK time, Thursday, 11 November 2010

David Cameron has condemned the violence that broke out on Wednesday during protests over tuition fees. How should police handle protests in the future?

The prime minister said the clashes, in central London, which led to 35 arrests and 14 injuries, were "unacceptable" and has welcomed the decision to hold an inquiry into how the police handled the protest. The Met chief Sir Paul Stephenson called the events at the disturbance "an embarrassment" and said the Met should have been better prepared for the possibility of violence.

In the past there has been debate over the police's controversial "kettling" tactics to surround crowds. While following the G20 protests in London in 2009 a report by the inspector of constabulary Denis O'Connor said: "Police tactics had been far too focused on tackling violence... rather than facilitating peaceful protests."

How can police get the balance right to allow peaceful protest, but to prevent violence? What do you think of the way police prepared for and dealt with this protest? Should the police be more prepared to deal with violence in a protest? How should police handle protests in the future?

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Comments

Page 1 of 13

  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    How should the police deal with protests?

    By making sure they have enougfh officers policing them.

    Back in the day, when I used to go on Anti Criminal Justice Bill marches you knew that there would always be someone or some group that would try to hijack the peaceful protest.

    In my day the usual suspects tended to be blokes in 'socialist worker' t-shirts, who, presumably at some pre-arranged signal, would start throwing stuff at the police.

    This time round it was a group being described as 'anarchists'.

    The NUS must have known that someone would try to hijack their peaceful protest, and just going by sheer experience the police must have known it was likely too.

    Which has left me wondering whether the police weren't actually staging their own protest against the cuts , by making sure that this particular demonstration was completely under-policed. Just to make sure everybody knows what can happen when you cut police numbers....

  • Comment number 4.

    Put those who damaged property in gaol & send the bill for all repairs to the student union or deduct it from the education budget.

    Why should a penny of my hard earned money go to pay to "educate" that mindless lot?

    They are supposed to be the "leaders" of tomorrow. I question that, but they are definitely the scroungers of today. If you want an education, pay for it yourself.

  • Comment number 5.

    How should police deal with protests?
    Join them. "We are all in this together"

  • Comment number 6.

    Usually it's undercover police who start the violence, so that uniformed officers have an excuse to disperse the protests.


    It should not be a matter of "how to control protests", it should be more of a matter "how can we keep protests from happening?".


    If politicians actually listened to the demands of the public, protests wouldn't happen.

  • Comment number 7.

    If the dibbles had any sense they'd join the protesters!

    As it is the typical met officer remains stuck in the 'Love They Neighbour' culture of the 1970s.

    And as for Cameron describing yesterday's action by students as 'unacceptable, I think he'll find that most people consider his 'policies' evidence of unacceptable violence enacted against the population - worse than any government policy since WWII.

  • Comment number 8.

    Swiftly identify troublemakers, quickly arrest them and any others that obstruct the police. A jail sentence would bring them into reality and a ban from study at all universities would be make them realise that they have ruined their lives.

    Police have their hands tied when dealing with these political hooligans. More force, truncheons, water cannons and rubber bullets would make the protestors think twice.

    The protestors are just trainee loony-left HYS posters.

  • Comment number 9.

    I can see a return to 1980's policing of protests. There's always going to be a rogue element at any protest intent on causing damage & violence, it's this element that is going to make sure that our right to free peaceful protest is removed from us.

  • Comment number 10.

    The police just don't seem to take protests seriously. This is not the first time in the last few years that a protest has got out of hand. One student leader interviewed on Breakfast TV was totally uncaring about the damage to property and possible harm to people during this mindless attack. She said that all of us want an educated population, but couldn't see that some of those involved in the protest showed anything but education, and were more like a bunch of thugs. Maybe the police thought that university students, as supposedly educated persons would show some sort control, rather then turn into an ugly mob. I suggest that the police prepare for riots from all sections of society. It doesn't take much to turn an angry group of people into a herd of animals.

  • Comment number 11.

    The police really should have known there was a likelyhood of trouble, and ensured they had adequate officers to control the protest.
    That said, the students targeted the wrong headquarters - it should have been the Lib Dems, after all Nick Clegg was the traitor who let them down !

  • Comment number 12.

    Yes lets focus on the 'violence' instead of the reason the protest was on in the first place. Great work Dave.

  • Comment number 13.

    The type of police apathy on display yesterday just would not happen in other countries, where civil disobedience is treated with an iron fist. And quite rightly so. This is not the Police's fault, as they have been hamstrung by the spectre of the "sue everyone for everything" culture that we live in, driven by the H&S/PC-brigades.
    It was sad to see that the next generation is a bunch of foul, degenerate thugs & yobs. It was also tragic to see an emasculated Police Force on full display for the whole world to see, standing by as criminal offences were blatantly committed.
    The foul yobs did the student movement a huge disservice and any sympathy I felt for students and their cause evapourated very quickly. They could have easily self-policed the event.

  • Comment number 14.

    The police must always allow for peaceful protests but be prepared for the few that are willing to disrupt such protests to cause unrest, which i would have thought would be the fall back position anyway. However, while i don`t condone such actions by a few troublemakers, westminster must understand the level of anger that exists in this country at the duplicity of our politicians and the sense that those being punished are not those that created this problem.

  • Comment number 15.

    8. At 11:45am on 11 Nov 2010, Graham wrote:
    Swiftly identify troublemakers, quickly arrest them and any others that obstruct the police. A jail sentence would bring them into reality and a ban from study at all universities would be make them realise that they have ruined their lives.

    Police have their hands tied when dealing with these political hooligans. More force, truncheons, water cannons and rubber bullets would make the protestors think twice.

    The protestors are just trainee loony-left HYS posters

    ------

    They had their 'hands tied' because there 225 officers for 50,000 protesters, an estimated 500 of whom were involved in the violence.

    According to news reports, the police were actually ordered not to stop the protesters breaking into Tory HQ.

    Something was going on yesterday, and as i said earlier, I'm not sure that whovever planned the policing for this event wasn't making ther own protest about government cuts.

  • Comment number 16.

    The goverment was never going to let the police go in hard yesterday against a load of middle class future voters if yesteday had been public sector workers the police would have gone in hard and the left wing media would not be defending the protesters on the front pages this morning.

  • Comment number 17.

    Surely the police have case histories of protests through the ages from which to study and learn. Not all protests will be peaceful, nor violent. WIth increased fees to study, we are going to end up with our universities just full of rich British and overseas students at this rate...some progress. Good to see younger people protesting about something at least , just wish people generally, cared as much about wider issues .

  • Comment number 18.

    Lock up violent protestors. Charge them, give them a criminal record. If they are on benefits, as most of them probably are, cut off all of their benefits immediately. If they are at Uni, get them kicked out of Uni.

    We can't have thugs being violent on our streets. It's fine to protest peacefully but we should not stand for violence from these unwashed thugs.

  • Comment number 19.

    Send the repair bill to their parents

  • Comment number 20.

    The police should stop acting as the uniformed arm of the labour party and uphold the law. A good start would be to sack the head of the Met so the rest of them get the message.

    Turning to the students, I really have to laugh at the bleatings on here about the coalition government. First the left break the economy, then they smash up buildings in protest at someone trying to fix it again. Talk about throwing your toys around. At least the public got to see the mask of the left slip yet again. Strikes, riots, threats and violence, the standard tools of class war/SWP/Labour/UAF/New Labour, whatever you are calling yourselves nowadays

  • Comment number 21.

    From what I saw- a low of the touble makers presumably weren't actually students! Just people out for a riot/to cause trouble

    It is an interesting point Damian_Wayne (post 3) made. Maybe it was a subtle hint. Deffo makes you appreciate the police more.

    I saw an interesting post on Facebook about this:
    "[name] can't believe how bad the students are behaving, it's disgraceful... oh, it's the Tory headquarters?... as you were then!"

    Incidentally- anarchy in it's original form it's actually people disobeying laws/causing trouble. It is in fact an ideal society where no laws are needed. Or so I was taught anyhow!

  • Comment number 22.

    The general population would probably support the government AND the police if the present austerity measures were truly fair. As it is Cameron and his stooges are only in it for themselves and use the police as their enforcement henchmen - in much the same way the previous lot did. I have posted numerous times over the past 2/3 years that this once great country is edging towards civil war.

  • Comment number 23.

    I started marching during the hey-days of CND and the Committee of 100.It was always very peaceful. But then the rent-a-mob began to emerge and cause mayhem in some areas.
    The student protest march was overwhelmingly peaceful. But once again, a small bunch of Neanderthals decided to show their arm. There is never anyway the police can get the balance right when violence suddenly erupts like this. They are damned if they do and damned if they don't. And with all the cutbacks maybe we should get used to less police being available?
    " If you want an education then pay for it yourself" quotes someone on here. But as a society we need doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, architects and a whole lot more. Shouldn't "society" ensure that we get the best possible to sustain us ? And doesn't that mean a whole new re-think about funding?
    I got all my education free. I'll pick up my zimmer frame and toddle off now. This is just the beginning. Wait and see.

  • Comment number 24.

    Violence is not the answer and students have lost the moral high ground. Why should taxpayers fund childish thugs who want a free ride. The Police should be ruthless in pursuing and prosecting criminal actions. These thugs are not content for what they have in this world and this me, me, me attitude must come to an end.

  • Comment number 25.

    We all have our chance to voice our protest......AT THE BALLOT BOX

    No need to march or smash anything up.

    This goverment have been voted in by the people (not me I should add)
    I think the Tories made it quite clear there would be cuts to try and clear up the mess.

    The people voted them in if they dont like it, then vote them out at local elections and the next the general one, again no need to smash anything.

    Of course the problem comes when all 3 main parties are very much the same......damm it !!! whens the the next march ?, I need to smash something (:

  • Comment number 26.

    The police are just puppets 4 the goverment, wake up people!!!!!

  • Comment number 27.

    With all the proposed cuts against the pleb made by those who have caused the near financial collapse of the western world not yet even in play the police will have to revert to become the tory bouncer again. There will be a massive injection of cash disguised so as not to appear to be spending twice as much as they say is needed to save.
    As far as what the police will do is of course simple, divide and rule.
    The violence shown is due to extremists and of course extremists mould extremists and there is none as extreme as the tory. Together with the prostitute clegg and his soon to be defunct libdems they are taking us into bedlam. Like under the dreaded thatcher the biggest growing industry will be within the mental health sphere.
    What party should be in power, I don't know as it strongly appears that they are all only puppets anyway.

  • Comment number 28.

    Simples. We are already handing over our maritime capability to the French, we import their nuclear electricity, we keep their farmers in business, so why not hand the policing of unlawful riotous behaviour, criminal damage and affray, (the soft left call this student protest,) to the CRS ? And don't give me the usual bleating about the "right to protests" etc. If there was no mass gathering there is no platform for violence or "highjacking" by extremists. And you have an alternative - use the ballot box, just like the taxpayers do.

  • Comment number 29.

    Water Cannons

  • Comment number 30.

    There is something odd and seemingly evasive in the choice of this HYS topic. After yesterday's events, isn't the real question on peoples minds to do with tuition fees, our education system and political honesty, and not policing tactics? It's a very British thing that we are more concerned about the broken windows than the fuuture of our nation. What shall we talk about next? The Weather?

  • Comment number 31.

    If politicians actually listened to the demands of the public, protests wouldn't happen.

  • Comment number 32.

    The question I would ask is 'How should the government deal with protests'. Regardless of whether it was peaceful or not the students marching on the streets were doing so for a reason. The government and media outlets are only interested is spinning the protests to satisfy their own ends.

  • Comment number 33.

    We have an unelected governemnt, both parts of which say that the coalition means none of their manifesto promises apply any longer.

    So, two parties have grabbed power without a majority and can bring in any changes they like. This isn't democracy.

    If they won't listen to the electorate at an election (two thirds voted against deep, fast cuts), why should anyone think a peaceful protest is going to make them listen to the people?

    It was only a matter of time before the violence started. Our democratic system clearly doesn't work.

    The Chinese must have been rolling on the floor with laughter yesterday.

  • Comment number 34.

    Usually it's undercover police who start the violence, so that uniformed officers have an excuse to disperse the protests.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    A little paranoid, don't you think? When I saw the protests on the news yesterday afternoon, I was absolutely dsgusted - if that's what's being 'educated' in University, this coutry really does have a problem.

    All I saw was a load of savage chavs damaging property and having a good old time. I wish police had greater powers.

  • Comment number 35.

    The police need to re think their tactics. No longer are they able to have the advantage of coordination, for any protester now has the ability to be coordinated via twitter or facebook. Also the police must be aware that with the new technology they can be recorded committing acts of violence against the demonstrators in real time. And as everyone on these forums is aware, the recorded acts can be used against the police. The police must be in evidence when parades take place but they should gather information and control parades with the minimum of stick, and not act as a blunt instrument for the politicians. In the past the police have been guilty of acts of violence to control crowds and kettling is just one example of such tactics, however kettles can explode and casualties are the result on both sides, and this is not, what I for one, want to see in my country. I want to see demonstrations take place so that the politicians can see the results of their policies and not for the politicians to use the police as their bully boys to enforce their way. It is no use arguing that the crowds should be more responsible as crowds always act in their own way. If crowds use violence then the perpetrators should be identified and dealt with after the event and the punishment is to fit the crime.

  • Comment number 36.

    I'm 100% behind the protesters.
    The lib dems are the second government party to completely lie about tuition fees along with Labour who lied in its mandate.
    Its about time the people in this country stood up for themselves.
    We have been a cash cow doormat long enough.
    It pains me to say this but as a country we should take our lead from the french and stand together.

  • Comment number 37.

    6. At 11:41am on 11 Nov 2010, Rob wrote:
    Usually it's undercover police who start the violence, so that uniformed officers have an excuse to disperse the protests.

    yeah right! What planet are some people on?

    Jail the ones breaking the laws and if they are in University education paid for by us, the taxpayers, then throw them of the course!

  • Comment number 38.

    As usual, the Police Force is being criticised for not deploying enough Officers in the case of yesterday's major incident, but if they had had more Officers they would have been criticised for being too 'heavy handed' - so whatever they do, they are constantly criticised and condemned. It doesn't help things when the BBC are allowing the likes of Clare Solomon President of the Union of London Students Union to spout her Marxist Clap-Trap on TV and Radio. This woman quite openly couldn't give a 'Toss' referring to 'a few windows broken', she also admits to have been one of many idiots who stormed the Tory H.Q. On this morning's BBC Breakfast Programme she openly predicted more 'Uprisings'. I do hope that the Metropolitan Police look carefully into Ms Solomon's involvement in this incident.

  • Comment number 39.

    Don't know who the people in Millbank should have been more scared of; the protestors or an over zealous policeman killing them.

    We're going to see an awful lot more of this and Cameron has no-one but himself to blame. If you punish an entire country for the excesses of your rich banker mates then this is what you get. Instead of arrogantly telling us what is good for us perhaps listening to the people, instead of getting Rupert Murdoch to lie to them via News Corp, might be advisable.

    I don't want to see riots on the streets, but this is the inevitable conclusion of a rich generation who refuse to accept that it's their greed that has caused this. Why should the young suffer disproportionately whilst older generations get to retire early and live on the proceeds of their overpriced houses? I am more than happy for my taxes to fund a decent education system. This is the only way for the country to compete in the 21st century. Anyone who can't see this is an idiot, selfish or both.

    I'm sure I'll get the usual HYS Libertarian Fascists slating me for the above. Fine. Have a go, but you know that this is the truth. Your stupid free market system is in tatters and there is little that can be done to save it.

  • Comment number 40.

    What happened to reading the riot act and then anyone left on the streets is a target? The police have had too much criticism about the G20 policing policy and took unwarranted blame for basically public disorder. We have to be tough and if the troublemakers, that are bent on violence and criminal damage, get injured then that is just tough luck.

    We have to get policing right as there are many protests to come. If we allow the crypto-marxists and anarchists hangers-on to get away with crimes then society will collapse. Target them and jail them en masse for long periods.

  • Comment number 41.

    It should be illegal to demonstrate in public with your face covered (Islamic veils included). Anyone who goes to such events masked should be arrested. It was clear that the perpetrators of the violence were trying to hide their identities.

  • Comment number 42.

    KInd of ambivolent about this one. My contempt for the police is on about the same level as my belief that students should be paying for their degrees. The result is that I'm just sitting back and watching the entertainment without worrying to much about which side wins. At the moment I think it's 1:0 to the students though.

  • Comment number 43.

    It is clear that we are entering another phase of concerted civil unrest and that yesterday's events are just the beginning. I have to commend the brave, restrained yet wholly inadequate police response, however, anyone with a similar agenda watching yesterday's events unfold will be encouraged by the even handed way in which this level of violence was tolerated. Having retired yesterday after over 30yrs as a police officer, and having been on the front line in the 1981 riots and Miners' dispute, I am afraid that my experience shows that the only way to disperse, disrupt and discourage such acts is to meet them with opposite and overwhelming force. The right to peaceful protest is a cornerstone of our society and long may it be sustained, but if you start lobbing metal tables and fire extinguishers at the local constabulary then you are in play and deserve everything you get. Look at what happened during recent riots in France for instance and compare it with what occurred yesterday in London. European police regularly resort to CS gas, water-cannon, baton rounds and even live rounds to halt incidents of disorder of far less magnitude than was witnessed yesterday. I predict that many of those applauding the actions of the students yesterday will soon be crying out for positive and aggressive police intervention as these types of events multiply in the coming months and interfere with ordinary civil liberties. The only good thing to come from yesterday is that I bet that a radical rethink is currently going on in relation to the proposed cuts to policing. If you are going to throw 10% of the working population out of a job then surely you need a properly provisioned police force to prevent those responsible getting lynched. Even Maggie Thatcher [God bless her!] recognised that.

  • Comment number 44.

    25. At 12:07pm on 11 Nov 2010, Creamfresh wrote:
    We all have our chance to voice our protest......AT THE BALLOT BOX

    No need to march or smash anything up.

    This goverment have been voted in by the people (not me I should add)
    I think the Tories made it quite clear there would be cuts to try and clear up the mess.

    **********************************************************************

    That's the problem though, a LOT of students voted Lib Dems because of their promises about not increasing fees (in fact all bar one that I know who they voted for voted Lib Dem). They have every right to be angry if the party they voted for is in power & doing the exact opposite of what they promised.

    (not to mention the students who weren't allowed to vote because residents were given prefferential treatment in the Ranmoor voting poll)

  • Comment number 45.

    I'm appalled by the incessant use of the word "violence" when what is meant is "damage to property", a less serious matter.

    No group was being attacked by the demonstrators as far as I know, but there were injuries in confrontations with the police.

    These sensationalist parroted expressions do not help, but I doubt if they are meant to.

    Whatever the rights or wrongs of the protesters' actions it does add a new variable to political calculation, as in France: can we afford the cost of the unrest our proposals will cause? This might not be a bad thing.

  • Comment number 46.

    8. At 11:45am on 11 Nov 2010, Graham wrote:

    ...More force, truncheons, water cannons and rubber bullets would make the protestors think twice.

    The protestors are just trainee loony-left HYS posters.

    -----------------------------------------------

    Boo hoo.

    The Tories have lost the election, lost support and lost control of the people. I guess your suggestion of violence is their last hope to control the masses.

  • Comment number 47.

    Cameron said there wasn't enough police present....aren't the government trying to cut police numbers....make your mind up Cameron you can't have it both ways.

  • Comment number 48.

    Seeing the scenes at yesterday's student demonstration reminded me of my own student days. On 28th November 1986 the NUS held a rally in the Jubilee Gardens addressed by Phil Woolas, then President of the NUS, and the Labour and Liberal/SDP Alliance education shadow education spokespersons. We then marched to Westminster Bridge where we were met by the Police including mounted officers. Anarchists who had infiltrated the march then engineered a confrontation with the authorities which led to a breakdown in what had until then been a good humoured demonstration. Sound familiar?

    The majority of people attending these kind of events want to express their opposition to whatever the Government of the day is doing in the hope to influencing public opinion to their point of view. Unfortunately there are small unrepresentative extremist groups who will attempt to hijack these events to promote their own agenda. The bottom line is that the resulting violence and destruction of property has precisely the opposite effect to that intended by the orginal organisers. The words used by some of my work colleagues to describe all students following yesterday are unrepeatable here. Attacking the Conservative Party's offices is completely unacceptable in a democracy. The Conservatives have exactly the same right to organise and put forward their policies in a democracy as do the demonstrators.

    The Police need to target those who seek to pervert the lawful and peaceful right to protest while ensuring the safely of those who wish to demonstrate. Behaviour such as that seen yesterday is totally counterproductive and had no place in democratic debate in the UK.

  • Comment number 49.

    its OK for the gov to force everyone but they cant take it back,its wrong to do what they did as its what the gov wants so they can call in the army,new Zimbabwe coming soon.

  • Comment number 50.

    19. At 12:04pm on 11 Nov 2010, Dai the Tie wrote:
    Send the repair bill to their parents

    ..........................................................

    That would mean one less sking hoilday or having to hang onto the older model bmw for another year and we can't have that can we.

  • Comment number 51.

    David Cameron should accept responsibilty for causing the frustration which was expressed in the demonstration. Students have been treacherously betrayed by the Liberal Democrats and even the Tories did not make clear the full extent of the cuts they were planning for higher education before the election.

    We would all prefer that political differences were resolved by discussion rather than violence. If people are to continue to trust democracy, the disgraceful disregard for pre-election promises, practised by all three main parties in recent years, and brought to new heights by the Lib Dems, must cease. Otherwise the argument that politicians take no notice of peaceful demonstrations and only respond to violent rioting becomes more and more persuasive.

    It is no excuse that the need to form a coalition meant that pre-election promises had to be disregarded. The coalition parties should have done what coalitions have done in other countries, and constructed a programme for government based on the common features of both their programmes. Instead they even introduced features which were in neither party's programme.

  • Comment number 52.

    The police did a good job; just a few windows broken and they didn’t kill anybody this time, and just enough of a mess of "tory party headquarters” to make a point of their own, when it comes to cuts in the police force. Hmmm are the police becoming a competent political pressure group?

  • Comment number 53.

    Learn from past mistakes. Violence begets violence. People as a general rule don't take to the streets and riot in this country unless they really are passionate about something and with the impending cuts I'd not be suprised if this sort of thing happens more often.

    Anyone who is convicted of causing trouble at protests should be banned from taking part in them again, and the security services need to keep an awareness of these sort of events taking place so that those who are banned can be 'kept tabs on' and forcibly removed if they do attend.

    Then, the non-violent protestors can get on with making their point without becomin embroiled in a riot.

  • Comment number 54.

    The UK is on the brink both financially and socially. The austerity measures taken by the coalition government will increase anger among certain citizens. With no outlet to vent this anger due to current laws we should not be surprised by such violence or violent protest in the future.

    Unfortunately there is no one way the police can deal with these protests. Certainly at times they don’t mind to in getting and given a good kick-in, a few officesr hurt here and there all helps their PR cause. Then they can demand even more draconian measures to keep citizens in their place.

  • Comment number 55.

    Is this the same police who would not protect Millbank yesterday, but are as I write protecting Anjam Choudhary and his followers? They have formed a protective shield around them on Exhibition Road to protect them from members of the public not too happy that they just booed their way through the two minutes silence. Nice to see thay have their priorities right. Terrorise ordinary people going about their business and the police turn a blind eye. Remonstrate with Islamists defiling your countires remembrance ceremony and you're nicked.

  • Comment number 56.

    Use tasers. Protesters would think twice about using violence if they knew that the police could deter them properly. Tasers don't kill. Why not?


    Employ taser officers and if they need to use them then don't hesitate. Hit the ring leaders and the sheep will calm down. A baton and shield is hardly that effective.

    The left wingers will probably whinge about this but you have to hit these hooligans hard.

  • Comment number 57.

    Good on these “so-called” students about time someone stood up and was counted. I see most people here are damp as a wet squid, can’t think for themselves, and take everything the government says with a pinch of salt.

    If the government said go and throw yourself off a bridge – you are the people who would do that!

  • Comment number 58.

    How can police get the balance right to allow peaceful protest, but to prevent violence?

    Prepare for worst case scenario but only behave as per the current situation. Do not treat all protesters as violent thugs.

    What do you think of the way police prepared for and dealt with this protest?

    I don't think they did as bad as they could've done. It could have been much much worse.

    Should the police be more prepared to deal with violence in a protest?

    Yes, but they are obviously running scared of doing too much due to recent criticism.

    How should police handle protests in the future?

    As I have said, prepare for the worst but don't treat them all as thugs.

    The police and government are going to see a lot more of this in the coming months so they had better get used to it.

    Or perhaps Cameron is going to use this as an excuse to take away our right to protest.

  • Comment number 59.

    I thought the TV coverage was pretty clear and look forward to the perpetrators being caught quite easily then locked up for a few years.

    But then again I live in Britain where no doubt the evidence will be disregarded as filming them will be a breach of their human rights, so I had better get back to work to pay more tax for the inevitable compo claim!

  • Comment number 60.

    THe police should have fewer powers. The government should assert the people's right to protest whenever and wherever they like. Criminal damage committed during protests should be addressed in no different a way from criminal damage committed under normal circumstances. Anything else suggests that protest is a negative thing for society. Protest is vital, and we MUST be free to protest.

    However, this will not happen so long as there are people who want to feel 'safe' because their parents didn't bring them up well enough to cope with uncertainty. Cowards.

  • Comment number 61.

    Legally, of course!

    Perhaps the Met ought to ask Merseyside and Greater Manchester Police how they deal with large crowds at football matches, as we rarely get much trouble up here and that which does occur is dealt with swiftly and professionally.

    Well-trained officers, in sufficient numbers, with a good plan for containment and orderly control of demonstrators' movement along agreed routes... and a commander who knows what he's doing!

  • Comment number 62.

    From where I was sitting (from in front of my computer) I thought the police acted with admirable restraint in very difficult circumstances. It would have been very easy to go charging in with batons and riot shields and turn the incident into a full-blown battle. As it was, injuries were (I think) few and relatively minor, notwithstanding the fire extinguisher incident. Property can always be replaced; people's safety should be paramount. It was good old-fashioned policing for a good old-fashioned protest.

  • Comment number 63.

    Lock up all torys and the world will be a better place.
    Introduce PR and then we would never have to suffer another tory government again.

  • Comment number 64.

    The Police are guaranteed to be criticized regardless. I'm no avid supporter of some examples of their conduct thats come to light over the years, but theres always got to be someone to 'blame' - and when the Police seem to be coming under more scrutiny then, you know, the ACTUAL PEOPLE conducting the violence then I tend to try and take a step back.

  • Comment number 65.

    Look at this comment from above:

    "Boo hoo.

    The Tories have lost the election, lost support and lost control of the people. I guess your suggestion of violence is their last hope to control the masses."

    The left never change do they? Whether it's Burma or Britain they have no respect for democracy. This one even believes they won the election.

  • Comment number 66.

    Any demonstration, however peacefully intentioned, has the chance to be taken over by those who find an opportunity not to be peaceful, and there were clearly not enough officers available.

    I believe that anyone wishing to organise a protest march or rally should have to take out insurance to cover such issues as those which occurred yesterday. Where unions or organised groups are involved, this should not create a major problem. It is unfair that much needed public money will have to be spent on a clean-up, when we don't have enough money to care for the elderly.

    If students were involved in the vandalism, I sincerely hope that they lose their places in their colleges or universities.

    Oh, I would have brought out the water canon.



  • Comment number 67.

    "51. At 12:23pm on 11 Nov 2010, stanblogger wrote:
    David Cameron should accept responsibilty for causing the frustration"


    Wife (and husband) batterers often use a similar excuse.

  • Comment number 68.

    "How should the police deal with protests"? is still the HYS question.

    Unfortunately, if the NUS, who organised this demonstration, had been fully-informed of the detail - perhaps this demo' was premature?

    However, it legally went ahead and I do not blame the police, or the students. This NUS demo required permission to occur at all.

    So, we can assume there are elements whose only mission is to hijack lawful protests - you cannot blame the police or valid protesters for that on this particular protest.

    Perhaps the media luvvies should wind their necks in and remember that all citizens are entitled to demonstrate in a peaceful way and it is the duty of the police to protect them during their lawful demonstration.

    As for the anarchists and 'paid to distrupt' - well, there is no protection from them in the democracy we live in? Ultimately, nutters get their way by inhibiting legal public demonstration by infiltration.

  • Comment number 69.

    It is unfortunate that the only way to get decent media coverage is through some form of direct action. This protest would have only got a tiny coverage if it had been peaceful. What a shame. Being peacful no coverage, smashing things up, lots of coverage!!

  • Comment number 70.



    Excellent Newsnight last night and a very big thank you to Jeremy Paxman for exposing the vacuous idiocy of the non studying "student" and how the violence directly led to the news agenda being changed from tuition fees to the limits of free protest:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00vy678/Newsnight_10_11_2010/

    I'm sure that the violent protesters had a lot of fun, however, such activity is completely futile and self-defeating.

    In the end, no amount of protesting, strikes, direct action, civil unrest or rioting will generate a single solitary penny of revenue and, therefore, will not change anything at all.

    The country will still be in very deep debt, there still be no money, the universities will still need to find other ways to fund themselves and there will still be tuition fees.

    Sometimes the very best way to demonstrate to people exactly how powerless they really are in the face of economic circumstance is just to give them what they want. Let them have their "Winter of Discontent" - when that ends in the miserable failure of the last one then even they may begin to understand that there really is no alternative no matter what they do or how much they protest.

    Even the French (who far more adept at large scale violent demonstrations than we are) failed to prevent the pension age being in that country raised because there was simply no other option. Such activity may be imitated by some over here but it will be as equally ineffectual.


  • Comment number 71.

    chinese way - !!

  • Comment number 72.

    57. At 12:31pm on 11 Nov 2010, AM wrote:
    Good on these “so-called” students about time someone stood up and was counted. I see most people here are damp as a wet squid, can’t think for themselves, and take everything the government says with a pinch of salt.

    If the government said go and throw yourself off a bridge – you are the people who would do that!


    ..............................................................................


    So violence is good is it? Peaceful protesting is fine but this rioting is absolutely disgraceful. I hope they bang up the violent ones for a long time.

    Long live the taser.

  • Comment number 73.

    Recommend posts 33 and 39.

    This isn't a democratic process running its course - it is a class war.

    The unelected government are striking down upon us and those who feel it most are fighting back. Well done those who are risking criminal records for what they believe in.

    Incidentally, no one was seriously hurt. A few smashed windows and grafitti? Oh well, I'm sure the Tories will find the money to repair the damage through benefit cuts and/or generous donations from tax avoiders.

    You reap what you sow Cameron and Clegg. At least now you know you're not dealing with numbers. We are people, and we will be heard.

  • Comment number 74.

    56. At 12:30pm on 11 Nov 2010, beshocked wrote:

    Use tasers. Protesters would think twice about using violence if they knew that the police could deter them properly. Tasers don't kill. Why not?


    Employ taser officers and if they need to use them then don't hesitate. Hit the ring leaders and the sheep will calm down. A baton and shield is hardly that effective.

    The left wingers will probably whinge about this but you have to hit these hooligans hard.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Why do comments like this assume it is the Left wing that are the root cause behind all any disruption to society. How about looking deeper into what is behind the protest and I'm sure you will find a great majority of the demonstrators are from families who are on the whole Tories. After all it is the great unwashed idle benefits scroungers who are Labour supporters in all other HYS debates who have no interest in their feral children. By the way do you sell Tasers

  • Comment number 75.

    Why did they target Tory headquarters? It was the Labour Party who landed us in this mess. But oooh no, they don't want to think about that. They just wanted to carry out some wanton desctruction instead because that is how stupid they are. Perhaps now they can be forced to get a job.

  • Comment number 76.

    It looks as if the police slipped up somewhat...but on the other hand it's great publicity for not having cuts in the force don't you think?
    It's ironic that cuts are in the offing and the police fail to stop a mob wrecking the Tory HQ......must be a coincidence... but the timing is perfect.

  • Comment number 77.

    I thought the small team of officers that did handle the situation at Millbank did an exceptional job from what I have seen so far. I hope their effort, courage and professionalism gets the recognition it deserves.
    I also hope that enough evidence has been collected so that all those guilty of criminal damage, trespass and/or assault will recieve the punishment they deserve and will be made to pay for the damage they have done.
    Maybe one lesson from this incident is how a relatively small Police presence can still be very effective, and how vast numbers of arrests do not have to be made.

  • Comment number 78.

    The government has only two choices - handle this the Chinese way (won't elobrate but everyone will udnerstand) or come down from cloud cockoo land and develop more reaistics policies. This tough talikng government has called for everyone to pay for the crisis except of course the MP's- why is the Government and the wonder boy of chencellor so impotent in taking even a penny of the MP's and their own perks!! Know that is the real question Have your say must ask.

  • Comment number 79.

    It's, like, sooo unfair, like. The Government pays for the unemployed to, like, stay in bed all morning, get up and watch Trisha, like, and then get drunk in the evenings. Why can't they pay for us students to do the same?

  • Comment number 80.

    "4. At 11:40am on 11 Nov 2010, GeoffLiberty wrote:
    Put those who damaged property in gaol & send the bill for all repairs to the student union or deduct it from the education budget.

    Why should a penny of my hard earned money go to pay to "educate" that mindless lot?

    They are supposed to be the "leaders" of tomorrow. I question that, but they are definitely the scroungers of today. If you want an education, pay for it yourself."

    Firstly, if the violence was caused by those who hijacked the protest that would simply be placing the blame on those who have nothing to do with it.

    Secondly, I assume you are another one of those greedy Tory pigs who has already had there turn in the "trough" & now wishes to make the next group pay for what you have for free.

    The attitude of those who have already received a highly subsidised education AT MY EXPENSE I may add, against those who have not yet had the chance makes me sick.

    I have been paying tax for the previous generations & I'm happy to continue for the next.

    Ignore the selfish people here who have already benefitted & wish to deny others the same right.

    Shame on you, you are an insult to this country.

  • Comment number 81.

    Once again we see a peaceful protest being hijacked by 'rent-a-mob'. It was the same with the poll tax protest, Greenham Common, in fact, just about every violent demonstration I can think of.
    Someone has quoted figures of 50,000 protesters, 500 of whom were involved in the violence against a total of 225 police officers on duty.
    If these figures are correct it is clear that 99% of those demonstrating were not involved in the violence and the ones that were outnumbered the police by over 2:1.
    I suggest all those who are critical of how some of the police officers reacted might like to consider how they would react in the same circumstances and against such overwhelming odds.

  • Comment number 82.

    Oh, and how to deal with protests?

    Make sure that there is no reason for them to occur in the first place.

    For example, don't repeatedly say "in this together" whilst cutting benefits for the poor and writing off tax bills for the rich.

  • Comment number 83.

    The physical violence by both Students & Police are equivalent, metaphorically, to the violence perpetrated by the Government over cuts to Education & the imposition of draconian fees!

  • Comment number 84.

    I take great exception to the line being taken by some here that all students are "scroungers". Who do you think will be putting you back together again in A&E should you be the victim of a road traffic accident? In the future it might be my son, who is a medical student and took part in the demonstration yesterday (but not, I hasten to add, in the violence at Millbank). Do you consider him to be a scrounger?

    I also object to the idea that all education must be reduced to the simple economics of personal monetary benefit to the person receiving it. As a society we all benefit from having a population that is educated in a wide range of disciplines: not just science, medicine and engineering but languages, arts and humanities as well. Just because a subject does not have an obvious, direct financial payback does not necessarily mean that we should not support it. The arts and humanities enrich society in all sorts of ways which are not easily quantifiable in simple monetary terms. A society that is not able, or does not want to fund these studies will be a much poorer, less attractive place for all of us.

  • Comment number 85.

    Imagine what would have happened at the G20 riots in London if the police had taken this approach.... The police will not make the mistake again of listening to the liberal, left-wingers bleating at them to stop using tactics that keep crowds under control.

    Charging £9k a year will stop this riff raff from attending University anyway, so there's your solution in one go!

  • Comment number 86.

    @Angry Lefty


    "Your stupid free market system is in tatters and there is little that can be done to save it."


    No that is mere self-serving delusion - just ask the "Communist" Chinese or India why the free market is still in rude health and likely to be so for as long as those pesky human beings continue to insist on trading with one another.

    You don't have to believe me. Just wait around for a few decades and be proven wrong the hard way - it is the best way for you to learn that it is actually your idiot ideology that is in tatters and that there is nothing you or anyone else can do to save it.

  • Comment number 87.

    The Police respose was exactly what you would expect following the vilification aimed at them following the G20 protests.

    The problem is that the couple of unacceptable cases of Police officers getting out og line and assaulting people at the G20 have been used to conclude the overall tactics were wrong. Therefore they changed the tactics for this protest and hey presto Police lines are broken and the target building gets ransacked.

    You can't have it both ways, you either have touchy feely Police who ask you nicely to stop rioting, or you allow them to use force to physically stop rioters.

  • Comment number 88.

    '4. At 11:40am on 11 Nov 2010, GeoffLiberty wrote:
    Put those who damaged property in gaol & send the bill for all repairs to the student union or deduct it from the education budget.

    Why should a penny of my hard earned money go to pay to "educate" that mindless lot?

    They are supposed to be the "leaders" of tomorrow. I question that, but they are definitely the scroungers of today. If you want an education, pay for it yourself.'

    Well the so called (lightweight) political leaders of today Cameron and Osborne were members of that awful club at Oxford who apparently regularly trashed restuarants during their drunken stupors. You probably voted for them didn't you? The Great Con continues.


  • Comment number 89.

    65. At 12:37pm on 11 Nov 2010, SlimyKabadiGandu wrote:
    Look at this comment from above:

    "Boo hoo.

    The Tories have lost the election, lost support and lost control of the people. I guess your suggestion of violence is their last hope to control the masses."

    The left never change do they? Whether it's Burma or Britain they have no respect for democracy. This one even believes they won the election.

    ============================

    Probably one of the ones who turned up at the polling station en mass with no polling card at the last minute, probably with the intention of causing disruption, with the result that many couldn't vote.

  • Comment number 90.

    39. At 12:14pm on 11 Nov 2010, Angry Leftie wrote:
    Don't know who the people in Millbank should have been more scared of; the protestors or an over zealous policeman killing them.

    We're going to see an awful lot more of this and Cameron has no-one but himself to blame. If you punish an entire country for the excesses of your rich banker mates then this is what you get. Instead of arrogantly telling us what is good for us perhaps listening to the people, instead of getting Rupert Murdoch to lie to them via News Corp, might be advisable.

    I don't want to see riots on the streets, but this is the inevitable conclusion of a rich generation who refuse to accept that it's their greed that has caused this. Why should the young suffer disproportionately whilst older generations get to retire early and live on the proceeds of their overpriced houses? I am more than happy for my taxes to fund a decent education system. This is the only way for the country to compete in the 21st century. Anyone who can't see this is an idiot, selfish or both.

    I'm sure I'll get the usual HYS Libertarian Fascists slating me for the above. Fine. Have a go, but you know that this is the truth. Your stupid free market system is in tatters and there is little that can be done to save it.

    ...........................................................................

    You don't like the rioting but you accept it. You're a disgrace like all your left wing kind. Is violence the only option? No You just damage your position. Peaceful protest is fine but if you're violent then prepare to get it dished back at you.

    Don't blame the police for your little angry violent friends. You think it's easy for them having to cope? You injured 7 of them but I doubt you care.

    It's just the bankers fault isn't it? Nothing to do with labour racking up a massive deficit and wasting tax payers money. Bringing us into an illegal war and encouraging the bloated public sector. 13 years of Labour has crippled the country.

    When you actually pay tax you can talk about the way it is spent.

    The taser should be brought in to hit thes violent thugs hard.

  • Comment number 91.

    Yes, we unlike those e.g China do have a right to protest. And there have been many, but then for most that's where it always ends. Just how many have been succesful in changing the ruling hypocritical governments position upon what is being protested at, NOT MANY I'M GUESSING. So you'll have sections that are quite aggrieved that their protests are ignored and decide to take direct action! Given the serious sanctions that face them if caught, as such I have an element of respect. Indeed I have the same respect for those who make the ultimate sacrifice for their beliefs, however I wish that neither would not take innocents alongwith them! The main concern for any state is not mass protest, but those of singular and direct protest at the plethora of targets of opportunity that the state machine affords, no matter how good the intelligence service is!

  • Comment number 92.

    The looney left Socialist Workers and anarcists should be reoved from all positions of authority. It was a disgrace to see a leading figure in the student union (39 years of age STILL a student) and an obvious leftie looney in the Tory HQ causing chaos. The police had been duped after the G20 to lower their presence at demo's as they had been doing an effective job. The loonie left (who want chaos) used this to hijack the fools in the student demo. The Socialist Worker snd anarcist signs and placeds where everywhere. Where was the police intelligence?

  • Comment number 93.

    "63. At 12:36pm on 11 Nov 2010, Governmentdept4propergander wrote:
    Lock up all torys and the world will be a better place.
    Introduce PR and then we would never have to suffer another tory government again."

    --------

    Ah the reasoned voice of bigotry.
    Introduce PR and you'd just get constant coalitions.

  • Comment number 94.

    How should the police deal with protests?

    Water canon!

  • Comment number 95.

    Yet another excuse for the 'great unwashed' to have a go at a policeman.
    I'm skeptical that any real students were involved in yesterdays violence & criminal damage. Scratch the surface & i'm sure you'll find the usual hard left rent-a-mob of the UAF, Unite & socialist workers yet again taking the opportunity to 'get stuck in' & bash a copper.

  • Comment number 96.

    OK, so they've smashed a few things up - have they achieved anything? I did protests against tuition fees as a student in Oxford in '97. STill ended up with them.

    Sometimes this kind of protest is worth while. The Protest the Pope march showed for the first time just how many people dislike the man and what he stands for.

    But for the most part, protests like this are largely redundant.

  • Comment number 97.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 98.

    With a demo of that size there will always be a bit of aggro - this looked pretty small scale, and I guess Davy was glad of it as a distraction from the issue at the heart of the march.

    Cut too deep, too quickly and in the wrong areas and this is pretty inevitable - more to come I'm afraid.

    As for the police - perhaps the recent announcement on forced retirement had a bearing on police level s deployed??

  • Comment number 99.

    The british are generally a tolerant people who take it on the chin and get on with it, so for them to take to the streets shows just what a mess this country`s in. If politicians lie to get in power then expect the poplace to just roll over and accept it then we are in for a rough ride.

  • Comment number 100.



    How should the police deal with protests?

    “Surely the questions should be:

    1: Why are people protesting?
    2: Why were there insufficient numbers of police


    Given the hostility to the government’s approach of slash and burn, it gives DC the ideal opportunity to divert the media away from the reason for the protest to a few smashed windows

    It stinks of corruption and propaganda


 

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