Monday, 25 January 2010

The Season Ahead

I can feel Spring in the air and the remnants of my Winter gloom being blown gently away. This is approaching my favourite time of year when we can all look forward more positively to what's ahead. Already the first demonstration has taken place involving the English Defence League and predictably it kicked off.

I don't think anybody has quite sussed this lot out yet. The extreme left have bracketed them as fascist right wing extremists and turn out en masse to confront them. This I assume is due to factions within the EDL being made up of mainly football supporters - their traditional enemies, where the most extreme fans were directly linked to Combat 18 and BNP. The EDL also has a Jewish wing, Muslim wing and Black members who purport their aims are solely to confront extremist Islamic groups who have been too long indulged in this country. I do wonder why these anti-fascist groups don't also go and demonstrate against Islam4UK whose views are very much fascist by definition.

It will I suspect boil down to Right versus Left with a 21st Century slant to it. Alot of today's football fans are quite happy to integrate with different cultures as long as those individuals can kiss the flag and see themselves as British. So this year we could well see anti-fascist groups confronting the EDL who are made up of some non white faces. Couldn't see too many black faces in the video below from the disturbances in Stoke though, but I can assure you some football firms have black members. It could just be an excuse for these football fans to indulge their tribal passion for fighting and lets be honest they are not particularly bothered who they have a go at including police. Personally I've always found them full of shite who only go on the rampage when numbers are stacked in their favour, but at least they don't whine when order is restored.

Who knows what the year holds for the EDL, but unless they fragment and become more overtly racist they might just become stronger and attract more popular support than the BNP. I don't think they are that smart and the Nazi salutes just show them up to be the same Nationalists who used to turn up countering the "Troops Out" of Ulster marches. The left meanwhile will quite happily take to the streets when the Tories regain power, so this year could actually be problematic.

I don't know how the new police "Hands off - We've Surrendered" public order tactics will fit into this, all I know is a boot from a Anti-fascist hurts as much as one from a Right winger.

Tactical Point - Shouldn't the exit doors be on the side away from the crowd?


Blue Eyes said...

Surely the political police senior managers will be very quick to take up the challenge of kowtowing to the new government and surely the new government will be must more interested in practical, traditional, policing methods than the current one is?

Hogday said...

You're right about fearing the `hands-off, we've bottled it` tactics.
`Hands off` leads to `pushing ones luck` and thus to an escalation which can only be managed by `arms length` tactics. But look on the bright side, far fewer RUC were injured in rioting than their mainland constabulary brothers and sisters. And we know why that was. The day of the baton round cometh yet closer.

MTG said...

The world needs the word xenaphobia, SoC. A proud culture will always reject the more obvious label of madness for unreasoned hate between opposing sides.

Devotees who stumbled across the phenomenon, simply found one poison fiercely addictive before enslavement by any another.

Metcountymounty said...

I know a lot of people - me included - have considered handing the public order ticket in, especially after the fallout from G20. The three big public order jobs last year were all completely different (Israeli Embassy, Tamils and G20) in the way that they developed and the way we were deployed and perceived.

The Embassy kicked off bigstyle and there were lots of videos covering it. Short of actual petrol bombs (accelerant was thrown at the TSG units at the main gate along with a few other more weighty projectiles) it was as bad as anything else in London over the last decade. I have to admit that taking part in running lines and assisting TSG snatch teams was interesting, but standing there at the end of the night in the freezing cold and looking back at the carnage that had been unleashed on Knightsbridge was both surreal and impressive, from a professional point of view anyway.

The nearly two month long debacle with the Tamils showed that they could get 100k in one place quicker than we could contain and control it which lead to a ridiculous standoff and a phenomenal bill of over £8m. There was lots of pushing and shoving when it kicked off but for the most part the elders of the crowd managed to control most of the younger element who wanted, tried and occasionally succeeded in kicking off. And then of course the media found out that the 'hunger strikers' were chowing down McDonalds at night when they thought no one was watching. Naturally we got the blame for everything.

And then G20. Lots of the same faces as at the Embassy although they didn't get the chance to kick off as much as they wanted to. I'm with you SoC on the Fisher incident, I'm not going to comment any further on what happened to Ian Tomlinson beyond that I've pushed people - including some who were facing away - in a public order incident to move them, along with everyone else I've worked on a PSU. I won't be very surprised if the CPS authorise a charge as they will not want to be the ones to be accused of a whitewash if they don't, but it will be the jury who will decide.

This year is going to be very interesting for us.

Merlin said...

EDL - a crowde of idiots who'll happily bring thuggery to the streets. In whatever cause they do it, that's "enough said" as far as I'm concerned. The Nazi overtones & the hoodies just reinforce my view.

Don't know if you policed this, SOC, and obviously you can't say much on that score, but I wonder how the hell did this bunch of wasters manage to access a police vehicle & lift a bunch of shields (if today's papers are correct, of course)?

Metcountymounty said...

Merlin, if they are anything like ours then the central locking was probably knackered.

Stressed Out Cop said...

Blue - I think they will wait until after Big Tony's trial but MCM is right every job is different. I know that Gold has some new tactics to draw on - Mr HD is right when he says they might finally use some kit that's been sitting around for years.

Maybe the water cannon before the baton round.

Melv - Stoke was I think an "own goal" by EDL with many resorting to type. It depends which way they morph this year - if they go like Stoke they will fizzle out.If not .. well ?

MCM - Great comments again - 20th Anniversary of Poll Tax demo this year and Black Block are holding a rally in T square - They won't get the same numbers ever again and that's what everybody needs to give police the runaround.

Shields and kit getting looted - somebody will have to get a crate in me thinks, unless your right on the CL.

Hogday said...

The first time shields were "issued" was, I recall, around 1976 in Lewisham. The headlines the next day said senior officers made the decision, but the reality was that the lads were so pissed off at the pelting they were getting from missiles, that they broke into the shield lorry and issued to themselves. I can therefore understand MCM's opening sentiments.

Gastank said...

Bit odd that the politicians are always going on about the BNP but very little is said about the EDL.

Perhaps it is in the Governments interest to let the anti Muslim protests run, as it helps maintain public support for the war in Afghanistan.

Plenty of exposure of the BNP but not much about the EDL, who are their leaders. Not much done to stop them as surely they must be inciting religious hatred. Just a few foot soldiers picked up for public order.

In one Stoke clip Met Officers were shadowing the leaders and calling to them by first name. All a bit odd.

Metcountymounty said...

Gastank, they were FIT officers (forward intelligence team) who are primarily dealing with demonstrations. Considering there is quite a small regular element who attend demos, not just EDL but UAF, stop the war etc, it doesn't take them long to identify and get to know the main players, it's the main reason they are deployed to demonstrations as they build up a profile and intel picture.

Anonymous said...

You know, I really cannot see why the UK police don't deploy a lot more watercannons for crowd control. Adding a green dye to the water would also help identify rioters afterwards. The advantage here is that water cannons are the gold standard in non-lethal crowd control; almost nothing shifts rioters better than a few gallons of icy cold water and a refill of the tank is only as far away as the nearest fire hydrant.