I've been relatively quiet on this as I was roundabouts on G20 but did come out in support of this officer and appeared to have called it right. To those who have a sulk on I will try and explain what was actually a rather technical case and it's implications. So let's look at three videos:
John Prescott gets egged and then punches the thrower who was stood in front of him laughing. Self defence? Well Prezzer gets the benefit of the doubt (obviously - who runs CPS?). He could of feared further attack and hit out in a pre-emptive blow. If I'm being objective he's in the clear and no prosecution would have been in the public interest.
The "lady prop" lands two knock-out punches in defence of his friend who was confronted by a yob who had prior to this picked on Spiderman. One of those punches was to an associate who appears to be trying to control his mate from starting trouble. The two follow up kicks were not in defence and strictly speaking illegal in law and you could argue that the punch to the associate was unnecessary and an assault. Again that was a pre-emptive strike. Common sense dictates that no prosecution should follow, because the yobs started it and any conviction would not be in the public interest.
PS Smellie acting in defence of others in facing a crowd alone with Ms Fisher leading the way. You can hear plenty of verbal warnings and he escalates the use of force. A clearance swipe connects with her face and still she comes back for more. The infamous baton strikes then follow and these form the case against him.
The use of force is taught within the officer safety model. You have to run through a thought process
Intelligence - Threat Assessment - Tactical Options - Action
Well he properly in my view cranked it up from verbal commands, to a clearance swipe with verbal commands until he draws his baton. It would appear that the prosecutors believe he shouldn't have gone to strike and expected him to adopt a ready stance (baton held over shoulder) with more verbals. This is a very thin line that they expected him to walk and I was surprised he was summonsed.
Two independent members of the public who were reasonable people present at the scene were called as prosecution witnesses? then give evidence that the force used was reasonable.
Other people still have the same views they held on first seeing the footage of this incident even after the acquittal. I agree it's not pretty but put yourselves in that position and I can say you'd never know how you'd react. The people featured in the video clips all have one thing in common. At the time they believed they were doing the right thing and didn't have a guilty mind.
One of them was treated differently and that was PS Smellie who was not permitted the benefit of the doubt due to the public interest considerations and the media storm that followed G20. It was a poor decision by the CPS and PS Smellie was sacrificed on the alter of public satisfaction.
A dangerous precedent has been set. I'm not currently public order trained but was expected to return to the fray last year. I kept myself out of the way awaiting the result of this trial. Will I be back? I doubt it - even though I'd stand behind the line these days it's not worth the risk of having every decision scrutinised by lawyers deciding what is proportionate. I stood up for PS Smellie because he was innocent .. I noted the lack of support from senior management who were weak. My personal view but I tell it the way I see it just as I did after G20.