At the meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority the other day the Civil Liberties Panel presented its report on the policing of last year’s G20 protests. Most at the meeting were pleased with the report and praised its contents. Dave Hill has a couple of interesting stories about the meeting, the report and the Met.
Deputy Commissioner Tim Godwin, filling in for Sir Paul Stephenson, took exception to suggestions that the Met had spread of disinformation about its handling of the events during the G20 protests. “The Met does not spin information,” he declared with feeling, conceding only that “sometimes we make mistakes.”
Cynics should remind Tim Godwin about the misleading press release issued by the Met three hours after Ian Tomlinson’s death and the days of evasiveness that followed. They would surely alight too on Commander Simon O’Brien remark that “all officers performed very well” and Commander Bob Broadhurst’s that “I am happy with the way the day progressed,” both made to Jane’s Police Review.
Perhaps Deputy Commisioner Godwin would care to explain the £40 million that police forces spent on ‘PR’ (or spin to you and me) in 2008.
Perhaps deputy Commisioner Godwin should also read Climate Camp’s legal team’s report of the G20 fiasco:Police spin is overstepping the mark. The police briefings start before the protest making it hard for the protestors to be heard on the issues they actually want to protest about. Once again, in the lead up to the Climate Camp and the G20 protests, there was increasing concern that the police were talking up the potential for violence in their press briefings. Justly, there are significant concerns about the motivation for such activity and its appropriateness. Interestingly, at the Climate Camp the satellite TV vans were moved on before the significant escalation in police violence occurred. The next day embedded camera crew entered with riot police during police raids of two places where G20 protesters had been sleeping (many because they had not been allowed to leave the Climate Camp until after the Underground closed). The police reports on Ian Tomlinson’s death are typical of the disingenuousness of police briefings. Police media spin is not compatible with any reasonable notion of institutional accountability in a democracy.
Lets not even mention the Metropolitan Police’s outrageous lies and spin over the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes which the doctored photo below is ample evidence of:
When will the lies, deceit and spin end, when Deputy Commissioner Godwin, when?