An interview today by Guardian journalist Stephen Moss with former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair, who is busy promoting his book Policing Controversy, contains this gem:
He won't comment in detail on the case of Ian Tomlinson, who died after being assaulted by police during the G20 protest in April, saying only, "It is a dreadful tragedy when something like that happens. It has happened before, it will happen again. But you've got to find a method of crowd control that is acceptable to the public and doesn't threaten the officers."He simply can't stop himself, can he?
Perhaps Sir Ian needs a reminder: Ian Tomlinson was not a protester, he was a passerby. He wasn't even part of the 'crowd' that the police were attempting to control - but that's the nature of kettling, it assumes that everyone is a threat to public order. Moreover, even if Tomlinson had been demonstrating, any method of crowd control that involves pushing to the ground someone who patently did not "threatening the officers" and then beating him, resulting in his death, will never be 'acceptable' to the public.
And based on the video evidence that we have seen, "it will happen again" only because riot officers continue to believe they can act with inpunity - which considering the rarity of any prosecution for a death in police custody and the attempts by senior levels of the police to justify or cover up these deaths is not altogether surprising.
For someone who "won't comment in detail on the case of Ian Tomlinson", Sir Ian Blair has already said more than enough.
UPDATE: Ian Tomlinson's family have responded to Sir Ian Blair's comments