Escalation of protest policing: Rubber Bullets on standby

Simon Pountain, who will be in charge of policing protests in London on the 9th of November, has told journalists that officers carrying baton rounds (rubber bullets) will be on standby. From his interview on Sky:

In terms of baton rounds, baton rounds is a valuable tactic for me to be able to have available, should the need arise. At the moment, I have asked for it to be available to me. Those units will be parked away from the area, and they’ll be on standby, should the need arise because the last thing that I want is if any of my staff are coming under sustained attack, as we saw in previous demonstrations, I need the ability to protect them and to make sure that they don’t sustain serious injuries, or even worse. And so I want to have those units available to me so that I can deploy them if necessary and not having to wait for an hour or two hours to get them to me.

The important thing to note here is that the firearms officers carrying baton rounds will be on standby in a van waiting somewhere near to the protest, rather than in their normal headquarters, and that Pountain says that he wants them to be available quickly. This is a significant step up from the normal situation and indicates that he is more likely to use them. Secondly, he said “if any of my staff are coming under sustained attack, as we saw in previous demonstrations, I need the ability to protect them.” That wording is very significant. “As we saw in previous demonstrations” suggests that the police will need no more reaction from the protesters than we have seen before to open fire on the crowd.

On the plus side, he says that no officers will be carrying tasers. Woo.

References

 

Thanks to  @bc_tmh for these links.

Audioboo: @annareporting speaks to Met Police Commander Simon Pountain ahead of Wednesday’s student demo

Metropolitian Police: Baton rounds and public order policing

LBC: Met Police: Baton Rounds Ready for Student Protest

Sky News: Police Will Have Baton Rounds For Protests

Author: Latentexistence

The world is broken and I can't fix it because I am broken. I can, however, rant about it all and this is where I do that when I can get my thoughts together. Most of the time you'll find my words on Twitter rather than here though. I sometimes write for Where's The Benefit too.

3 thoughts on “Escalation of protest policing: Rubber Bullets on standby”

  1. There is some fascinating and terrifying doublethink involved in describing weaponry as a “tactic”.

  2. “This is a significant step up from the normal situation and indicates that he is more likely to use them.”

    No it doesn’t. It’s standard Met practice to 1. Authorise baton gunners where significant disordered anticipated. 2. Tell the press you’re not going to fuck up the same way twice, in the hope of scaring people away. 3. Profit!

    1. Agree on “Don’t Panic”, but 10 years ago different people were in charge, under a different government. History can and should inform us, but it doesn’t reduce the significance of such scare tactics being used in the current context.

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