Neutering the Police

It seems to me that the continuation of the UK riots comes about because of the long term neutering of the police by liberal panty-waists. That has led to the Police being timid.

The question that hangs over British policing is this: have the number of investigations, inquiries and tragic mistakes left the force fearful of disapproval, of being accused of insensitivity? Have they lost their determination to act swiftly and resolutely?

The European experience is instructive. It is true that no police force gets public order right all the time.

Last year the French police had to deal with wide-scale protests over pension reform. Certainly in Paris they deployed large numbers of CRS riot police and gendarmes. Often the numbers of police overwhelmed the protesters. The impression given was that the police wanted to intimidate protestors from starting unrest.

At demonstrations they employed snatch-squads: teams of up to 10 men in plain clothes who went into a crowd and pulled out those they regarded as “les casseurs” – “the breakers”.

Again they were pro-active when demonstrations ended. One night I watched them swamp La Place de la Bastille. They liberally and sometimes controversially used pepper spray and tear gas but they psychologically had the upper hand and those who might have had riot in mind dispersed.

Hit them hard, with overwhelming force, soon breaks their resolve to throw stones.

What emerges is that there is never one answer to unrest. What does appear important is the mindset of the police officers and their units. In order to be bold and assertive they need to be confident, and confidence grows from public and political support.

For part of the battle on the streets is psychological. A mob smells uncertainty. In Hackney yesterday young men attacked shops within sight of police lines. They felt the streets belonged to them. That, too, is the lesson from Europe. History or controversy weighs heavily on forces facing unrest.

There is no excuse for rioting. It should be crushed without mercy. Violent civil?disobedience?must be met with force. Perhaps we could loan?the?UK government Crusher to sort out the rioters.