Tag Archives: London

Not FIT for purpose? Police ‘Forward Intelligence Team’ implicated in student protest fit-up

Remember the Forward Intelligence Teams? Well, camera-wielding cops are back in the news again, this time in relation to the policing of the anti-cuts and student protests that exploded across the country at the end of last year. It seems that at least one FIT officer – according to the London Evening Standard – has been implicated in a shameless attempt to fit up a protester on false charges at the ‘DayX3’ protest on 9 December.

Unfortunately for the police involved it seems that the FIT cop was wired for sound and, after catching a young protester who had “breached a police cordon”, that officer was apparently recorded as he “conspired to falsely arrest the 20-year-old” with his colleagues. The arrestee sustained a broken tooth in the arrest. The circumstances are now being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

You may remember that the FIT has history with the IPCC. Experienced FIT cops, including PC Alan Palfrey from Camden, PC Steve Discombe and others, witnessed the deadly assault on Ian Tomlinson by riot cop PC Simon Harwood at the 2009 G20 protests, but failed to come forward and give evidence until long after the original police narrative (‘a tragic collapse/police under hail of missiles’) had been discredited. Their unwillingness to come forward helped stymy attempts to properly investigate the circumstances of Mr Tomlinson’s death, and Harwood – a veteran on the Territorial Support Group – was able to avoid justice as the clock ran down in his favour. The Crown Prosecution Service announced in July 2010 that no charges would be brought against Harwood.

So just what legitimate purpose do the FITs serve? We have seen, as with the Tomlinson case, that these so-called experts in political protest are not actually very good at identifying ‘domestic extremists‘ (as their bosses in the publicly unaccountable National Public Order Information Unit like to call any protesters they don’t like – which boils down to anyone involved in effective activism) – otherwise why would they point out a luckless bystander like Ian Tomlinson for TSG special treatment?

We have also seen FIT officers direct violent attacks on activists when they question why some cops are not wearing their identifying numbers in order to have them photographed against their will, even when they knew full well who they were, in a manner consistent not with any desire to maintain public order or to prevent crime, but to embarrass, humiliate or otherwise harm recalcitrant protesters.

And now we appear to have FIT cops directly involved in brazen attempts to subvert the law, and possibly even to assault those they do not like.

But then should we expect anything else? The FITs are police units tasked with ‘harassment policing’ – identifying, surveilling, folllowing and hassling persons of interest in a range of fields, be it in relation to football fans, antisocial behaviour on housing estates or political protest. Their targets might never have committed an offence; but then that is the point – this is, after all, harassment policing, in which the message is loud and clear: if you come onto our radar, we will do our best to intimidate you, scare you, threaten you.

No, the reason the FIT are tolerated, nurtured, supported by the police is clear – to make life uncomfortable for anyone who challenges the status quo, to grind down those who fight against injustices and inequalities (by means legal or otherwise), and to dissuade others from taking action by illustrating just how unpleasant it can be. It’s education in action: pour encourager les autres.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: Metropolitan Police officer ‘T3’

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: Metropolitan Police officer ‘T3’

Just because the media circus has for the most part rolled out to the next town in Sensationland does not mean we have forgotten that many police officers were witness to the deadly assault on Ian Tomlinson on Wednesday 1st April 2009.

Today we turn our attention to the officer labelled throughout this series as ‘T3’.

Some points to note:

  • Definitely male
  • Rather ruddy face
  • 9 o’clock shadow/stubble
  • No numbers on epaulettes
  • No balaclava
  • Helmet chinstrap drawn tight
  • Black gloves
  • Right-handed baton grip
  • Hi-viz jacket opened at top, level with breast badge

Again, if you recognise this officer – one of at least eighteen who saw the deadly assault on Ian Tomlinson, then please speak out.

If you took or have seen a photograph of this police officer elsewhere, please check to see if a shoulder number – or any other means of identification – is visible in that picture.

Ian Tomlinson, RIP. Dead, but not forgotten.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: Metropolitan Police officer ‘T2’

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: Metropolitan Police officer ‘T2’

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: Metropolitan Police officer ‘T2’

Continuing with our ‘G20 Police Witnesses IDed‘ project, here’s the Metropolitan Police officer we are currently labelling as ‘T2’ – thought to be a Level 2-trained borough officer.

Note:

  • Black balaclava pulled down to just below the nose
  • T-shaped black shield grip on riot shield
  • Right-handed grip on extendable baton
  • Black gloves
  • Shorter than other officers at the scene (possibly a female officer?)

Again, if you recognise this officer – one of at least eighteen who saw the deadly assault on Ian Tomlinson, then please speak out.

If you took or have seen a photograph of this police officer elsewhere, please check to see if the shoulder number in that picture is clearer than here.

Ian Tomlinson, RIP. Dead, but not forgotten.

ETA (1/4/11):

The Tomlinson Inquest is now underway, and officer ‘T2’ has been identified as PC Kerry Smith, a van driver based in Fulham.

PC Smith gave evidence in which she said she was “shocked by the forcefulness of the push” which PC Simon Harwood unleashed upon Ian Tomlinson, causing him to fly head first into the pavement.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: Metropolitan Police officer ‘T1’

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: Metropolitan Police officer 'T1'

It has been a while since last I posted about the killing of Ian Tomlinson, but like many, I have not forgotten. Today I return to the venture of trying to identify the police officers present at the deadly assault on Mr Tomlinson at Royal Exchange Buildings in central London back on Wednesday 1st April 2009.

Here we have one of the three officers labeled in these blog posts with the letter T. Initially this was because by their dress – with riot helmets and riot shields, and balaclavas on some of them – and by the way they moved together, as a unit, in a manner which suggested drill training, it seemed possible that they were Territorial Support Group (TSG) officers. Indeed, it has subsequently transpired that the officer who actually assaulted Ian Tomlinson in this incident (labeled here as ‘A’) – an officer dressed in a similar fashion, though acting apart from the ‘T’ trio – is a TSG officer.

However, as a commenter on this blog pointed out, and as is reasonably clear from the pictures of officer ‘T1’ here, the ‘T’s shoulder numbers indicate that they are instead what is known as ‘Level 2’s. That is, they are not members of the TSG (a unit which is separate from the borough-based structure of the regular police, and given the shoulder number prefix ‘U’) but local officers used as a tactical reserve to the TSG in public order situations such as the G20 protests under the MAST scheme. They are trained in the same skills and tactics as the full-time TSG, but for four days per year instead of approximately ten days per year for TSG officers (source: Metropolitan Police website via Internet Archive). These Level 2 officers wear their normal shoulder numbers.

As can be seen from the pictures above, ‘T1’ appears to have a double character letter prefix on his epaulette, indicating that he is a borough officer, as well as a three digit number.

Other things to note about officer ‘T1’ include:

  • Black balaclava pulled down to just below the nose
  • Distinctive black button badge over right breast
  • ‘Oblong-over-octagon’ black shield grip on riot shield
  • Right-handed grip on ‘public order long baton’
  • Black gloves
  • Possibly green or blue eyes

If you recognise this officer – one of at least eighteen who saw the deadly assault on Ian Tomlinson, then please speak out.

If you took or have seen a photograph of this police officer elsewhere (perhaps you recognise the badge), please check to see if the shoulder number in that picture is clearer than here.

Above all, please keep up the pressure, please do not forget, please do not let this be swept under the carpet. This is too important to simply leave in the hands of the IPCC, which has just announced that a police officer found wantonly altering notes on the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes will not face any charges.

By way of a postscript, the United Campaign Against Police Violence has been set up in response to the killing of Ian Tomlinson and others by the police, and it continues to keep the pressure up on the IPCC and the police.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: ‘D1’ positively identified as CP807

Witnesses to G20 Ian Tomlinson assault 1/4/9 (1)

Photographer Marcus Bensasson has come forward with some very good photographs from both Tuesday 31st March and Wednesday 1st April (the actual day of the G20 protests).

They clearly show that the City of London Police dog handler labelled here and elsewhere as ‘D1’ – a witness to the deadly assault on Ian Tomlinson – bears the shoulder number CP807.

In Marcus’ own words:

I saw him the day before the G20 protests outside the Bank of England at around about 2.30pm. I was just passing by and was in the right place at the right time when a suspect package was found and the place was cordoned off while the bomb squad dealt with it. He was the first one to brief the press on what was going on.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: CP807 aka 'D1'

City of London Police dog handler CP807 (aka ‘D1’) at bomb scare on 31st March 2009 (cropped from picture by Marcus Bensasson)

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: CP807 aka 'D1'

City of London Police dog handler CP807 (aka ‘D1’) at bomb scare on 31st March 2009 (original picture by Marcus Bensasson)

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: CP807 aka 'D1'

City of London Police dog handler CP807 (aka ‘D1’) at bomb scare on 31st March 2009 (cropped from picture by Marcus Bensasson)

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: CP807 aka 'D1'

City of London Police dog handler CP807 (aka ‘D1’) at bomb scare on 31st March 2009 (original picture by Marcus Bensasson)

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: CP807 aka 'D1'

City of London Police dog handler CP807 (aka ‘D1’) at bomb scare on 31st March 2009 (cropped from picture by Marcus Bensasson)

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: CP807 aka 'D1'

City of London Police dog handler CP807 (aka ‘D1’) at bomb scare on 31st March 2009 (original picture by Marcus Bensasson)

Marcus continues:

I next saw him on April 1 on Leadenhall Street a little before 8.30pm, after the police had cleared protesters off Cornhill. Recognising him from the day before, I decided to take a picture. Then on April 8 when the Guardian published stills from the video of Tomlinson being assaulted I realised that it was the same guy. Seeing the pictures of him on your blog confirmed this to me.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: CP807 aka 'D1'

City of London Police dog handler CP807 (aka ‘D1’) at G20 protests on 1st April 2009 (lightened version of original picture by Marcus Bensasson)

You can see more of Marcus Bensasson’s photography from the G20 protests in his Cornhill Flickr set.

Many thanks to him (and the other photographers, witnesses, commenters and citizen investigators) for helping to shine a light on the circumstances of the death of Ian Tomlinson.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: ‘U3’

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: 'U3'

Witnesses to G20 Ian Tomlinson assault 1/4/9 (28)

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: 'U3'

U3 wears a hi-viz jacket, but seemingly no headgear. He can be briefly seen near U2 by the fountain as Ian Tomlinson staggers off.

As with U2, it is not clear whether U3 is a police officer, but he definitely seems to be standing within the cluster of police officers behind the fountain without suffering any harassment, unlike Ian Tomlinson.

G20 Police Witnesses IDed: ‘U2’

G20 Police Witnesses IDed - 'U2'

Witnesses to G20 Ian Tomlinson assault 1/4/9 (28)

U2 wears no headgear and seems to be in a black or dark coloured jacket, boilersuit or similar. He appears to be balding or to have close-cropped hair. He stands near to F5 behind the fountain.

It is by no means clear that he is a police officer, but he definitely seems to be standing within the cluster of police officers behind the fountain without suffering any harassment, unlike Ian Tomlinson.