Posted by: Ian | April 19, 2009

Policing by Consent?

It seems to me that the police are knee deep in it as the fall-out from the G20 protests continue. There is now footage of a third incident with someone getting smashed in the face with a riot shield.

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The problem is that the assumption of policing in this country is that it is done ‘by consent’ of the populace, as the IPCC are finally realising. In other words, the way that laws are upheld are supposed to be methods that the public find acceptable. This is, of course, in theory. The increasing authoritarianism of governments is probably the strongest argument for a system of democracy that limits how long a person (or party) can stay in power.

I saw the same approach during the Poll Tax protests in 1990 (and sported a bloody nose to remember it by!), and it is when governments forget that they govern by the consent of the public, and that the police are there to allow protest, not prevent it.

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