Loyal Followers

Thursday, August 11, 2011

London riots #2

Someone sent a posting to a legal group (of which I am a member) of an article by Sir Hugh Orde, the President of the Association of Chief Police Officers, England to the Guardian today.

Sir Hugh’ article is in response to David  Cameron’s call for more extreme measures – such as water cannons and batons – to be taken by the police in order to deal with the current rioting in England. That article is published in the Guardian's website.

I would like to reproduce what Sir Hugh says as it demonstrate an approach to policing as yet unknown to all of us.

First and foremost he says:

“One of the greatest strengths of British policing is that operational decision-making is conducted not by politicians, but by professional chief police officers who have spent their whole career in policing. While David Cameron today referred to some of the more extreme measures available to us, they are not new, and responsibility for their deployment remains entirely a matter for chief officers. There can be no confusion here at all; it is a fact that we cannot be ordered to police in a certain way but we will be held robustly accountable for what we choose to do or not do.”

On the usage of water cannons and batons, this is what he says:

“As one of only two officers in the country to have ordered the use of water cannon and baton rounds in public-order policing, my professional judgment is it would be the wrong tactic, in the wrong circumstances at this moment. Both require an extremely precise situation. The use of water cannon, while logistically difficult, works against large stationary crowds throwing missiles at police or, as I witnessed in Northern Ireland, at other communities. It achieves distance between police and unlawful crowds that is often vital.

Utilising baton rounds, an even more severe tactic, is fundamentally to protect life. When I ordered their use, again in Northern Ireland, my officers were being attacked by blast bombs and live fire. I would always use both with a heavy heart, but it is always an issue of proportionality.”

The rationale for policing which he takes is as follows:

“What we have seen so far is not soft policing, and although I understand the enthusiasm of politicians and communities for robust measures, excessive force will destroy our model of policing in the long term. What we must hang on to in all of this is the British model of policing, premised on human rights and the minimum use of force.(emphasis is mine)

This is a quotable quote:

“We police with consent and must be professional, proportionate, fair and justifiable to the public at all times.”

Meanwhile, back at home, our Deputy IGP was quoted by a report saying:

“…we are able to avoid these scary and tragic scenes  (referring to the London riots) from erupting here in our beloved country.”

“These are the nightmares that we are fighting hard to avoid and prevent. Street protest should always be avoided as we will never know what it can turn into.”

I don’t know which approach is better. There are always two sides to the coin. In Malaysia  right now, there are two extremes sandwiching a small middle section.

I will let Malaysians decide which one they prefer.


Anonymous said...

Dear Art Sir!
I hope you are not trying (as you always did) to justify the Bersih & it pros on "berdemo" on whatever rights they may want to pursue. We have to accept the fact that our PDRM has done a good job in manning the situation,anticipating correctly with pre-emptive moves to protect the right of majority .Remember, there are calls from political parties to bring 100 thousands of supporters to Bersih 2.0...and the total chaos & looting that we are seeing in North London rite now was started just by a "peaceful protesting demo/marching" by a group of people, suddenly swells to mobs n rioters -turned arsonists, equipped with molotov cocktails.I cannot imagine what will happen to KL then, what 100 thousands (even only 10%) of "unhappy" people could do to KL then?.. may be it still burning until now. (I still remember there are sectors accusing PDRM are the ones planted the molotov & parangs found in Jalan TAR). 1st world doesnt guarantee us that all of it inhabitants have all the 1st class mentality. Thank You PDRM.

Niv said...

This comment is for the first comment of this post.

The looting in London is NOT because of a peaceful demonstration. It's partly because the peaceful demonstrations (and an entire generation of Brits) have been ignored. Noted here: (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/anarchy-reigns-and-a-nation-struggles-to-understand-why-20110809-1il4a.html).

When you keep suppressing your people and limiting their choices.. what do you expect to happen?

I do not condone looting/anarchy but expecting people deprived of the basic necessities to merely sit quietly and obey... is cruel, and a little naive.

As for the PDRM (in regards to Bersih), manning water cannons and tear gas is not correct anticipation. It's called bullying! and shooting water cannons and tear gas into a hospital is just Madness.

I respect both those who choose to exercise their right to demonstrate as well as those who don't.

But you don’t have the right to deprive others of that choice, because you don’t have the guts to stand up for what you believe in.

And great article Art.

Tiger said...

To each their own.
First and foremost, I don't deny that our PDRM is indeed one of the finest in the world.
Unfortunately, somehow, the top in PDRM has to listen to BN for some unknown reasons.
For the debacle that PDRM turned Bersih into, the IGP should resign if he had any honor or guts.
I would like to see the world's reaction if the British bobbies sent tear gas and chemical-laced water in the crowd FIRST.

Anonymous said...


Its no point referring to the brain dead deputy IGP who "rose" to his position by being a sycophant to the previous IGP, current IGP and of course the PM himself.

Leithaisor said...

I think there is always going to be a large measure of comflict between the ideal and what is practical. Rights are good, but those at the forefront of conflicts will always be confronted with tough, sometimes split-second, decisions.

Ideally an innocent citizen should never be shot by the armed forces, but I can imagine even the most pricipled soldier may unfortunately end up shooting one during something like the Emergency.

Even in Britain, there have been cases of innocent people shot by the police, like Jean Charles de Menezes during the 2005 London bombings. And some of the officers involved apparently tried to lie. But in the end, a proper inquiry was held and the police force found guilty and fined.

Compared to the Glenmarie shooting case for instance, with its reports of shots being fired from something like 45 degrees above the deceased, and the police claimed that the deceased "charged" at them?

The Kugan death? Guna? And the hundreds who have died in police detention?

And the continued denials by the government and the police that teargas was fired into Tung Shin Hospital?

It all boils down to whether there is a proper system of check and balance, accountability and simply, how trustworthy those entrusted with the weapons, power and discretion are.

I would like to be able to say that I trust the PDRM. And the Home Minister. And the Prime Minister.

But with their track record, I can find no grounds to daydream.

Cruzeiro said...

I echo Anonymous(e) above ...
They should blow all demonstrators to smithereens and let God sort 'em out later ...

Therefore I suggest the best thing that PDRM get some Eurocopters with cluster bombs to do carpet bombing next- they will definitely "Keep the Peace & Order" that way ...

Aiyoo ... why la there are such people in this world- what sin did I commit in my last life, ah?

Cruzeiro said...

I refer to Anon 12:27

KoSong Cafe said...

I was listening to British PM's speech in the House of Commons and it was so politically correct, forceful yet reasonable to a fault. The use of water cannons is only if and when necessary, unlike our police who seem to use it as routine when dealing with peaceful demonstrators. Both leaders of the political divide respected each other in their speeches and united in their efforts to deal with thugs and criminals under the guise of victims of circumstances.

Anonymous said...

Bersih 2.0: Merakam Semangat Zaman/Capturing The Spirit Of The Times - An essay and short story writing competition in Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Inggeris.

More than RM6,000 worth of cash, books and a super cool limited edition diskopi's bersih t-shirt "melawan atas jalan bukan hanya atas talian" to be won + a chance to get your writings published in a book to be launched this year!

For those interested to capture the zeitgeist of our era through essay or short story and won those prizes please check it out the details, terms and conditions of the competition at:


You can also download the competition poster in jpeg files at diskopi blog and publicised it in your blog and facebook.

And please spread the good words to all your online and offline friends.


Rick said...

I think many (I means those pro-BN Malaysian) still do not understand what Sir Hugh is trying to tell. In UK, the police do not take instruction from the politician! They are independent professional and they will execute their duty as a professional with their "Raykat" in mind. In Malaysia, our PDRM is extended arm of BN and take whatever instruction from the government, there is no such concept as "Rakyat" first. Our deputy IGP compare Bersih 2.0 with the UK riot, base on the same logic, I think we could compare PDRM with the armed gangster and robber since they all carry gun and shot people to dead.

Anonymous said...

I think you r missing the boat. British PM (& political parties) have agreed that the "Bobbies' be given powers to be more robust (read : pro-active & aggresive) in their approaches and these include baton-charging and using water cannons, if need arises. Perhaps, they want their Bobbies to just emulate PDRM...ha ha.

Ko Song Cafe,
yeah, you were "almost" right on timely manner of using water canons. In north London, sadly it was a little late, Bobbies had to use it to overcome the towering inferno(s), whilst in the "3rd world" KL, it was somekind of pre-emptive maneuvre by PDRM to kill-off the "burning desires" of Bersih 2.0et. al, some might be just "sickos" and anarchists hiding under the scull caps & yellow Tshirts...

Jeyan said...

Sick and tired of people trying to equate London riots with BERSIH . The london rooters are no more than a bunch of looters and thugs expecting the country and other UK citizens to owe them a living. They filled with hatred towards their society as they felt , in their mind , let down. BERSIH on the other hand, were people who deeply felt love for the country who feel sadness and concern of where we were headed as a nation. It was like a catch 22 situation. We r supposed to make our feelings known tru elections but if the whole elections process is flawed , how do we do that. There is no doubt how flawed the system his, Gerrymandering, phantom voters , ? Citizenship for votes etc. In fact , many people who participated in BERSIH did not want to march at all. They were fearful for their lives and their family but they did what they did for the country. In fact alk reports of violence were from the police and FRU . It would have been a very peaceful march if the police had provided a route and monitored the marchers along the route. So it is unfair to equate thousands of peace loving citizens expressing their desire to have better country with a bunch of looters who want the good things in live but not wanting to work for it

BoBo said...

The author fails to see that people just do not go out looting and destroying things just for one person's death, especially in advanced and developed democracies like England. You certainly shouldn't have seen a student like Mohammad Asyraf being mobbed.

See, there is an underlying and deep seated angst in the state of affairs of things in the UK, the bad shape of economy they're currently in. When an accountant can't even find a decent job and has to resort to the hourly wage at McD's to make ends meet, what do you expect?

So same goes Bersih or any other 'peaceful' march, it could turn out ugly as the London riots. Bersih may start out as a peaceful march for free elections, but remember, in rallies, the objectives can become blurry, intermixed with other perceived injustices the lot may have thought themselves to be suffering. And if you add to the fact that political parties are involved in the march, it has become, well, politicized. And in rallies, people transform, like herds, they take on a different collective mind of the masses, the mob mentality. By then, do you think the organisers can really guarantee for a peaceful march?

I doubt it bro :P

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