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Friday 10 December 2010

Weakness, Not Strength

After another day of student protests, where the accusations of police using excessive force were rather more widespread than before, there was yet more “kettling”, this time on Westminster Bridge. And then a middle aged couple got their Roller kicked and scratched while en route to the theatre.

There have been so many column inches devoted to yesterday’s events by the assembled hackery of the Fourth Estate that it is at first difficult to cut through all the flannel to get to the heart of the matter. But cut through we need to do, to be able to grasp a simple and potentially disturbing fact.

The police may have appeared to the protesters to be coming from a position of strength, given the sheer numbers deployed, along with the use of officers on horseback, but the attack on the royal Rolls is what gave the game away. That was the straw that broke this particular camel’s back.

Because the police were so close to full stretch dealing with the student protests that they lost track of many on the fringe of the demonstration. Moreover, they then failed to take on board that the usual level of royal protection might not serve if protesters and royals were to meet. Or, whisper it quietly, they may have had no resources in reserve.

And this is before the rounds of spending cuts that will reduce police numbers across the country, including at the Met. Despite the impression of strength that may have been given by kettling, and horse and baton charges, when Charles and Camilla encountered their little local difficulty, it exposed weakness instead.

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