Commissioner reveals "real concern" over G20 policing

Officers lacked training says commander

The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson, has described footage of police apparently attacking G20 demonstrators as a “real concern” and promised that that matter would be “thoroughly investigated”.

However, Stephenson, questioned yesterday by the Home Affairs Select Committee, denied that the scenes demonstrated behaviour incompatible with British policing. He said: “No that's not my view. My view is that I am concerned with what I saw and it should be investigated.”

The central controversy remains the death of newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, 47, who died shortly after he was pushed to the ground by a police officer.

MPs on the committee were also told by a police commander that officers had not received sufficient training in crowd control. Commander Bob Broadhurst, who was in charge of policing the G20 demonstration, told the committee that offices received just two days of crowd control training a year.

“The vast majority of those officers have never faced a situation as violent as that,” he said. “I do have a concern that some of our officers have not faced that. I would like to train them more but we don't have the time.”

But he described the performance of most officers as “superb” given the obstacles they faced.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is continuing its inquiry into the death of Tomlinson and one officer involved remains suspended.

The IPCC last week announced that it was beginning a new investigation into whether police misled the public over Tomlinson’s death. It was originally thought that he had died of a heart attack several minutes after he was pushed, but the cause of death was later revealed to be internal bleeding.

Broadhurst yesterday defended the statement he made after the death and said it was based on the evidence available at the time. “I wrote it. I stand by my statement,” he said.