Ban "kettling". It is a clear infringement of a democratic right. Call it: Don't Put the Kettle On.
Kettling, also known as containment or corralling is a police tactic for the management of large crowds during demonstrations or protests. It involves the formation of large cordons of police officers who then move to contain a crowd within a limited area. On the 24th November 2010, this tactic was used against children who were protesting against education cuts. The children were detained, many for over 6hrs in near freezing temperatures with no food, water or toilet facilities and no access to information about when they would be released. Many children were terrified; all were cold. If the British Police Force cannot distinguish between frightened children and violent activists then they should not be trusted with the power to employ such tactics as Kettling.
Peter bowler commented
Do us a favour, knock it on the head. Pick up the bad guys and leave the innocent to go about their day, free to relieve their bladders when they need to.
it often includes people who are not imvolved in any crime, who are peacefully protesting or just passing
Chris Wilson commented
Glasgow Uni alumni, Dundee Uni postgrad student, open source software developer and member of the Ubuntu project. Kettling is a cruel practice that is being increasingly used by police as a means of intimidating dissenters.
It doesn't achieve it's stated objectives. Increases chance of violence; reduces chance of catching perpetrators. And it's a Human Rights violation. Nasty.
Kettling does nothing but inflame an already volatile situation & should be banned.
Matthew Gaffen commented
Kettling infringes basic human rights, why is it even legal?
Its only one short step to gunfire....
Patrick Orr commented
Glasgow Uni student in Spanish and French and proud GU Occupier... having been on tuesday witness to incredibly police heavy handedness in the veiction of our occupation i completely support this.
Joe Turnbull commented
Kettling is a violation of human rights, and no matter what the police or the puppet media like the bbc say, it was the tactic of kettling combined with cavalry charges that caused the so called "violence" during the student protests. I'm sorry but keeping people crushed in freezing conditions as young as 12 years old, for 9 hours is a disgrace.
Catherine markey commented
This is an outrageous tactic to scare people off exercising their right to peaceful protest.
Jenny Jones AM commented
As a Police Authority member I have argued that the police cannot be trusted with such a powerful tactic. It deprives innocent people of their liberty and their human rights.
Dijon Wall commented
That police used this hideous tactic on women and children should make people sick with outrage. This will go down in the depressing annals of history along with force feeding of the suffragettes, waterboarding and the black & tans (ad infinitum).
Anna Machell commented
I was kettled in Parliament Sq on 09/12/10 and then moved to Westminster Bridge into another kettle in the freezing cold. I had no access to toilet facilities or water. In order to leave, after 4 hrs of attempting to leave, I was required to pass by myself between lines of riot police, a frightening experience. At no point had I done anything that could be misinterpreted as 'violence' or even aggression. What sympathy I had with the police that day took as big a battering as the head of a friend of mine. It hasn't recovered. Kettling is a clear attempt to provoke otherwise peaceable people into the kind of desperate response one sees from a caged animal. It is a disgrace.
Polly's Put the kettle On commented
Just watch this video - you won't be in any doubt. Kettling is not preventing violence. Kettling IS violence - and its purpose is to stifle and deter dissent.
Quite right that the police themselves are being taken to court for this kind of violent behaviour. I'm sure it would be right for a coalition of protest groups to impose a "no kettling zone" over London this weekend of 26 March. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2011/mar/21/g20-protest-police-tactics
Elizabeth Ash commented
Clearly an infringement of democratic right to peaceful protest. Am truly shocked at incidents caught on film of innocent citizens hit, pushed or punched whilst displaying open, defensive, cowering body language. Denying people right to leave or access to facilities downright inhumane. This just serves to punish those who do nothing wrong, escalate fear, quash freedom to protest peacefully. Proper controls need to be put in place. Deal with few properly rather than metre out punishment and harsh treatment to all. Do a proper job!
A very dangerous (for democracy) direction to be heading in.
Maxwell Scruttock commented
Kettling is very repressive and likely to actually provoke violence rather than "control" it - or is this the whole idea? Scare the hell out of people with the threats of beatings, denial of access to water and toilets so they don't protest?
It smells like this to me - fascist social engineering.
holding back the river commented
In reply to "Stephen" below, it is really not complicated at all. Police need to arrest people who are breaking the law and leave others alone. If there is a speeding car on the motorway, we don't expect police to stop all drivers.
Police tactics in relation to kettling have very little to do with preventing violence, and a lot to do with deterring protest.
Do you imagine that there is, for some inexplicable reason, a large body of people intent on "mindless violence?" Surely a more rational explanation is that there are very large numbers of people very angry with a government intent on imposing policies for which it has absolutely no mandat. (eg NHS privatisation.)
These threadbare arguments justifying police kettling have never stood up to intelligent scrutiny. Indeed, on this site the police have been asked to engage in the debate, but have never been able to do so.
Look at objective analysis of police tactics. Both the HMIC and the IPCC reports raised serious concerns about police tactics and yet kettling goes on.
It is utterly shameful that, at a time when UK armed forces are engaged in a military exercise, supposedly designed to support peaceful protest in Lybia, that there are angry UK citizens too frightened to go on a protest because of their fear of police kettling and other tactics.
Yes, there are simple solutions: stop political policing; stop kettling; and ensure a publicly funded police force uses its professionalism to arrest lawbreakers and leave others alone. More than this, the police actually have a duty to facilitate peaceful protest. (This is not opinion, it's the law.) They are not doing it.
Annik Piriou commented
Kettling is collective punishment and so should be illegal.
kettling is in inhumane, but what do you suggest for violant protesters that intend to cause damage and commit crime? Rubber bullets? Water canons? The simple fact is that some protests turn into mass criminal damage events as per the Student protests. Why should other peoples stuff get damaged while police stand idly by? The police have very few tools for large scale public order management and have a hard job. Instead of complaining about whats wrong, come up with a sensible answer that will work for controlling large groups intent on disruption and criminal damage.