Police chief warns of new era of violent protests

Thursday, November 25, 2010
By Paul Martin

A new era of violent protests on Britain’s streets has begun as the nation prepares for cuts to public services, the head of the Metropolitan Police has warned.

By Richard Edwards
25 Nov 2010

Sir Paul Stephenson said his officers had failed to predict the change in mood among demonstrators before the Millbank riot two weeks ago.

Britain’s most senior police officer said the violence, which saw anarchists and students run amok through buildings housing the Conservative Party headquarters illustrated that “the game has changed”.

He said police would be prepared for a more robust response to future protests, as demonstrated yesterday when riot officers used controversial ‘kettling’ tactics to marshall crowds.

Speaking at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) at City Hall, Sir Paul said the ”likelihood is for more disorder on our streets”.

He said: ”We have been going through a period where we have not seen that sort of violent disorder.

”We had dealt with student organisers before and I think we based it too much on history. If we follow an intelligence-based model that stops you doing that.

”Obviously you realise the game has changed. Regrettably, the game has changed and we must act.”

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