Pc Simon Harwood – Peels View

I have written this post following the court result in the Ian Tomlinson case.

If you do not know what case I am talking about it is a trial that ended this week after a police officer named Simon Harwood was filmed hitting a man with a baton and pushing him to the floor. A short while later that man who was called Ian Tomlinson died.

This case has obviously attracted massive media interest. I have mixed views of the media but experience has proven that the media will write anything to sell a paper or make a story even if that means bending the truth, adding or taking away vital facts or even telling the occasional lie. This claim is made from personal experience. I ask you to bear this in mind whilst reading this post.

Any loss of life is tragic and I do feel for the family of Ian Tomlinson. At the same time I do feel that the media have successfully done their bit to stir the pot in what seems a constant lets make the police look bad again attitude.

Tomlinson died during the G20 protests. The first Post Mortem concluded he had died of natural causes through a heart attack. This post mortem being carried out two days after the death.

Four days after the death the attached video was released by The Guardian newspaper.

This short clip shows Pc Harwood shove Tomlinson as he appeared to be walking off with his hands in his pockets. This video prompted an investigation by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Further post mortems concluded that Tomlinson had died as a result of internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma to the abdomen in association with Cirrhosis of the liver. Tomlinson is reported to have been an alcoholic which would lead to Cirrhosis of the liver.

The CPS refused to bring criminal charges against Pc Harwood due to the conflicting post mortems. One of the post mortems must be incorrect but which one? This decision was reversed when an Inquest made a verdict of unlawful killing and this is how Pc Harwood ended up in the dock.

The criminal case concluded this week with Pc Harwood being found not guilty. Since this verdict there has been lots of media coverage but from what I hear this would appear to be very one sided and targeted at Pc Harwood and the police.

Police use of force has always been a sensitive issue. I hear people everyday complaining about it. They do it having been arrested or after seeing a snap shot of a incident in the street where they have not see what happened in the period leading up to that force. That said I do disagree with the actions of Pc Harwood in that short video. Tomlinson was walking off and had his hands in his pockets. At that precise point Tomlinson was no threat and in my opinion that incident of force was unlawful. However had Tomlinson at that exact point been trying to push past the line that Harwood was in then yes a shove may have been justified.

However I do not believe the complete picture was shown in that video. The honest media must not have been given footage of the build up to that shove which may show the public why It happened in the first place! Why would the media show this build up? It wont sell papers or attract viewers will it?  BUT showing the police at fault will.

There is lots of coverage of this case in the papers and again I believe this is completely one sided. For example I have been told that during the trial Tomlinson was said to have been drunk and abusive to police. He is said to have been trying to break through police lines and in this instance a shove MAY have been justified. However I have not seen ONE media source reporting that information! I can only conclude that every journalist was on a tea break at that point in the trial!

If you are going to report on a story cover it all or do not bother! Do not pick the “juicy bits” and paint an inaccurate picture. Its not fair. Now before you say this does not happen IT DOES! I have attended incidents where a official press release as been released and when you read what the press have published you will find yourself wondering if they are writing about the same thing.

The media have however done a good thing in highlighting the complaints that have been made against Pc Harwood. Every police officer gets complaints but some of those made against Pc Harwood (if true) make him not suitable to hold the Office Of Constable.

Pc Harwood is said to have been involved in an off duty road rage incident in which he assaulted someone and then arrested them for assaulting him. Before any investigation could take place into his actions he resigned from the Met returning a few days later as a civilian member of staff.

After a year Pc Harwood joined Surrey as a Police Officer. Here a COLLEAGUE complained about his use of force. The complaint did not result in any action. Harwood then returned to the Met and he joined the TSG which is their public order unit.

Other complaints had been made against Harwood during his career. I have had complaints made against me. Its part of the job. IF the accuracy of what has been reported about Harwoods history of complaints is true then the Met seriously failed and lessons need to be learned.

The nature of complaints made against Harwood should have set off alarm bells. He should never have been allowed to rejoin the Met having dodged one investigation.

The point that I am making in this post is this. Harwood may have been in the wrong but in my opinion the media have a duty to report the truth. They should not cherry pick the bits they want. Tomlinson had his faults and yes it is tragic that he died. I feel for the family. I was not there when this tragic event happened. The media in my opinion have a constant campaign to make the police look bad. Yes we get things wrong from time to time but so do the media. I wont start on Rupert Murdoch! We as citizens have a duty to help make society a better place so please media can we start having some HONEST reporting and who knows maybe some coverage of the success stories and good work that police do. Look at the riots in 1981. A massive factor in that was hatred towards the police (yes and in some cases they deserved it) but constantly having a pop at us DAMAGES society and does not help it.

Thank you for reading and as always I value your feedback.

London – Days Before The Formation Of The Met Police

There are many conflicting views of when the first form of policing hit the streets of London. Policing however can be traced back to before the days of the likes of the Tudor and Stuart periods. In these days policing was traditionally done by the Army. Soldiers would follow basic orders but did not have overall responsiblity for the prevention and detection of crime.

I could spend a lifetime looking back looking for the answer to the question – When was the first form of Policing introduced in London? For the purposes of ease I am going to start this Blog on the days before the official formation of the Metropolitan Police.

The Current Metropolitan police Logo

The Metropolitan Police (Met Police) was officially formed in 1829 after Parliament passed the Metropolitan Police Act 1829 that had been proposed by the then Home Secretary Sir Robert Peel. As with the question about the first police we do not have a lot of information to answer the question about why the police were formed in the first place.

No crime statistics exist and from information available it would appear that London was seen as a lawless and violent place to be especially at night. What we do know is that in 1798 Marine Police were set up to deter theft from the docks. This form of first Police in London did not wear uniforms but were heavily armed to protect the docks against Pirates.

Although the Marine Police did exist, the same could not be said for the streets. People are said to have run riot committing crime as there was no worries about punishment. People would steal and rob each other and the streets of London were deemed to be unsafe.

A drawing of a Watchman

What did exist were men who operated as Watchmen who would conduct street patrols. Watchmen were not liked by the residents of London as they were corrupt and ineffective. It is said that Watchmen would simply look on whilst women would get forcibly kidnapped in front of them. There were also incidents of Watchmen taking a cut of stolen items that had been stolen by the very people the Watchmen were designed to deter.

In 1805 a foot and horse patrol service started that operated out of Bow Street Magistrates. This service would be the base for Sir Robert Peels Metropolitan Police years later. The Bow Street Patrols were formed by a Chief magistrate called Richard Ford and they wore red coats as uniform.

A drawing showing Bow Street – Source Wikipedia

Prior to the Bow Street runners in 1753 a man called Henry Fielding had formed the Bow Street Runners who are said to be the first organised Detective Service in the Country. They would operate alongside Bounty Hunter type forms of law enforcement who were people who would catch criminals and would be paid a fee on each arrest.

The Bow Street Patrols are said to have been more successful and by 1821 they had around 100 officers who would patrol the streets. The Bow Street Patrols remained in place until the formation of the Met Police in 1829.

This Blog has been written to give you a basic understanding of how things were in the days prior to the formation of the Met Police. This area of history is very unclear and can be researched in more detail. This short Blog provides a platform for my next Blog post that will cover the formation of the Met Police. You can look up The Bow Street Runners and The Bow Street Patrols online using web sites such as Wikipedia.

I bid you farewell and thank you for reading this first Blog into the history of the Met Police.