The Metropolitan Police Authority is in session and Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse AM DCiC* PSPCC** is in the Chair. Sir Paul Stephenson, the Commissioner, is reporting on the student protests both yesterday and two weeks ago when what he describes as “unexpected disorder” took place.
According to the Commissioner, the Metropolitan Police “got it wrong” two weeks ago and that they were slow to recognise that “the game has changed” – presumably meaning that the Conservative Coalition is going to attract a higher level of protest than its predecessor (presumably the demonstrations against the Iraq war and those organised by the Countryside Alliance were a piece of cake compared with the National Union of Students).
He also made the interesting comment that “social networking sites are not intelligence” – a comment that may have a wider relevance than he intended.
Although there was no “unexpected disorder” within the meeting, a surreal discussion then developed about the welfare of those who were “contained” (Sir Paul)/”kettled” (Jennette Arnold AM)/”imprisoned” (Jenny Jones AM) in Whitehall and, in particular, when toilet facilities were provided to them, about whether the coldness of the weather was considered and what arrangements were made to communicate with the parents of any schoolchildren who were within the area. Until I intervened, there was no mention of the personal responsibility of those choosing to go on demonstrations to ensure they are suitably attired or communicate with their parents where appropriate.
*Dog Catcher in Chief
**Putative Surrogate Policing and Crime Commissioner