G20 Death due to Police Action

Many of you will have read about or seen on the news the tragic death of Ian Tomlinson who was struck and pushed over by a police officer during the G20 protest in April 2009.

For many of us our first reaction would be one of horror and disgust. Why would a professional police officer do such a thing to a man who was simply walking along the road with his hands in his pockets and who seemed to be causing no threat?

As a result of the investigation the police officer concerned is now facing disciplinary proceedings for gross misconduct.

And, as you would expect, all of the senior police chiefs have come out and condemned the action with Sir Paul Stephenson (the Met Comissioner) saying that; “the incident had “cast a shadow” on the professionalism of the overwhelming number of staff and officers involved in policing the G20 event”.

If the officer acted criminally he should face the full force of the law and face charges for Mr. Tomlinson’s death. Lets face it, if someone did that to a police officer I am sure that the police would use the full scope of the law and go to great lengths to prosecute.

But could there be more to this than just the officer at fault? Could there be more fundamental reasons why the officer ‘over-reacted’? And are the police using the officer as a scapegoat to appease Mr. Tomlinson’s family and the public at large to direct attention away from other issues that may have led to the death.

Read the following articles and let me know what you think. Id be very interested in your comments.





I am the Director and National Coach Tutor of NFPS Ltd., a specialist provider of Conflict Risk Management Consultancy and Training with specific expertise in Physical Restraint, Breakaway and Self-Defence. In addition to providing training, advice, consultancy and guidance on the physiological aspects mentioned above, we also provide training in NLP, Hypnosis and Meditation as these skills combined provide a holistic way to improve our psychology. By helping people improve both, their physiology and their psychology, we provide a complete and holistic approach to training and development.

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Posted in Reasonable Force, Uncategorized
3 comments on “G20 Death due to Police Action
  1. Rich Diston says:

    While I think that the footage clearly demonstrates an unreasonable use of force, it should be noted that it does not show what preceeded the incident. My instincts tell me that Mr Tomlinson was clearly being beligerent and obstructive to officers who were in a heightened state of readiness and dealing with a dangerous situation. Any law abiding citizen finding themselves in the midst of a mass civil disorder is likely to ‘grey man’ and get out as soon as possible. Strolling in front of riot police with your hands in your pockets is clearly not this, so something else was going on here to my mind. Riot police are not known for asking nicely when they want something and any form of disobedience must be dealt with in the most direct manner – that after all is what they are there for.

    On the subject of Rodney King – the video again shows only the end of the incident. What it does not show is his erratic behaviour, his resistance to empty handed police control measures, his disobedience of instructions from armed police or his being tasered TWICE and still resisting arrest. How much resistance would we allow before using more and more force? I think that all of us, sooner or later, would be wielding the stick if we were faced with a threat that just didn’t stay down – after all, this could rapidly become a survival situation instead. The officers had used an escalating force approach, which is why they were found not guilty of criminal charges. This is not a defence of police actions in either case, but we need to be conscious that in the era of youtube and mobile recording devices, any footage we are caught in can be taken totally out of context and the internet gives everyone and uneducated opinion on our own justified actions.

  2. Ditto James. I think in order to maintain the faith that the public have in the police, it was important to address the assault….and my (wishful) assumption would be that this course of action would run parallel to the police considering the system that produced the behaviour.
    Was this was a random event (that just happened to be caught on camera) or part of a bigger issue?

  3. I think the incident was absolutely disgusting and showed just how the Police lack training and supervision. Ian Tomlinson posed no threat and was walking away from officers. Had that been a member of the general public doing the pushing im sure Criminal charges would have followed. How can people have confidence in a Police force that acts in such a cavalier and ill disciplined way.

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