Policing of the G20 protests was successful, Commander Bob Broadhurst told Police Professional, despite inflammatory media attention.
Cmdr Broadhurst was in overall charge of Operation Glencoe, described as “one of the largest, most challenging and complicated public order operations that the MPS has ever delivered”. As part of the Benbow Operation, the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS}, City of London and British Transport Police (BTP) worked together to manage protests at the G20 summit with additional back-up provided by specialist officers from Essex, Sussex and Bedfordshire at their airports.
A total of 122 arrests were made over the two days of the G20 protests, which ended on April 2. Up to three times the number of protesters anticipated attended G20 protests, Cmdr Broadhurst said, with a core of hundreds intent on causing damage. Between violent disorder, assault on police, criminal damage and possession of a weapon, 47 arrests were made.
Policing of G20 was similar to the policing provisions put in place for any protest, Cmdr Broadhurst said, apart from extensive security operations around world leaders.
On the first day around 5,000 MPS officers were deployed over the 24-hour period; similar to the level involved in policing the Notting Hill Carnival on a Sunday.
On the first day of the G20 summit a number of cordons were put in place to deal with the high levels of violence experienced against officers. A small number of protesters sought to further damage property and launch attacks on police against these cordons which meant protesters had to be contained. Water and portaloos were made available to contained protesters and groups of people were allowed to leave through controlled dispersal.
Officers also encountered protesters in possession of police uniforms. A vehicle, believed to have been a renovated armoured personnel carrier, was stopped in Bishopsgate and 11 people from the vehicle were arrested for being in possession of police uniforms. The next day, a further three people were arrested for wearing police uniforms.
Policing of G20 was made particularly difficult, Cmdr Broadhurst said, because as well as controlling the protests, the convoys of leaders passing through also had to be protected. With more leaders than anticipated “it was more like G30 or G40” Cmdr Broadhurst added.
Cmdr Broadhurst praised the majority of protestors for cooperating with police throughout the demonstrations and thanked officers from the MPS for their hard work.
He said: “The eyes of the world were focused on London. While it was extremely hard work, I am happy with the way the day progressed, as the overall mood of the event was good. Unfortunately, small groups of protestors intent on violence mixed with the crowds of lawful demonstrators. Some have been arrested already and officers will be looking to identify others through footage from evidence gatherers. However these were isolated incidents and despite missiles being thrown and officers requiring personal protective equipment, a level of safety and control was maintained.”
•The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the circumstances surrounding a man who died while G20 protests took place.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) and City of London Police referred the matter to the IPCC who will assess circumstances throughout the day of April 1 when Ian Tomlinson is believed to have died of a heart attack.
Mr Tomlinson was not involved in the protest and is believed to have been on his way home from work when he collapsed and stopped breathing. An officer was made aware of Mr Tomlinson by a member of the public and two medics were sent to attend.
Medical treatment was provided at the scene and protesters continued to throw a number of missiles, believed to be bottles, at the officers during this time.
Mr Tomlinson was later pronounced dead in hospital.
The City of London Police said: "A post-mortem examination found he died of natural causes. [He] suffered a sudden heart attack while on his way home from work.”
The IPCC has set up a dedicated phone line and email address for people who may have information on the circumstances surrounding Mr Tomlinson’s death.