Met chief: Public should help us with violence only if it is safe
A senior Scotland Yardofficer today urged members of the public to intervene in violent confrontations “if they can safely do so”.
Deputy Commissioner Steve House was responding to comments by a police official who said officers could start letting violent suspects go if they are not backed up by the public.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, spoke out after the Standard yesterday published footage of two officers being attacked as they tried to make an arrest inWimbledonon Saturday.
One officer was dragged into the road and his female colleague was kicked into the path of a bus.
A member of the public wearing a motorcycle helmet helped the male officer in the struggle, but several cars went by without stopping. Mr House said: “I am glad to see that so many others are similarly appalled by this incident. It is a reminder that the public will not tolerate seeing police officers treated in such a sickening manner.
“Officers are on the side of Londoners to keep the city safe and will continue to tackle violent offenders.”
He said police were trained to deal with violent situations and were issued with personal protective equipment.
Mr House added: “I am mindful that members of the public do not have access to such items and while any officer would be grateful for the public to assist them with a difficult arrest, they should only intervene if they can safely do so.”
Mr Marsh told ITV’sGood Morning Britainon Tuesday: “I’m not for one minute asking the public to do our job, I’m not asking the public to act as vigilantes.
“But what I am asking them to do, instead of standing there videoing and mocking us, either take part or walk away.
“It’s the fact an individual wants to stand there and film my colleagues.”
Asked if the video was good evidence for the police, Mr Marsh said: “It’s not our evidence, we have body-worn cameras.”
He continued: “The point I’m trying to get across is, what sort of society have we now got that an individual wants to stand there? They are being part of the incident.
“How have we come to this point where that is acceptable, that members of the public – when my female colleague was knocked to the floor – drove past and walked past?
“We are seeing this consistently and people are more interested in making it salacious in filming it and putting out mocking. Where are we going?”
The male officer in Saturday’s incident suffered cuts and the female officer was left with head injuries. Both were treated in hospital and released.
A man has been arrested and charged in connection with the incident.