“I can’t apologise for my officers. I’m sorry of course that people are so upset at seeing officers enforcing legislation, but the officers were doing their duty as they saw it and I will not second-guess that at this time.”
Important intervention/statement today from Deputy Commissioner Sir Stephen House today. And important backing for front line officers.
He added: “I understand that their actions have upset people, and we see the evidence of that on a daily basis . . . but the officers acted as they did at the time because they thought they were doing the right thing to protect people’s health.”
Asked if he believed that agents provocateurs had been responsibility for a change in the mood on the night, he said: “The officers started to receive a degree of abuse, a degree of resistence.”
Sir Stephen – appearing before the committee of the Mayor’s office for policing and crime – went on to say that officers there on the night who were “public order specialists” say it was a very, very hostile situation.
He said that the measures taken “were proportionate and were not extreme”.