As we travelled to Windsor by train to challenge a sand mine next to World Heritage Wollemi, we heard over the radio 1pm bulletin new Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione exonerate 200 anonymous coppers on the security detail at APEC, badgeless contrary to standing orders. We felt compelled to make a phone call to a friendly MP.
It's reported here too APEC violence reports go to Ombudsman: The headline reflects the fact the Sydney Morning Herald actually published about 30 anon police mugshots to make a strong point, also found here on SAM or IMC if you look elsewhere, which itself was a Big Meeja equaliser to the Daily Telegraph panel of "excluded persons" mugshots.
Our headline at top reflects The Chaser incredible footage of the security down near W Bush's Hotel Intercon (just across from my old office level 25, 50 Bridge St with litigation sharks Baker & McKenzie) when they as the 'Canadian delegation' were told by security "the road is yours". So West Wing, I almost expected to see 'Flamingo' and 'Eagle' or is that 'POTUS'?
The trouble for conservative Scip, cunningly leveraging the media shadow of the apparent Newspoll fillip to conservative law and order tub thumper PM Howard earlier in that day (who also blesses anon coppers), the trouble is ...3,300 other coppers in the CBD presumably did have their name tags on. And sure enough the ABC tv vision last night shows decent coppers with name tags in the front line of the rally following the Commissioner's standing orders, not afraid of their 'pin or hard edged plastic surface'.
A velcro tagged future for coppers or not, there are plenty of other matters, as ex Police Minister Peter Anderson has said on ABC radio last week, for the Ombudsman and independent review to properly look into. The Herald article above refers to some.
We are also worried here about the 'Aussies for ANZUS' pro Bush mob being positioned by police into an anti Bush rally on the Friday preceding the big rally at Hyde Park North. That looks just too cute for the law and order 'industry'.
Another howler - the evidence to the Supreme Court by police 'intelligence' was very divergent from what really happened eg not '20K' but only '3K' turnout, or '10-15k' if you listen to the ngo organisers (which we do because that fits our estimate from personal attendance - say 10K).
Another aspect of the court process - David Marr of the SMH made a cracking comment in a Monday post rally opinion piece at how so much was made by the riot commander of the narrow George St proposed route of the march, yet literally the 10K crowd on the approved route to North Hyde Park via Park St not George were funneled through a bottle neck gate. That's looks dodgy or incompetent. Marr commented on the gardenias copping (!) a hiding as the overflow walked over planters. How true. We saw that.
But perhaps of greatest concern is the willingness of Scip and senior pollies, Premier Iemma and PM Howard and now Opposition leader O'Farrell in NSW, to effectively make cosy exceptions for some police but not a handful (a figleaf?) of protesters who allegedly also acted unlawfully. There will be many lawyers and even a few lawyer politicians unimpressed with that bullsh*t. Do you think they might let the court and other legal bodies do their job and not pre empt the 'law and order' these 'leaders' so hypocritically espouse? Seperation of powers anyone?
This aspect of barracking 'authoritarian populism' is starting to look like not just an Ombudsman's brief but a Police Integrity Commission brief: Because when the tone is set from above, and cops start deciding for themselves when to cut corners, that's the slippery slope to Joh's Moonlight state, or Blue Murder in NSW or what's going on in Victoria right now. Is that really the road church going Scip wants to go down?
Sure he can argue crims make vexatious complaints to paralyse police but that's not the crowd at the peace rally, and he knows it. It's about time he and the pollies gave due respect to the civil society leaders of that rally. The Big Meeja are giving that due respect because such as Alex Bainbridge and his team earned it. Time for a cup tea at head quarters or the big House?
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 2:08 PM
Shock: Police Investigate Themselves And Find They Are
The public can have no confidence in the announcement by Police Commissioner Scipione that an internal police inquiry has cleared police officers of any wrongdoing after dozens of officers were photographed with their name tags removed when confronting protesters at Sydney’s APEC meeting, according to Greens MP and police spokesperson Sylvia Hale.
“When announcing the inquiry Commissioner Scipione is reported as saying "The indications that I've got is that there are times when protesters have used these things in the past, and I would be horrified if police didn't take the right actions to protect themselves." (SMH 10/9/07)
“Can anyone claim to be surprised at the outcome of the internal investigation given that the Police Commissioner announced the result at the same time he announced he was setting up the investigation,” said Ms Hale.
“The oppressive nature of police actions and the lack of police accountability since Commissioner Scipione was appointed is of serious concern.”
His reported comment that “this is the way we do business in NSW now” (SMH 10/9/07), his refusal to allow an independent investigation into the allegations against police and his arrogant dismissal of breaches of police procedure by the numerous officers pictured without badges shows that the Commissioner is committed to a highly authoritarian policing model that involves systematic intimidation of the public and minimal accountability for police,” said Ms Hale.
“Video, pictorial and eyewitness evidence has been made public of police acting in an aggressive fashion, throwing protesters on the ground, arresting people without any basis and keeping protesters restricted in Hyde Park for no reason, yet none of this has been investigated.”
“There should be a full independent inquiry into the actions of police towards protesters during the APEC meeting,” she said.
“We must not accept this sort of authoritarian police behaviour. It should not be the way police business is done in NSW.” Ms Hale said.
Ms Hale will be moving for a parliamentary inquiry into police conduct at APEC when state parliament resumes.
Further information: Chris Holley 9230 3030 / 0437 779 546