- Where were the police?
- When will water cannon be used?
- Will you get the army out?
I suspect two things were happening here. The first was that she was heading to a meeting with the PM before meeting with COBRA. There has been much criticism of our Dave remaining on holiday whilst all this has been going off and he has finally had to come home because it has all got right out of hand. Dave doesn't like looking bad on the news and doesn't take criticism well. The Home Secretary knows this and is probably trying to work out how she is going to get stitched up over this. The second thing is that I suspect she has no idea what to do next. By not answering the question of what other options are open to them, she has effectively declared that they have nothing more probably because Dave wouldn't countenance such things because it wouldn't make him look good on the TV to his most vociferous critics.
But there is an emerging theme here about the riots identified by people on the ground and by those who seem to be watching the news. There does appear to be a distinct absence of police and activity. Granted it is from the somewhat limited view of a TV camera, but the police lines look very thin. What's more is that there's no obvious efforts to clamp down on the looting and the burning. Common themes among the reporting are that police vans are driving past looters, burdened with their booty.
Its not just coming from the press side of things either. Over at Inspector Gadget this morning he has mentioned being on duty and how the orders seem to be to stand there. IG gives us this observation:
At the briefing, many of my officers wanted cast-iron guarantees from Silver Command that no individual officers would be suspended and prosecuted if we use force and a rioter became seriously injured.
This was not forthcoming. There are at least 12 County forces here now, ‘Remember Tomlinson’ was being whispered everywhere at the FCP.
Many people are becoming very angry that we refuse to move our lines and baton charge the rioters. I have run around like a blue arsed fly trying to understand why we are being ordered to stay static; the only explanation I can find is that Gold Command are concerned about the sensitivity of the target group.
In effect the police have been kettled as an organisation and as an extension over period of time have become paralysed in situations like this. Some of the factors that have led to this are possibly of their own making as they have made some significant errors over the year but show me any institution that is without error and in any case such errors should not tarnish a whole force, nor should any error be considered the definition of normal for them
Having said that, the police have become hamstrung by a process and an attack over the years that comes right out of Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals, a manual favoured by the left for many years. One of the rules within the book is to make your opponents live up to their own rules. What this effectively translates to is that you use any argument that fits the aim of beating your opponent into a corner and paralyses them. Combine this with a senior leadership whose main thought is progression up the greasy pole, which involves having no controversy stapled to your CV and you have the perfect brew for the static policing approach witnessed by many.
This has been happening to the police over a number of years and leaves them in a position of damned if they do and damned if they don't.
I suspect certain people have got them right where they wanted them.