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Fedster

'We've gone a long way down a dark street if this is how we treat civilians'

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Fedster

Journalist 'confident' PC assaulted photographer.

Empress State Building

Empress State Building

Date - 14th November 2018
By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle
1 Comment1 Comment}

 

Channel 4’s longest-running presenter told a misconduct panel he had "never before and never since" seen a police officer act like a close protection officer accused of using unreasonable force against a photojournalist at a Jeremy Corbyn rally.

Met Police PC Mark Dawson, based at Royalty and Specialist Command, is accused of grabbing photographer Anthony Devlin around the neck and wrestling him to the ground and damaging his camera on June 7, 2017 despite the fact he presented “very low risk to the public”.

He denies all the allegations against him.

Mr Devlin is making a civil claim against the MPS for the cost of damaged equipment.

PC Dawson had been assigned to help protect Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn during a campaign visit to Colwyn Bay in Wales the day before the 2017 general election.

A large crowd of people turned up to hear Mr Corbyn speak and Mr Devlin was attempting to follow the politician back to a local train station when PC Dawson confronted him.

Giving evidence at a misconduct hearing held at the Empress State Building in West London today, Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow told the panel he stands by his description of the scuffle between Mr Devlin and PC Dawson as an “assault”.

He said an 18-second video clip played repeatedly to the panel, which appears to show Mr Devlin trying to slip under the linked arms of stewards and then being wrestled to the floor by PC Dawson, does not capture the “sheer violence” of the incident.

Mr Snow is heard on the recording shouting “stop it, stop it, stop it man” and putting his hand on PC Dawson’s back.

He told the panel: “You can do me for assault.

“I had no doubt that man I had my hand on had just assaulted that bloke thrown to the ground and all his equipment smashed.

“The force of the collision was so much I would have been very doubtful you could take a picture with them afterwards [Mr Devlin’s cameras].

“The thing that provoked me was the sheer force of what had been delivered.

“It was unusually peaceful for a political rally, the general feeling of beach. It was unlike any political event I’d been to.

“It was full of holidaymakers, it was an incredibly relaxed scene. I see a very heavy-handed thrust.”

Although he said at the time he had had no idea PC Dawson was a police officer, when questioned by the panel about whether he still stands by the “strong language” in his witness statement Mr Snow responded: “I do very strongly.

“He hurled himself, he did something which no human being would do to someone else in a civil context.

“I have never seen a police officer behaving in such a way in this country, completely losing his temper and self-control.

“It was totally unnecessary to do that. If that’s the way we’re going to deal with civilians in a crowd we’ve gone a long way down a dark street.”

He said he had seen clashes on the streets of Northern Ireland between police and civilians but “that had been in the context of a protest”.

Other photographer witnesses from the June 7- Anthony Goodman and Oliver Scarff, said they also would have questioned the authority of Labour “volunteers” to block the path of a journalist at a public event.

They also agreed they would have questioned the power of a police officer to do so.

Mr Scarff said he saw PC Dawson bring Mr Devlin to the ground and apply pressure to his neck area in a “grossly disproportionate” reaction. 

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SimonT

So, a "photographer" breaches a stuards cordon and gets flattened by a close protection officer guarding the leader of the opposition? Is that right? 

And the officer did so with a lot it force?

Is that the compliant here? 

Obviously the close protection officer, seeing someone breach the cordon should interview the person regarding their intentions, serve them the 'I hope your not a terrorist ' leaflet and await a written response. 

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Hyphen
48 minutes ago, SimonT said:

So, a "photographer" breaches a stuards cordon and gets flattened by a close protection officer guarding the leader of the opposition? Is that right? 

And the officer did so with a lot it force?

Is that the compliant here? 

Obviously the close protection officer, seeing someone breach the cordon should interview the person regarding their intentions, serve them the 'I hope your not a terrorist ' leaflet and await a written response. 

I thought very much the same thing when I read the article. What if it had been some one intending to do harm and the close protection officer took no action? What if harm had come to Corbyn? Surely then there would be action taken against the officer if it could have been avoided.

As a country we become more embaressing by the day.

Its alright though, Jon Snow didn’t agree with it so let’s drag this out. What a fool.

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Jeebs
3 hours ago, Hyphen said:

Its alright though, Jon Snow didn’t agree with it so let’s drag this out. What a fool.

That’s just it isn’t it, a member of the liberal media disagrees with the actions of police and we can’t possibly be seen to overlook this. Although, I do quite like Jon Snow.

I can’t understand why an issue would be made of this at all. Do they not remember the madman that attacked parliament and killed a cop and the lunatic that killed Jo Cox in the street?

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Pathca

Radman I was going to post nearly the same reply. Jon Snow is hardly apolitical 

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Reasonable Man

I suggest that it’s a typical journalist trying to sensationalise the story. If I’ve read it correctly the photographer is not claiming assault, the officer is not being dealt with for assault. That suggests there is no suggestion that there is an assault to consider.
The claim is for damage to the equipment. What Jon Snow says about an assault is irrelevant. The question is whether the officer and so the MPS is liable for the cost of the damage.

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Hyphen
30 minutes ago, Reasonable Man said:

I suggest that it’s a typical journalist trying to sensationalise the story. If I’ve read it correctly the photographer is not claiming assault, the officer is not being dealt with for assault. That suggests there is no suggestion that there is an assault to consider.
The claim is for damage to the equipment. What Jon Snow says about an assault is irrelevant. The question is whether the officer and so the MPS is liable for the cost of the damage.

It sounds though like the officer is facing the misconduct panel in relation to the alleged assault from the way the article reads.

There is also a civil claim re the cost of the property.

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mike88

The dark street is that a close protection officer can't restrain someone they deem to pose a threat without being dragged over the coals for years afterwards and have their actions picked apart by people who have no training or experience of the job at all.

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Fedster

Press would be 'appalled' by close protection officer's force against photographer

Close protection officer had good reason for using force but overdid it, panel rules.

Press would be 'appalled' by close protection officer's force against photographer

 

Date - 20th November 2018
By - JJ Hutber- Police Oracle

 

A close protection officer has been given a second chance after a misconduct panel found he used excessive force against a photojournalist trying to get a picture of Jeremy Corbyn leaving a campaign rally.

Met Police PC Mark Dawson, based at Royalty and Specialist Command, used unreasonable force against photographer Anthony Devlin after he ducked under stewards’ linked arms to follow Labour leader Mr Corbyn back to the train station after a visit to Colwyn Bay in Wales on June 7,2017.

It was the day before the general election and a large crowd had turned up to hear Mr Corbyn speak.

Freelance photographer Mr Devlin was keen to capture a distinctive shot of the opposition leader leaving the rally to sell and did not believe Labour party volunteers had any authority to restrict his movements in a public space.

Mr Devlin told the hearing last week PC Dawson grasped him by the windpipe before wrestling him to the ground and breaking one of his cameras.

Misconduct chairman Akbar Khan was unimpressed by the conduct of the press at the event, who he said ignored instructions to keep to a designated “press pen” and not to follow Mr Corbyn back to the train station.

Neither did he accept Mr Devlin’s argument he did not recognise the Labour volunteers as stewards.

“Mr Devlin had extensive experience,” Mr Khan said.

“He was determined to carry on and do his job and follow Mr Corbyn. The panel finds his evidence unconvincing - he must have known stewards take part in controlling the crowd.

“The officer has stated consistently his primary duty was to his principle, Mr Corbyn, then to the public.

“The panel finds the situation had become increasingly more excitable, volatile and challenging.The panel observes how narrow the scene was, also vulnerable persons which were close to the incident.”

Mr Khan said the panel found PC Dawson indeed had a lawful and legitimate purpose for use of force against Mr Devlin.

But he did not accept the account of PC Dawson, who joined the MPS in 1996, that he had been a “passenger rather than a driver” and did not deliberately knock Mr Devlin over.

The misconduct panel chairman said a verbal warning coupled with a pushback would have been sufficient.

His excessive use of force, which caused him to fall to the floor along with Mr Devlin put him in an “exposed position by falling on top of him while carrying Taser and firearms…extremely dangerous given his years of experience carrying firearms.

“He should have better protected himself,” Mr Khan said.

PC Dawson’s behaviour amounted to gross misconduct, he said.

He said: “The officer was solely responsible [for his actions]. While in a position of trust his actions did result in injury to the complainant.

“The press are members of the public and the panel considers the would be appalled by the conduct of the officer towards Mr Devlin. The panel considers the highly responsible role he occupies as close protection officer.”

But he stopped short of dismissing the close protection officer, noting the fact his conduct related to a single incident.

Instead Mr Khan recommended the officer is retrained in use of force and ruled he should be given a final written warning.

The officer has an “exemplary and unblemished career” he said.

The chairman said PC Dawson had received several letters of appreciation and commendations for quality of service throughout his career.

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Zulu 22

Unbelievable

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Lone Wolf

This outcome effectively now sets a precedent that a close protection officer must wait for a potentially deadly use of force to be used against their principle before they can use force to protect them (ironically at which time it may well be too late).  There's no other way of interpreting it.  The panel said 'a verbal warning coupled with a pushback would have been sufficient' - how can they be so certain that this would be so effective against someone determined to kill or seriously harm?  The reactionary gap in terms of distance when drawing a firearm against a running subject is many times further than any person can push them.  This is absurd.

Edited by Lone Wolf
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Growley

Absolute nonsense. Complete and utter rubbish.

How are people like that allowed to make decisions affecting people's livelihoods?

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SimonT

A push back and verbal warning would be fine, for a photographer trying to get past and get photos. But who knows what that person's intention was at the time. Now we know, but that's not his fault. 

I find it strange and sadly typical of the way we run things. Officer absolutely has to ensure x happens, will get stuck on it they fail. But if they do more than hindsight says was reasonable, then stuck on. 

Much of the reason officers are assaulted atm, beyond lack of law and resources is the fear of being disciplined for not getting it just right, what with our couple of hours training a year. 

Why can't we have a society where if you breach a cordon and go for the leader of the opposition the day before an election you are expected to get floored with immediate effect. 

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Indiana Jones

All assassins will now be issued with SLR cameras to disguise their intent. That'll be all that's needed to create enough confusion to make a CPO pause for long enough to have lost their 'advantage' and be left on the back foot in any genuine attack.

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