Sunday, 3 June 2012

EDL in Brighton part 2

The English Defence League made another abortive attempt to gather in Brighton this weekend. This time around 30 of them congregated in bars around the city, quickly followed by over 100 anti-fascists. After some scuffles near the sea-front, the Police quickly seperated both sides and escorted the EDL in a moving kettle to Brighton station and away from the town.

What I thought was interesting about this incident, was that while there were far more Police on duty than the last march in April (I heard that there were 900 Police from around 10 different forces, with officers drafted in from as far away as Devon and Cornwall), their policing strategy was very different. All officers (except the mounted ones) had baseball caps on (rather than protective helmets), and there were dedicated teams of Police Liaision Officers wearing orange tabards, whose role was to mingle with the protestors and set up a dialogue with them, establish protestors' intentions, and explain what the Police were doing. This mirrors tactics used by the Swedish Police, and has helped to increase trust between Police and protestors and reduce the risk of collective disorder happening.

Time will tell how effective this approach is, but it may mean that demonstrations are policed in a significantly different way if it's adopted as a long-term strategy.

Reports of the day can be found at;

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