List of cases of police brutality in the United Kingdom

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This is a list of cases of police brutality in the United Kingdom.

National[edit]

  • 1984–85: The UK miners' strike led to confrontations between striking miners and police in northern England and south Wales. A widely reported clash at the Orgreave Coking Plant near Rotherham on 18 June 1984, with around 5,000 on each side, was dubbed 'The Battle of Orgreave'. Violence flared after police on horse-back charged the miners with truncheons drawn and inflicted serious injuries upon several individuals. In 1991, the South Yorkshire Police were forced to pay out £425,000 to thirty-nine miners who were arrested in the events at the incident.[1] Other less well known, but also bloody, police attacks took place, for example, in Maltby, South Yorkshire.[2]
  • 2010: Policing of the student protests included the controversial technique of kettling. At the Whitehall march on 24 November mounted police's use of horses for crowd control was described by others present as a "charge".[3][4] A journalist at the Parliament Square protest on 9 December characterised the police tactics as "very heavy-handed".[5] Several police officers were injured during the clashes.[6]

England[edit]

  • 1936: the Battle of Cable Street was a major clash between the police, who were attempting to protect a rally by Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, and about 300,000 anti-fascist protestors. Mounted police charged at the crowd,[7] and many of the arrested demonstrators reported harsh treatment at the hands of the police. Police were among the 175 people injured in the confrontation.
  • 1974: the death of Kevin Gately occurred during the Red Lion Square disorders. Gately and other students were marching with the International Marxist Group when the latter tried to break a police cordon separating the demonstration from a National Front march.
  • 1974: the Windsor Free Festival was broken up by police. Nicholas Albery and others successfully sued the Chief Constable for creating a riotous situation in which the Thames Valley Police attacked the plaintiffs.[8]
  • 1979: Blair Peach was fatally assaulted by an officer of the Special Patrol Group (SPG) during an anti-racism demonstration in London. A police investigation into the SPG found that they had a cache of unauthorised weapons.[9] The Metropolitan Police reached an out-of-court settlement with Peach's family in 1989.[10] The police eventually published their internal report in 2010, concluding that Peach had probably been killed by an officer, but officers within that unit had refused to identify the culprit.[11]
  • 1985: the Battle of the Beanfield occurred in Wiltshire when police attempted to stop a convoy of New Age travellers from reaching Stonehenge. After a stand-off, police attacked both vehicles and people, smashing windows and beating travellers on the head with truncheons. A court judgement six years later found the police guilty of wrongful arrest, assault and criminal damage.[12]
  • 1994: Richard O'Brien died in Metropolitan Police custody. He was arrested while drunk, and held face down in a police van. An inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing, but three officers charged with manslaughter were acquitted.[13]
  • 1998: Christopher Alder died at the Queen's Gardens police station from Asphyxiation. He was arrested for breach of the peace at Hull Royal Infirmary. Footage of Christopher, lying handcuffed and half-naked on the floor of a police cell, surrounded by five officers making monkey noises is available online. An inquest returned a verdict of unlawful killing, but the five officers charged with manslaughter were acquitted.[14]
  • 1999: Harry Stanley was shot dead by Metropolitan Police, thinking he was armed, although he was found to be carrying only a table leg. The coroner controversially returned an open verdict. The Crown Prosecution Service accepted the police's assertion that they were acting in self-defence.[15]
  • 2009: policing at the 2009 G-20 London summit protests included the technique of kettling. A bystander, Ian Tomlinson, died shortly after being pushed to the ground by a police officer. An inquest found that Tomlinson was unlawfully killed. An officer in the Metropolitan Police's Territorial Support Group was charged with manslaughter, but found not guilty.[16]

Northern Ireland[edit]

Drumcree conflict[edit]

The Drumcree conflict is an ongoing dispute over a yearly parade in Portadown. Inter-communal violence has repeatedly occurred since 1873. Years in which brutality on the part of the RUC has been recorded include:

  • 1972: British troops and the RUC bulldozed barricades and used CS gas and rubber bullets on those protesting against the march.[19][20]
  • 1985: police forcefully removed protesters and allowed the march to continue;[21] at least one man was beaten unconscious.[20]
  • 1986: the RUC banned a march, but rioting flamed between residents and the RUC; locals felt that RUC officers had "mutinied" and refused to enforce the ban.[20]
  • 1996: After some years of relative calm, rioting returned as police violently removed protestors from Garvaghy Road, often after beating them. Nationalist leaders stated that their people had lost all faith in the impartiality of the RUC.[22]

Wales[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Our Police Cases - Critchlow and others v South Yorkshire Police". Bhatt Murphy Solicitors. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  2. ^ "On this Day, 21 September – 1984: Maltby picket sparks violence". BBC News. 21 September 1984. Retrieved 2009-03-06. 
  3. ^ Adam Gabbatt and Paul Lewis (26 November 2010). "Student protests: video shows mounted police charging London crowd | UK news | guardian.co.uk". The Guardian. UK. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 4 December 2010. 
  4. ^ Gabbatt, Adam; Lewis, Paul; Taylor, Matthew; Williams, Rachel (26 November 2010). "Student protests: Met under fire for charging at demonstrators". The Guardian Online. London. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  5. ^ Walker, Peter; Paige, Jonathan (9 December 2010). "Student protests – as they happened". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  6. ^ Camber, Rebecca (25 November 2010). "Top police chief warns of new era of violence and lawless riots as students gear up for third week of protest action". Daily Mail Online. London. Retrieved 25 November 2010. 
  7. ^ Finlo Rohrer (4 October 2006). "Does Cable Street still matter?". BBC News. Retrieved 30 July 2012. 
  8. ^ Alan Dearling's "Not only but also..." memoirs of Free Festivals
  9. ^ Celia Stubbs (14 June 2009). "Lessons from the death of Blair Peach". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-03-03. 
  10. ^ Blair Peach inquiry ruled out , BBC News, 13 April 2009.
  11. ^ Paul Lewis "Blair Peach killed by police at 1979 protest, Met report finds", theguardian.com, 27 April 2010
  12. ^ Hippies clash with police at Stonehenge (1985), BBC News archive Accessed 22 January 2008.
  13. ^ Hopkins, Nick. CPS at fault over custody deaths, The Guardian, August 12, 1999.
  14. ^ "Christopher Alder death: Grace Kamara exhumation date set". BBC News. 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2016-07-19. 
  15. ^ "No charges for gun death officers". BBC News. 2005-10-20. Retrieved 2006-04-10. 
  16. ^ Walker, Paul and Lewis, Paul. "Simon Harwood not guilty of killing Ian Tomlinson", The Guardian, 19 July 2012.
  17. ^ Lynch 2006, p. 122, "The murder gang struck again after an RIC Constable, George Turner, was gunned down on the Old Lodge Road."
  18. ^ Parkinson 2004, p. 245, "the shooting of a Brown Square Barracks-based RIC officer, George Turner... sparked the grisly events which were to occur in north Belfast early the next morning."
  19. ^ Bryan, Fraser, Dunn. Political Rituals: Loyalist Parades in Portadown - Part 3 - Portadown and its Orange Tradition. CAIN
  20. ^ a b c Mulholland, Peter. Two-Hundred Years in the Citadel. 2010.
  21. ^ Bryan, Fraser, Dunn. Political Rituals: Loyalist Parades in Portadown - Part 4 - 1985 & 1986. CAIN
  22. ^ "CAIN - Events in Drumcree - 1996". Cain.ulst.ac.uk. Retrieved 19 April 2010. 
  23. ^ Tanner, Duncan (2003). Political Change and the Labour Party 1900-1918. Cambridge University Press. p. 243. ISBN 978-0-521-53053-8.