- Nov 14, 2005
In the thread concerning the police action against some Omagh disorderlies, I had the following exchange with Sync who quoted part of one of my posts and responded as follows:
In many cases that's standing by effectively whistling dixie or lining up in riot gear whilst getting stoned and firebombed with Molotovs, watching people torch stolen vehicles, observing people in balaclavas, masks, scarfed faces and other forms of facial concealment whilst rioting, vandalising, and being otherwise disorderly at late hours for the 'nicer' members of mobs, whilst not effectively breaking them up and making all due arrests, etc.
Except many times they are exactly those things described and much worse. It's not that I have a problem with what the police did here. I just wish they'd do more when it's the mob and riot types scenes that do far more and which are often actually even organised, e.g., loyalist paras behind and/or fuelling some of the most serious misconduct so far with the referenced flag protests, which are often more than just lawful 'protests'.
Rather than respond there, IMO this is a good topic on its own. What in your opinions do you think the PSNI ought to be empowered to do and what procedures should they follow for addressing disorderly conduct ranging from minor, moderate, and major misconduct?The flip side of that though (and it's one we saw just this week when I suggested a crackdown backed by the army) is that the police get accused of "fanning the flames" when they crack down on flag rioters or bonfire rioters or march rioters. Like anywhere else in the world, there's no half measures when you've got 100 + people rioting. You either kettle them in and disperse them using overwhelming force such as water cannons, rubber bullets etc and accept A: You'll get accused of excessive force and B: You'll likely injure someone who's not being violent or you allow it to go ahead and try to contain it as best you can.