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Colemanb-2 The anti-police bandwagon brigade ignores the bravery, hardwork and dedication-to-duty of London’s finest, says London Assembly member, Brian Coleman.

I have a lot of respect for the Police. I have met numerous police officers over the years and without fail they have been honest, decent people doing their best to keep us safe in often difficult circumstances. Yet recently the police have faced an cacophony of criticism, so I have started a campaign on Facebook to support our police men and women because coppers should be commended, not condemned.

Since the G20 politicians and so-called media commentators have gleefully leapt on the anti-police bandwagon and mouthed-off at the Met. But in so doing they have completely ignored the excellent performance of the vast majority of officers at the G20. The level of damage to the City was low, violent protests were well-contained, and there was no use water cannons, tear gas or rubber bullets to which other countries’ police forces might have resorted.

I accept some mistakes were made. Police ID numbers should have been properly displayed, and a tiny minority of officers’ behaviour crossed the line, but it would be wrong if these incidents detracted from the
overall operation. However, it is equally wrong for detached commentators to condemn the entire force for the actions of a few. Tarring every officer with the same brush is not the answer – it is wrong, unhelpful and undermines public safety.

Public trust and co-operation is crucial to the police’s work gathering evidence. Recently, Manchester Police has achieved several high-profile convictions after witnesses, from communities usually suspicious of the police, gave evidence. The critics’ slating the Met will mean that such witnesses will be less likely to come forward in London.

The ‘bash-a-bobby’ brigade also wrongly ignore the undoubted commitment and professionalism of London police officers; not to mention their selfless bravery in times of emergency, such as the July 7 bombings and failed bomb plots of 2007. I do not think we give London’s police enough credit for their dedication to duty. When was the last time you thanked a policeman for keeping your family safe? For their unrelenting hard work and courage keeping the Londoners safe, I say lets support the Met, not do them down. Commend a Copper today!

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