Met police caution against public helping officers under attack

A senior officer has warned the public against helping police deal with violent suspects, following anger about the failure of passersby to intervene during an attack on two officers that was filmed and widely shared online.

The Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Sir Steve House said people should only help officers in such situations “if they can safely do so”.

His words could be seen as a rebuke to the chairman of the Federation, Ken Marsh, who said violent suspects could go free if officers were not backed up by members of the public.

He spoke out after video footage that showed two officers in a violent struggle as they tried to make an arrest was shared thousands of times on social media. One was dragged around in the road while the other took a flying kick to the chest and was left lying feet from a passing bus. The footage also showed several cars passing the incident without stopping.

Marsh, who represents thousands of police officers in the capital, asked: “Are we now in a society where, if we think we can’t detain somebody, we just let them go?

“It’s just not worth it. We don’t come to work to get assaulted and, if we’re not going to be backed up in what we’re doing, then what is the point?”

But in a statement on Tuesday, House cautioned against the public getting involved. “While officers should never expect to be attacked as part of their job, a core part of officer safety training is ensuring they know how to respond to volatile situations,” he said.

“This training is substantial and delivered in accordance with national guidelines, and we regularly review it to make sure it is fit for purpose. Officers are also issued with personal protective equipment to help protect them and the public.

 

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