Today the media have been full of reports about the assault on Ian Tomlinson. Quite understandably police officers are being defensive about the video and the role they play in policing demonstrations. They do a very difficult job at the best of times. If CCTV footage of the area surrounding the incident does surface, the picture will become clearer. Until it is released speculation will contiue to rage.
Serious questions remain about the tactics used by the police in handling these kind of incidents. Having said that it is important to recognise that our police forces are much better at handling them than their foreign counterparts. Even so, where improvements can still be made we need to make them if the police are to continue to be world leaders in law enforcement.
It is abundantly clear that Mr Tomlinson was assaulted. Even if a case can be made that he was being obstructive, it does not warrant the force used against an innocent bystander, reacting naturally to the circumstances he found himself in. He was passive, presented no threat what so ever and was the definition of a soft target.