In the wake of the G20 protests and the terrible death of Ian Tomlinson it looks like – at least for a short while – journalists are focussing on what is right and not what is simply the official line. Something they have been doing for such a long time many cannot remember when investigative journalism and responsible journalism was the norm.
For far too long it has been a matter that sensationalism, spin and chasing after the advertising revenue has been the common factor in all news outlets.
I have mentioned before in a previous blog post that I hope upon hope the Death of Ian Tomlinson isn’t just forgotten, and not wanting to be cheesy or cliché – could we have an Ian Tomlinson Law please? A law that says what is acceptable and not acceptable while the police are policing our cornerstone right to protest and dissent.
This ruling could mean that judges are seeing that the public do have a right to see evidence that the police are not doing what they are supposed to do when policing protests.
An attempt to stop new footage being broadcast of the moments leading up to the death of Ian Tomlinson has failed.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) tried to secure a court order preventing Channel 4 News showing the film of the G20 protests.
But a judge refused to grant the injunction and the footage will be shown on Wednesday.
After this episode of protesting, a time which has been spent far more looking at the aggressiveness of the British police I feel we should – once again – look at the IPCC themselves.
We wouldn’t be here, and we all know that this is true, if Ian had died and we, as a society, had just accepted what the Met had put out as fact, and the IPCC just went along with it. We have to look at a real independent body overseeing complaints about the police. There is the age old argument that only the police can do that because they are the ones trained in the art of investigating a crime. What can we say about that? We can look back into the recent history and see that this isn’t strictly the truth.
A fully independent body has to be set up where they cannot be influenced by anyone – anyone at all – including senior police officers nor politicians. Then we can begin to have some trust – to gain something back in knowing that a quickly prepared statement cannot lead to a collapse of public trust.
If a complaint is made the public has to have a strong trust that their complaint will be investigated – and if that means giving that independent body some real power – then that is what it should have.