Posts Tagged ‘police’

Are Trump’s August Controversies Careless—Or Calculated?

August 28, 2017

Did the president mindlessly pick fights, or did he deliberately choose his targets to speak to middle America?

President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix last week lashed out at the news media and attacked fellow Republicans for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
President Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Phoenix last week lashed out at the news media and attacked fellow Republicans for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act. PHOTO: JOSHUA ROBERTS/REUTERS

Aug. 28, 2017 11:07 a.m. ET

Here are two ways of looking at how President Donald Trump has spent his August:

He has ruined the month—perhaps even his presidency—by mindlessly picking fights with Republican congressional leaders and the media, and by wallowing in divisive cultural issues rather than pushing his economic agenda.

But here is another:

Rather than stumble and fumble into these controversies, Mr. Trump has quite deliberately chosen his issues and his enemies.

He has drawn attention to cultural issues—immigration, his border wall, defending Confederate symbols, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio—precisely because they speak clearly to middle America. There, they resonate with both his core supporters and a wider universe of people who don’t love the president but think the nation’s elites have walked away from them on social issues.

Donald Trump, Joe Arpaio

Similarly, he has picked his targets for wrath—the media and the Republican establishment—carefully rather than cavalierly.

Targeting the news media is a winner with his base as well as a much broader segment of GOP votes. And by attacking Republican Senators, he is trying to be sure they are blamed rather than him for failures on health care—while also creating grass-roots pressure on them to atone for that failure by delivering on tax reform this fall.

“He’s framing the fall,” says Jason Miller, who was communications director of the Trump campaign and maintains close ties to the White House. “I think the president masterfully knows how to work the synergy of this counterculture, anti-Washington-elite sentiment to help him push forward on his agenda.”

In short, perhaps Mr. Trump is simply doing exactly what he did during last year’s presidential campaign, which is to use controversy and even seeming chaos to show that he stands apart from establishment forces that many Americans think have failed them. He won by running essentially as a political independent and, after seven rocky months in office, he appears to be gambling on that course again.

That doesn’t mean this is the wisest approach, or that it won’t blow up in the president’s face. It’s certainly risky to think that angering rather than wooing congressional leaders of his own party is going to produce a productive working relationship this fall. It’s equally hard to grasp why Mr. Trump is pursing this approach after having eased out of the White House its main proponent, Steve Bannon.

Still, it isn’t mindless. It is controversy generated for a purpose.

Trump aides believe—and there is ample evidence to support them—that cultural anxiety among working-class voters was as big a factor as economic anxiety in his campaign victory. Look at the list of issues Mr. Trump has touched upon in recent weeks—transgender Americans in the military, sanctuary cities, the racially charged march in Charlottesville—and you can see him returning to that path.

In doing so, he has stoked deep divisions in the country, particularly with his language that appeared to equate white supremacist marchers with those who protest them. Yet while many in Washington hear defense of neo-Nazi groups when Mr. Trump talks, his supporters make clear that what THEY hear is defense of historic Confederate statues—and, by implication, a traditional version of American culture.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has responded by calling for removing every Confederate statue from the U.S. Capitol—something Mr. Miller calls “a very dangerous spot of overreaching.”

Similarly, when Mr. Trump revives tough immigration talk, he is embracing an issue that helped him steal white working-class voters away from the Democrats.

Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg calls immigration a “critical element of the Democrats’ working-class challenge.” His survey work has found that, among 2016 voters, white working-class men—a traditional Democratic group who became a core Trump constituency—were twice as likely to call immigrants an economic burden on the country as were college-educated white women, a core Democratic constituency.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is in Mr. Trump’s crosshairs over his city’s policies toward immigrants, thinks he see another motive: an attempt to distract attention from the administration’s failure to produce economic policies that help the working class. “Each of these announcements is of a single piece: to grab voters they have lost on economic issues with cultural red meat,” he says.

Heading into the fall, the paramount economic issue for the Republican Party and the White House is the quest for tax reform and a broad tax cut. Across the GOP there is no more important priority, and party leaders know they can ill afford to fail.

Mr. Trump’s criticisms of party leaders are designed, Mr. Miller says, to add to the pressure. The president is saying: The party establishment failed me—and you—on health care. It’s not my fault. Don’t let them fail us on taxes.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at


French Security Forces Now Top Targets of Islamic Radicals

August 10, 2017

PARIS — French soldiers taking part in Operation Sentinelle are the highest profile symbols of the fight against Islamic extremism — but along with other security forces patrolling French streets are increasingly the main targets of attacks.

Operation Sentinelle was created to guard prominent French sites after a string of deadly attacks in 2015. The soldiers’ status as representatives, and defenders, of the state, has put security forces in the line of fire. But experts offer other reasons, too, for why attacks in France have recently focused on heavily armed protectors.

No civilians have been attacked this year — although intelligence services have foiled seven planned attacks, France’s interior minister said recently. More than 230 people, many of them out for a night of fun, were killed in 2015 and 2016.

Islamic radicals may seek extra media visibility presumably afforded by going after emblematic targets or be tempted by the wish to die as a “martyr,” several experts said. Or they may want to up assurance of redemption with an especially “heroic” act in the ultimate stage of a life spent mainly in delinquency in which security forces were the top enemy, the experts added.

Knives, machetes, hammers and vehicles have been used in the seven attacks this year — in each case against security forces — despite France’s state of emergency. In the latest, on Wednesday, a BMW slammed into six soldiers as they left their barracks outside Paris for duty in what authorities said was a “deliberate” attack. The suspect, an Algerian living legally in France, was arrested after a highway manhunt and hospitalized with bullet wounds.

“We need to finally suppress the idea that there is a common profile for terrorists,” said Alain Bauer, a leading criminologist and security expert. But, he added, attacking security forces is “a la mode” now in France.

In 2015 and 2016, soft targets were more common, after a Syrian who served the Islamic State group as its high-profile spokesman and strategist before being killed urged sympathizers in Europe and the U.S. to launch attacks against civilians — “especially the spiteful and filthy French.” High-level attacks, from the November 2015 massacres in Paris to last year’s Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, followed, with 216 dead.

This year, one person, a police officer on the crowded Champs-Elysees Avenue, has been killed. One attacker died in a second incident on the avenue after his car laden with weapons caught fire after he rammed it into a convoy of gendarmes.

Not all the attacks were claimed by IS, and like the attacker who plowed his car into the soldiers, not all were French. Except for Wednesday’s car attack, the attackers chose tourist haunts — going after security forces, not the crowds.

A study released in March by the Center for Terrorism Analysis, or CAT, showed that France isn’t alone. Attacks on security forces have been a constant in the West. Between 2013 and 2016, a majority — 53 percent — of 72 targeted attacks, either carried out, attempted or planned, were aimed at society’s protectors. The study also showed that France, with the highest number of Western jihadis in Syria and Iraq, and largest Muslim population in Western Europe, was the most targeted Western country.

IS cites France’s participation in the U.S.-led coalition when claiming attacks in the country.

“They want to die as martyrs,” said Jean-Charles Brisard, president of the CAT center.

In November 2015, when teams of extremists stormed into Paris from Brussels and killed 130 people enjoying a weekend on the town, they “waited for intervention forces to arrive to die with weapons in their hands facing apostate forces,” Brisard claimed.

For another expert, Alain Rodier, a former intelligence officer, many French Islamic extremists who go after symbols of the state had spent much of their lives doing just that as small-time delinquents. In France, police and youth in tough neighborhoods have notoriously bad relations with authorities in uniform and some delinquents who radicalize repeat old habits, he said.

“In reality, they’ve transferred what they did before,” Rodier said. They are people who haven’t traveled to combat zones and take action “on their own initiative,” he said, adding that the notion of redemption also can also motivate the choice of targets. They are often fed by extremist preachers whose message is “the more heroic the action the more their sins are pardoned.”

Wednesday’s attack threw the spotlight on the Sentinelle force, currently 7,000-strong with half of its members posted in the Paris region. Some have questioned why soldiers are patrolling sensitive sights from train stations and airports to places of worship — when they have never stopped an assault since their deployment after attacks in January 2015 on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Kosher grocery.

The soldiers are “a presence that reassures, protects,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said Wednesday, but also symbols “and therefore direct targets.”

They are also magnets for attacks, Bauer said.

The force’s real purpose, Bauer said, is “just trying to convince your population that you’re safe … (and) let everybody go to work every day.”

Be they soldiers, police or gendarmes — all of whom have been attacked this year — the crucial determinant is media attention, according to Bauer.

“Terrorism is about communication and violence,” he said.

Human Rights Watch Hammers The Philippines on Police Reinstatements After Murders — HRW says the president’s statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” police action could be  crimes against humanity.

July 14, 2017

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PNP-Crime Investigation and Detection Group of Region 8 headed by Superintendent Marvin Marcos faces Senate investigation in the killing of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa. STAR/Geremy Pintolo, File

MANILA, Philippines — A human rights watchdog on Friday blasted the reinstatement of police officers accused of involvement in the killing of a former Leyte mayor, saying that such move demonstrated a “kids-gloves” treatment of the cops as it reiterated its call for a United Nations-led probe into mounting killings in relation to the government’s drug war.

Human Rights Watch, a New York-based watchdog, said the “kid-gloves” handling of the officers was emblematic of the impunity given to those accused of killing more than 7,000 people, mostly from urban poor communities, in the government’s conduct of its war on drugs.

The government, however, contradicted this and released data last May showing a lower figure of nearly 4,600 drug-related killings. It added that many of the deaths cited by government critics were classified as still under investigation although up to now no update has been made on their status.

HRW has been critical of the President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against narcotics and in March released a report accusing the Philippine leader of inciting the killings of Filipinos accused of involvement in illegal drugs.

The group recently described Duterte’s first year in offices as a “human rights calamity” for the mounting drug war killings and the intimidation of his government’s critics.

On Wednesday, Duterte told the personnel of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology that he had already ordered the return to service of Superintendent Marvin Marcos and his 18 men who were found to have been involved in the killing of former Albuera, Leyte Mayor Rolando Espinosa and his cell mate Raul Yap last year by the Senate and National Bureau of Investigation.

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The president said that Marcos should be reactivated as he was not part of the raiding team and was far from the scene of the operations.

This generated a slew of strong reactions especially from senators who investigated the deaths last year.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson, head of the one of the two Senate committees that probed into the incident, could not hide his disgust and spewed an invective to show his frustration with the president’s move.

“In sum, there is a phrase to describe this whole damn thing: Put*ng I*a!” Lacson said.

The return to service of the police personnel followed the downgrade of cases of these cops from murder to homicide.

HRW said that the return to service of the cops was not surprising considering that Duterte vowed in the past that he would even pardon, reinstate and promote them.

“They can call me and say they have been convicted, and I’ll tell the judge to pardon them all,” Duterte was quoted by HRW as saying.

He repeated this promise on Wednesday when he again offered a vigorous defense of security officials involved in the killings. He said that they should not be prosecuted for following his orders.

“Sabi ko, ‘Wala akong pakialam dyan. File na ninyo lahat ng gusto ninyong file.’ Pero sabi ko and in front of Cabinet, ‘I will never allow a military man, a government man or a policeman na makukulong for doing his duty and obeying my order,” the president said, to the applause of most of the members of the audience.

The group debunked the usual police refrain that suspects killed either resisted arrest or were targeted by “unknown gunmen.”

These drug war deaths demand accountability through an investigation of a UN-led panel, the group said.

“Until that occurs, police and their agents implicated in those killings will continue to get away with murder,” the watchdog said.

READ: UN official seeks protection for Callamard amid threats

Based on HRW research, the deaths of suspected drug users and dealers, which Duterte had used to brand his campaign a success, were due to unlawful police conduct which was designed to lend legality to extrajudicial killings which “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

HRW said that the president’s past statement encouraging the killing of drug suspects could be considered “criminal incitement,” warning him and senior government figures that they could be charged with crimes against humanity.


Photo taken in November last year shows Supt. Marvin Marcos attending a hearing of the Senate committee on justice and human rights. GEREMY PINTOLO


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Credit: Raffy Lerma—Philippine Daily Inquirer


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Philippine drug war. Credit: Alecs Ongcal

 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.


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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file

President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: Problem for President Duterte on Human Rights? Ombudsman Says, “The directive to kill people under any situation, irrespective of the context is not acceptable.”

July 14, 2017
In this Sept. 6, 2016 photo, police inspect one of two unidentified drug suspects after being shot by police as they tried to evade a checkpoint in Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines. Bodies had begun turning up in cities all over the Philippines ever since President Rodrigo Duterte launched a controversial war on drugs this year. Drug dealers and drug addicts, were being shot by police or slain by unidentified gunmen in mysterious, gangland-style murders that were taking place at night. AP/Aaron Favila
MANILA, Philippines — After maintaining a neutral stance for a year of the current administration, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, for the first time, has spoken against President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach on criminality, saying that his directive to kill criminals is “not acceptable” under any circumstance.

“The directive to kill people under any situation, irrespective of the context, to me, that’s not acceptable,” Morales said in a television interview with Japan’s NHK World aired on Thursday evening (Manila time).
Morales said Duterte is “goading people to kill people” with his repeated statements that policemen and even ordinary citizens have his blessing to arm themselves and kill criminals who resist arrest and who put public lives in danger.
“He’s goading people to kill people. That’s a problem. His communications people say ‘that’s hyperbole,’” Morales said.
“You know, they try to rationalize whatever he says. So, whether or not the police or whoever he addresses these words believe him, that’s a different story,” she added.

Ombudsman breaks silence


Morales’ statement was a departure from her earlier position that there is nothing wrong with Duterte’s threat to kill criminals unless the latter acted on his threats.
“It’s not illegal to say: ‘I will kill you’… But whether he makes good of that intention, again, it’s a different story,” Morales said in a forum last year.
Morales, for about a year, had been silent on the rising number of summary killings in connection with the administration’s war on drugs.
Just last Wednesday at the anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, Duterte reiterated his directive to security forces to shoot criminals who fight back during the arrest.
Duterte even said, apparently in jest, that security forces should make the criminals fight back to justify the resort to violence.
He further boasted that he is the only president who had been able to order the killing of “those s*** of b******,” referring to criminals especially drug traders.
In her interview with NHK World, Morales said her office will be consolidating various complaints on extrajudicial killings in connection with the Duterte administration’s war on drugs before conducting a fact-finding investigation.
Morales said the fact-finding investigation might have a bearing on the drug-related complaints against Sen. Leila De Lima pending before the ombudsman.
De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, is detained since February for cases before the Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court in connection with her alleged involvement in the illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prison.
“In our case, there had been some complaints which have a bearing on extrajudicial killings, which have a bearing on drugs especially the complaints against the detained senator. So we try to consolidate all these complaints and conduct a fact-finding investigation,” Morales said.

Ties with Duterte


Morales had earlier stated that she would inhibit from any investigation concerning Duterte and his war on drugs as she and the latter are related by marriage.
Morales is the aunt-in-law of Duterte’s daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. Sara’s husband, Mans Carpio, is the son of Morales’ brother Lucas Carpio Jr. and Court of Appeals Justice Agnes Reyes Carpio.
Morales, a retired Supreme Court associate justice, was appointed by then President Benigno Aquino III in 2011. Her seven-year term as ombudsman is set to end in July 2018.

Holiday weekend leaves more than 100 gunfire victims in Chicago

July 5, 2017


© AFP | Chicago police investigate the crime scene where a man was shot and killed on the Near West Side on July 2, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. More than 100 people were shot during the holiday weekend marking US Independence Day

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States celebrated Independence Day with a long weekend of barbecues and fireworks, but in violence-plagued Chicago more than 101 were hit by gunfire, with 14 dying of their wounds, the Chicago Tribune said on Wednesday.

The youngest of the victims was just 13 years old and the eldest 60, the newspaper said, noting that the shootings were concentrated in the south and west of the country’s third largest city.

The heavy toll came after President Donald Trump announced on Friday that he would be sending federal reinforcements to tackle chronic violence in Chicago, where local police forces were slammed for abuse in a federal report put out last January.

The long holiday weekend began on Friday and ended in the early hours of Wednesday, July 4, four full days. The holiday started off relatively peacefully but violence quickly escalated on Tuesday afternoon, when 41 people were shot in just 12 hours.

Violence in the city has drawn a great deal of media attention because it is where former president Barack Obama worked as a civil rights attorney and law professor and where he still maintains a high profile.

The rate of violence relative to the size of the population is, however, lower than other US cities such as St Louis or Baltimore.


Police, Fire Heroics Prompt Anti-Austerity Push in Britain — Time for a Pay Hike?

July 4, 2017

LONDON — Britain’s police and firefighters, repeatedly hailed as heroes in recent months for facing down extremists and rushing into burning buildings, have become the symbol of a new anti-austerity drive in the country.

Their exploits are adding to the pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to ease seven years of belt-tightening after a disastrous election that cost the government its majority in Parliament and led to calls for her to step down. Over the past few days, key ministers have broken with government policy on the issue amid a change in public mood.

Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn made emergency services the focus of a march on Parliament last weekend when demonstrators called for an end to the 1 percent cap on pay increases for public employees. With the inflation rate now at 2.9 percent, the cap means the spending power of government workers is shrinking.

Speaking before the march, the head of the national firefighters union said the government’s spending policies and deregulation contributed to the June 14 inferno at Grenfell Tower in west London that killed at least 80 people. More than 11,000 firefighting jobs have been eliminated, and fire stations are being closed and fire engines taken out of service because of the budget cuts, said Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union.

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Grenfell Tower disaster

“This was not an act of God,” Wrack told Sky News, speaking of the Grenfell Tower disaster. “It was a horrific fire, but the failings that led to it happening on that scale are the result of political decisions, a series of decisions that were taken over many years. That includes the deregulation of building control within local authorities, privatization of building control, the destruction and decimation of fire and rescue service safety inspections, the complete obsession with deregulation.”

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Firefighters work at the scene where a fire ripped through Grenfell Tower, on June 14, 2017 BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

Grenfell Tower is only the most recent tragedy to put Britain’s emergency workers in the news.

On May 22, paramedics rushed to Manchester Arena when a suicide bomber blew himself up after a pop concert, killing 22 people and injuring 116 others. Doctors and nurses worked through the night to treat the wounded, and police launched an around-the-clock investigation to find any accomplices.

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After the Manchester bombing

Less than two weeks later, three men crashed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge, then rampaged through nearby Borough Market slashing and stabbing revelers in bars and restaurants. Eight people died, but the death toll would have been higher if a police officer hadn’t confronted the attackers with nothing but his baton, delaying them until armed officers shot them dead just eight minutes after the attack began.

Then there was Grenfell Tower, a 24-story public housing project that was engulfed in flames after a refrigerator fire quickly spread through the building. Police officers held their riot shields overhead to protect firefighters from falling debris as they rushed into the inferno to rescue trapped residents.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron imposed the cap as part of his plan to control spending after the deficit ballooned during the global financial crisis. His successor, May, has continued austerity, saying it will result in a stronger economy that creates jobs and lifts people out of poverty.

Treasury chief Philip Hammond is standing by the policy, saying Conservative-led governments have reduced the deficit by two-thirds while increasing employment and maintaining economic growth. But he said the cuts must continue because the government is still spending more than it takes in and the national debt stands at 1.7 trillion pounds ($2.2 trillion), or the equivalent of 62,000 pounds ($80,140) for every person in Britain.

“Our policy on public sector pay has always been designed to strike the right balance between being fair to our public servants, and fair to those who pay for them,” he said Monday. “That approach has not changed; and we continually assess that.”

The starting salary for a trainee firefighter is 22,017 pounds ($28,500), though higher rates apply for overtime.

If the U.S. is any guide, the Conservatives may have a hard time maintaining the cap. After the Sept. 11 attacks, police and firefighters were hailed as heroes risking their lives to protect Americans, and government officials found it difficult to reject demands for higher pay.

In Britain, the emergency workers’ own stories are being used to make the case for higher pay.

Constable Wayne Marques conducted a series of interviews describing how he held off a “wolf pack” of attackers near London Bridge with his baton, even after he was stabbed in the head.

Outside Grenfell Tower, among the floral tributes, firefighters who battled the blaze left T-shirts bearing handwritten messages seeking forgiveness from those they were unable to save.

“We promise we gave our all, and we wish we had more to give,” read the message on one shirt. “Sorry.”

Gunfire, Explosions Heard Outside Resorts World Manila: CNN Philippines on Twitter

June 1, 2017

LONDON — Gunfire and explosions have been heard outside the Resorts World hotel in Manila, CNN Philippines reported on its Twitter feed.

It said police, fire trucks and a SWAT team were in the area.

(Reporting by Jeremy Gaunt)

After Manchester Attack: Soldiers on streets in the UK — Nation Mourns, Prepares for Every Possibility

May 24, 2017


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Will there be another Attack?

‘It is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack,’ PM says

By Jon Sharman
The Independent

Theresa May has announced the terror threat level in the UK is being raised to “critical” and soldiers will now be deployed on the streets to protect key sites, in a significant escalation of the policing response following the Manchester attack.

It is the first time in 10 years the feared threat of a terror attack has reached its highest level and means some 5,000 troops could be deployed to support police, including at concerts and sporting events.

The Prime Minister said police in Manchester were working to establish whether arena bomber Salman Abedi, 22, was working alone when he killed 22 people and injured 59 others in a suicide explosion on Monday night.

However, she added: “The work undertaken throughout the day has revealed that it is a possibility that we cannot ignore, that there is a wider group of individuals linked to this attack.”

The threat level has been raised “for the time being”, meaning “a further attack may be imminent”, she said.

In a live address late on Tuesday, Ms May said: “The change in the threat level means that there will be additional resources and support made available to the police as they work to keep us all safe.

“As a result of [the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre’s] decision the police have asked for authorisation from the Secretary of State for Defence to deploy a number of armed military personnel in support of their armed officers.

“This request is part of a well-established plan known as Operation Temperer in which both the armed forces and the police officers involved are well-trained and well-prepared to work in this kind of environment.

“The Secretary of State for Defence has approved this request and Operation Temperer is now in force.

“This means that armed police officers responsible for duties such as guarding key sites will be replaced by members of the armed forces, which will allow the police to significantly increase the number of armed officers on patrol in key locations.

“You might also see military personnel deployed at certain events such as concerts and sports matches, helping the police to keep the public safe.

“In all circumstances, members of the armed forces who are deployed in this way will be under the command of police officers.”

The UK’s terror threat level has been set at “severe” for some time.

The last time it reached “critical” was in 2007.

Ms May added: “While we mourn the victims of last night’s appalling attack, we stand defiant. The spirit of Manchester – and the spirit of Britain – is far mightier than the sick plots of depraved terrorists. That is why the terrorists will never win, and we will prevail.”

Assistant commissioner Mark Rowley, of the Metropolitan Police, said counter-terror police were making “really good progress” in a “massive investigation” into the Manchester attack.

Mr Rowley, the country’s most senior anti-terror cop, said: “We still have some critical lines of enquiry that we’re urgently chasing down. But that leaves a degree of uncertainty which has led [JTAC] to independently judge that the threat level needs to be raised to critical, meaning a further attack may be imminent.

“The public would expect the police at this moment to be doing extraordinary things, everything possible to protect them. The first thing we do is stretch our police resources. We have mobilisation plans, we cancel leave, we stretch shifts. We can double the number of officers on the streets, both armed and unarmed.

“But on top of that, over the last couple of years looking at experiences elsewhere in Europe, we’ve set up a contingency plan with the military where the army will step forward.

“All those extra police officers that we’re putting on the streets already will be augmented by military support. The first phase, those military officers will take over some of our guarding duties at key fixed locations.

“And potentially subsequent to that we could even use military support police at key locations or perhaps at key events.”

Mr Rowley would not be drawn on whether he personally believed another attack was imminent, but spoke of “uncertainty currently flowing from the investigation”. JTAC, he said, had decided that “whilst we chase that down, it makes sense to raise the threat level”.

According to a review of London’s terror preparedness from 2016, “only in the most extreme situations would the military be deployed in routine patrolling of the streets of London” under Operation Temperer.

Lord Harris’ review added: “In addition, specialist troops can be authorised to take part in a direct operation to confront and neutralise a terrorist threat if required. This increases the police capacity and capability to respond, for example, if there were multiple attacks on different sites of the kind seen in Paris in November 2015.”



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People leave tributes to victims of the Manchester concert bomb attack in Albert Square, Manchester PA Wire/PA Images

Thousands of people descended on Manchester’s city centre to honour and remember the scores of victims who were killed and injured in the explosion after the Ariana Grande concert.

They held England flags, and banners – “Love for all and hatred for none” – and signs with the social media hashtag “#ForManchester” and “I heart Manchester”.

Pictures of the vigil showed people of all races and backgrounds, determined to put on a brave face to remember the dead and their families. The demonstrations went on into Tuesday evening as residents lit candles and laid flowers.

Details were still emerging about the attacker, a 22-year-old British man called Salman Abedi, and police are investigating how he obtained the explosive device and gained access to the Manchester Arena.

Waiting for speeches to begin, the crowds clapped three times, in quick succession, chanting “Manchester!”

Political leaders including Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Liberal Democrats’ Tim Farron joined Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to pay their respects and address the crowd.

Powerful vigil,caught a handshake between a gentleman & @gmpolice officer. Well done to the emergency services,proud of today 🐝

Silent vigil tonight in Otley for Wendy who never came home from Manchester last night. RIP.

Leaders of all faiths, including Christians, Muslim, Sikhs and Jews, joined them too.

Poet Tony Walsh delivered his poignant and rousing ode to Manchester, This Is The Place.

“In the north-west of England it’s ace, it’s the best / And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands / Set the whole planet shaking.”

There was a rapturous and defiant applause when he finished reading the poem.

Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings was played.

The Right Rev Dr David Walker, the Bishop of Manchester, addressed the city centre vigil and said the attacker represented “the very few, but we are the many. We are Manchester”.

He spoke of “a unity that has been strengthened by our diversity” and said people who had come to the city from abroad “have become Manchester”.

Vigils took place in many other cities.

In London, two people held an England flag, kneeling on the ground in respect, as a large group of people in Trafalgar Square held a minute’s silence in honour of the victims.

In Liverpool, people laid candles on the ground in the shape of a sign for peace, with flowers and messages scrawled with chalk on the pavement.

In Glasgow, members of the public laid flowers in the city’s central George Square.

Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the “cold calculation” of the attacker, who chose to target a packed stadium of young people enjoying themselves at a pop concert.

MI5 said it was working with the police, and the agency’s head Andrew Parker claimed the “disgusting” attack had “affected” all of his staff.

Later on Tuesday, Ms May announced the UK’s terror threat level had been raised from “severe” to “critical”, meaning a new attack is considered imminent.

China Puts Body Cameras on Troubled Security Force

May 7, 2017

China has mandated the use of body cameras or other video recorders by a law-enforcement agency often accused of thuggish behavior, in a bid to mute criticism with an unusual embrace of transparency.

Image may contain: 1 person

By Josh Chin
The Wall Street Journal
May 7, 2017 7:00 a.m. ET


BEIJING—China has mandated the use of body cameras or other video recorders by a law-enforcement agency often accused of thuggish behavior, in a bid to mute criticism with an unusual embrace of transparency.

China’s chengguan, or urban management officers, handle nonpolice matters such as enforcing sanitation rules and keeping sidewalks clear. A reputation for violence has made them a lightning rod for public ire, particularly in the…


Hong Kong pan-democrats raise privacy concerns as police plan body-worn cameras for all frontline officers by 2021

Force says trials show devices ‘enhance handling of confrontations’ and help de-escalate situations

Pan-democrat lawmakers have raised concerns about citizens’ privacy in light of plans to provide every frontline police officer with a camera by 2021 to “enhance the handling of confrontations” and public protests.

At the Legislative Council’s debate on the issue on Friday morning, Undersecretary for Security John Lee Ka-chiu, who is tipped to take over as security minister in July, said the force had conducted two field trials on “body-worn video cameras” – recording devices which can be attached to officers’ uniforms – since 2013.

The cameras were used in “confrontational scenarios”. From 2013 to March this year, police recorded a total of 724 pieces of footage during 493 incidents, of which 172 were used in investigations or submitted as evidence.

 Police officers surround protesters during a protest against parallel traders in Sheung Shui. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

Lee said that for about 80 to 90 per cent of the recordings, the use of the camera had helped to de-escalate situations and had “stopped the subjects from overreacting”.

In cases involving assaults on officers or wilful obstruction of officers in the due execution of their duties, relevant footage also served as important evidence for convictions, he added.

“In view of the cameras’ effectiveness, the police force plans to gradually extend the use of them so that each frontline uniformed police officer could be equipped with a camera by about 2021,” he said.

The force currently has 1,390 such cameras for officers in the Emergency Units, the Police Tactical Unit and various police districts. About 270 more will be procured in the next few months, assistant commissioner Patrick Hodson said.

The pro-establishment camp supported the proposal and suggested that it be implemented more quickly, but the pan-democratic camp questioned if people’s privacy would be compromised and whether the cameras had also helped to stop police from “overreacting” when handling protests.

Can you put the guidelines on the internet so that we can be confident that … there won’t be any selective filming?

Demosisto’s Nathan Law Kwun-chung, who was a student leader in the 2014 Occupy protests, said: “The undersecretary said that police guidelines mention when to stop recording or even delete footage – can you put the guidelines on the internet so that we can be confident that … there won’t be any selective filming?”

Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said he was worried that single-perspective recordings could lead to injustice when the videos were used for criminal prosecution.

“There are other cameras that can record from multiple angles. Is it possible for police to use such technology?” To asked.

Dismissing those concerns, Lee said there were rules in place to prevent officers from misusing the cameras.

“The privacy commissioner has approved our guidelines,” Lee said. “An officer must also report to his supervisor after recording the video … and a video that is not needed can only be removed on a special system independent from the filming officers.”

Hodson added that deletion could be made only 31 days after filming. Before recording, an officer should notify the subjects, while during the recording, a red light would be displayed on the camera on an outward-facing screen, he said.

The force added that more than 10,000 police officers had been trained so far on the use of such cameras to ensure that they were operated in compliance with privacy laws.


Opinion: Philippine Lawyers say murder, extrajudicial killings, rape, extortion, illegal arrests should be investigated, prosecuted — Police should not be “death squads”

March 27, 2017


Why does it feel as if he is waging a war against the people?

The Philippine Inquirer

President Duterte is wrong to promise immunity to law enforcers who abuse or exceed their authority, like those involved in “tokhang.”

There are standards and regulations that should be followed in police operations; these are codified to protect the citizens against the awesome powers of the state.  When law enforcers violate the law, when they commit crimes, they should be punished as everybody else. When law enforcers become criminals, they themselves are threats to public security.

Even the President, with his solemn oath to faithfully execute the laws of the land, is beholden by the same set of laws and ethics.

Image result for Philippine National Police, photos

Philippine Star photo

Allegations of murder, extrajudicial killings, rape, extortion, illegal arrests and other rights abuses and violations by the police must be seriously, fairly and timely investigated and prosecuted.

Mr. Duterte must not embolden erring and corrupt law enforcers into committing crimes, whether in his name or in the name of the state. It is morally reprehensible to condone organized brutality and criminality, and use the uniform as a shield against accountability. It is obstruction of justice and, in a sense, complicity, cultivating a mercenary tradition.

Mr. Duterte said he will wage a war against the illegal drugs trade. But measured by the number of dead and the magnitude of its toll, why does it feel as if he is waging a war against the people?

JULIAN F. OLIVA, adviser, MARIA KRISTINA C. CONTI, secretary general, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers-NCR

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