Posts Tagged ‘police’

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.

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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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Philippines: Doctor Shortage — Why Not Pay Tuitions With Government Funds To Get More Doctors? (Editorial)

March 20, 2017

Philippines: Doctor Shortage — Why Not Pay Tuitions With Government Funds To Get More Doctors? (Editorial)

Taxpayers spend P2.5 million over four years to produce a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy. Why not make the same investment in producing surgeons and other physicians?

The proposal was made by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, who noted that the Department of Health already has an existing scholarship program for aspiring doctors. All that’s needed is to expand the program while at the same time making compensation and benefits more attractive for physicians working for the DOH.

Unless remuneration is improved, the nation may see its shortage of doctors worsen, especially in rural areas. Recto noted that of the 946 available slots in the government’s Doctor to the Barrios program from 2015 to 2016, only 320 were filled. The program is meant to provide at least one doctor in each low-income municipality, but there were few takers. Those 626 unfilled slots meant that millions were deprived of the services of a doctor in their communities.

The medical profession can pay handsomely – but only after many years of grueling studies and substantial financial investment in schooling and specialized training. The cost of medical textbooks alone can be beyond the reach of a low-income household.

Parents who have invested their life savings to send their child to medical school would naturally be reluctant to let the new doctor volunteer for a rural assignment that pays P56,000 a month, especially in conflict zones. The medical community is still waiting for justice for a Doctor to the Barrio volunteer, Dreyfuss Perlas, who was shot dead by still unknown assailants last March 1 while serving in Lanao del Norte.

If the government shoulders the schooling expenses of deserving medical scholars, the nation may be assured of a steady supply of physicians, even if the beneficiaries leave the DOH after a mandatory four-year service. The government may then have at least one doctor for every municipality, with the scholars encouraged to serve in their hometowns.

Health experts estimate that the country currently faces a shortage of 60,000 doctors. This means six out of every 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor. This need not be the case. The government is recruiting more police and military personnel. Why not boost resources to produce and recruit more doctors?

Tunisia to try six police over beach attack response (Fear of lost tourism money sinks in) — Tunisian police response was “at best shambolic, at worst cowardly”

March 1, 2017


© AFP/File | Tunisian security forces patrol a beach in Sousse, south of Tunisia’s capital Tunis, on July 1, 2015, following the previous week’s massacre at the resort there by a jihadist gunman

TUNIS (AFP) – Tunisia is to prosecute six policemen over their response to a 2015 gun and grenade attack on a beach resort that killed 38 foreign holidaymakers, a judiciary spokesman said Wednesday.

The announcement comes a day after an inquest into the deaths of the 30 Britons among them found that the response of Tunisian police was “at best shambolic, at worst cowardly”.

The six policemen, who will remain at liberty pending trial, have been charged with “failing to come to the assistance of a person in danger,” said Sofiene Sliti, spokesman for the judiciary’s counter-terrorism section.

No trial date has yet been set.

Sliti said that the six officers were among a total of 33 people who are being prosecuted in connection with the June 2015 attack in Sousse, which was claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.

Of the others, 14 have been remanded in custody, six are out on bail pending trial, and seven are on the run and to be tried in absentia.

Sliti declined to give any details of their identities or the charges that they face.

The examining magistrate finished his investigation of the beach massacre in July last year but it is only in recent days that the case has been referred to the criminal court.

Lone gunman Seifeddine Rezgui was able to go on an extended rampage around the Riu Imperial Marhaba Hotel and the adjacent beach and pool before police arrived and shot him dead.

In his findings on Tuesday, British judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith was scathing about the police response.

“Their response could and should have been more effective,” he said. “The response by the police was at best shambolic, at worst cowardly.”

Lead lawyer Samantha Leek told the inquest that the Tunisian investigating magistrate had found that “the units that should have intervened in the events deliberately and unjustifiably slowed down to delay their arrival at the hotel.”

But Tunisia’s ambassador to Britain, Nabil Ammar, told the BBC that the accusation that the police had deliberately delayed their arrival was “exaggerated and unfair”.

The Obama Legacy

January 10, 2017

A Presidency of great promise ends in rancor and disappointment.


The Wall Street Journal
Jan. 9, 2017 7:05 p.m. ET


President Obama once said that as President he aspired to be the progressive Ronald Reagan, and as he prepares to leave office he has succeeded in fundamental if ironic ways.

While Reagan left behind a calmer, more optimistic country, Mr. Obama leaves a more divided and rancorous one. While the Gipper helped elect a successor to extend his legacy, Mr. Obama will be succeeded by a man who campaigned to repudiate the President’s…


Amid Reported Human Rights Violations and Talk of Martial Law, Philippines To Give Army, Police 20% Pay Raise

January 3, 2017
Once approved, a private soldier and police officer I will see his or her annual regular pay rise 20.04 percent to P327,834, according to official estimates. File
MANILA, Philippines — The police and soldiers could be up for a New Year’s gift after the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) proposed an across-the-board base pay hike that would see their annual earnings rise by a fifth.
In a statement on Tuesday, the DBM said it already submitted the proposal containing the pay increases to Malacañang for approval. It also needs to be okayed by Congress afterward.
Aside from base pay, hazard pay and provisional allowances will also increase, following the hike in combat pay last year through President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 3 issued last September.
This will also come on top of the second tranche of the salary standardization for the bureaucracy approved in 2015.
Once approved, a private soldier and police officer I will see his or her annual regular pay rise 20.04 percent to P327,834, according to official estimates.
“(This is) in line with the Duterte administration’s pledge to provide better compensation and benefits to the country’s uniformed personnel,” the DBM said.
“In effect, the upsurge in compensation for military and uniformed personnel will arise from a combination of hikes in allowances and increases in base pay,” it added.
A total of P27.5 billion will be spent for the increase to be charged under the national outlay’s Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund.
The 2017 budget worth P3.35 trillion took effect Tuesday, the first working day of the year.
Pay increases for uniformed personnel was one of Duterte’s campaign promises. They came amid criticisms of alleged human rights violations committed y the police in the president’s drug war.
The police had consistently denied such allegations and also pertained to vigilantes for the killings that already reached around 5,000 in the six-month drive.

France pushes to give police greater freedom to use their guns

December 21, 2016


© AFP archive | French police are routinely armed, but have strict rules restricting their ability to use them in self defence.

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2016-12-21

The French cabinet was set Wednesday to fast track a proposed law that will widen police officers’ ability to use their sidearms in self-defence.

Under current rules, officers are only allowed to use their weapons on the basis of “necessity and proportionality”, and only if they are faced with a direct personal threat.

They can only fire if they are directly assaulted by armed individuals, to defend an area they have occupied or if repeated demands to stand down have been ignored.

Police often do not use their sidearms even when faced with threats to their life because they are afraid of breaking the rules, which can lead to their immediate suspension pending an inquiry.

Their anger came to a head in October after four officers were subjected to a Molotov cocktail attack on their car.

They didn’t use their weapons, officers told FRANCE 24 at a protest in Paris the following month, because they “probably hesitated because they were not being shot at”.

Decades of neglect

At the protest, Versailles police officer Nicolas explained that their current rules of engagement were “identical to civilian rules governing self-defence”, and that criminals were both perfectly aware of them and conscious of officers’ fear of getting into trouble.

“It’s a Catch-22,” he said. “When someone is holding a petrol bomb and is ready to throw it, if you use your weapon you are in big trouble. If the petrol bomb lands on you before you can use your weapon, you are also in big trouble because you are being burned. So what’s the point of being armed?”

Officers also complained of chronic under-funding and being “fed up after decades of neglect by changing governments that have eroded our ability to function properly in a job we love”.

“We work in filthy, run-down police stations, we have to provide much of our own equipment – business cards and even pens. We don’t have up-to-date communications or radio equipment and we are expected to rely almost completely on our private mobile phones,” said Nicolas’ colleague Alexandre Langlois. “Above all, none of us feels we can defend ourselves properly.”

Law and order issues ahead of election

The bill would strengthen a law passed in June 2016 that allowed officers to shoot if it would “prevent loss of life in the immediate aftermath of an act of murder”.

It would also allow officers to fire at vehicles that are bearing down on them.

Other proposed measures include doubling sanctions for insulting police, easing conditions to wear hoods to better protect the identity of police officers and €250 million (£222.78 million) to buy new equipment.

The bill, which was proposed in November 2016 and is due to be submitted to Parliament in January 2017, also provides for a tightening of how investigators are identified during criminal proceedings in order to protect them from public retribution.

It is being rushed through parliament by the Socialist government at a time when law and order issues are likely to feature highly in next year’s presidential elections.

Latest polls show the ruling Socialists trailing in third place behind far-right candidate Marine le Pen, and conservative opposition candidate François Fillon, as the two most likely to go through to the second-round face-off.

Germany: Cologne ramps up New Year’s police presence after sex assaults by immigrants last year

December 12, 2016


© AFP/File | German authorities will deploy 1,500 police officers on the streets of Cologne during the upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations

COLOGNE (GERMANY) (AFP) – The German city of Cologne Monday announced a ramped-up police presence, more CCTV and a fireworks-free zone at upcoming New Year’s Eve celebrations to avoid a repeat of last year’s mass sexual assaults.

Hundreds of women that night described being mugged and groped in a crowd of men of mainly Arab and north African appearance, incidents that shocked Germany and fuelled criticism of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s liberal refugee policy.

Cologne police chief Juergen Mathies said 1,500 officers would be deployed on the streets of the western city this year, up from some 140 last year, when police came under fire for failing to properly respond to the chaotic events.

Mathies told reporters he regretted that officers last year were “not there for people when they needed the police”.

“This must never happen again,” he said at a presentation of the city’s security plan for New Year’s Eve.

The city will also be stepping up its video surveillance, with hundreds more CCTV cameras and more officers wearing bodycams, Mathies said.

Much of the increased security will focus on the square between the city’s iconic Dom cathedral and the train station where most of the assaults took place.

Cologne mayor Henriette Reker said access to the square this year would be tightly controlled, with no firecrackers or other pyrotechnics allowed in the safety zone.

The square will also be flooded with light as part of a video and light installation by German artist Philipp Geist that will be projected onto the Dom.

Of the roughly 1,200 criminal complaints filed about last year’s New Year’s Eve incidents, more than 500 were for sexual assault, Cologne police reports showed.

The majority of the perpetrators were never caught. Of the suspects who were identified, many were migrants from Morocco and Algeria.

Similar assaults were reported during end-of-year festivities in other German cities.

The ugly scenes in Cologne made global headlines and deepened concerns about how to integrate the nearly 900,000 newcomers who arrived in Germany last year.

U.S. intel warning of possible al Qaeda attacks in U.S. before election on Monday

November 4, 2016

CBS News

Last Updated Nov 4, 2016 7:43 AM EDT

NEW YORK —  CBS News has learned about a potential terror threat for the day before the election.

Sources told CBS News senior investigative producer Pat Milton that U.S. intelligence has alerted joint terrorism task forces that al Qaeda could be planning attacks in three states for Monday.

It is believed New York, Texas and Virginia are all possible targets, though no specific locations are mentioned.

U.S. authorities are taking the threat seriously, though the sources stress the intelligence is still being assessed and its credibility hasn’t been confirmed. Counterterrorism officials were alerted to the threat out of abundance of caution.

A senior FBI official told CBS News, “The counterterrorism and homeland security communities remain vigilant and well-postured to defend against attacks here in the United States.  The FBI, working with our federal, state and local counterparts, shares and assesses intelligence on a daily basis and will continue to work closely with law enforcement and intelligence community partners to identify and disrupt any potential threat to public safety.”

Intelligence about potential threats always increases during holiday seasons and when big events are approaching.

As Election Day nears, federal law enforcement is planning for several worst-case scenarios.

Earlier this week, an alert warned local police of “polling places” being seen as “attractive targets” for “lone wolf”-type attacks by individuals motivated by violent extremist ideologies, sovereign citizen or other extremist activity.