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Mountain Laboured

NCJ Number
Police Volume: 21 Issue: 2 Dated: (October 1988) Pages: 14,16,46
T Judge
Date Published
3 pages
This article presents the background and findings of the British Police Complaints Authority regarding the violent police-student encounter when militant students tried to stop Leon Brittan, the Home Secretary, from speaking at Manchester University the evening of March 1, 1985.
The violence between police and students occurred as the police attempted to clear a pathway for the Home Secretary to enter the front door of the building where he was to speak. After 15 months work, the investigating officer delivered his report to the Police Complaints Authority on June 2, 1986. The report included over 100 individual report files, over 700 witness statements from the public and police officers, 220 photographs taken the night of the incident, notes taken at the trials of the persons arrested and charged, and the results of structured interviews with all 222 officers on duty at the demonstration. The Police Complaints Authority concluded the police should have occupied the steps earlier, before the students arrived and that the police should have strengthened the number of officers on duty or on standby. Arrangements for processing prisoners was inadequate. A review of the 44 complaints regarding officers' use of excessive force could not be corroborated by evidence against specific and identifiable officers. Five officers were found to have made inaccurate statements in the investigation, but there was insufficient evidence to support disciplinary charges of deliberate falsehood. Although the Police Complaints Authority did not support disciplinary charges against the two senior officers supervising the police action, it did recommend that the assistant chief constable discuss the authority's report with the two officers.