I suppose like me you were horrified to learn of the escalating violence in London over the weekend. I couldn't believe it when I saw it on the news and it beggars belief that a peaceful demonstration against the shooting of Mark Duggan should turn into such violence. I agree with MP for Tottenham David Lammy description of events being an 'attack on ordinary people.' The images really are quite shocking of arson attacks, thefts and stabbings, are a sad reflection on London.
The power of social media once again shows how riots are being organised online with total disregard to public safety and property. At what point do you cross the line with social media - yes it is a tool to get in touch with real time information - but does put power into the hands of those that want to use it for their own dangerous purposes. Do we need to police social media?
Kent has helped play a part and sent officers specially trained in dealing with this type of disorder to the Met over the weekend as part of our mutual aid policy. Kent always tries to help colleagues in need and I think we were one of several police forces asked to help by the Police National Information and Co-ordination Centre.
I was reading an article by Nigel Green in the Guardian this morning about 'Why won't the police tell us what's going on'. It was an interesting take on how the media feel that the police are not feeding them enough information. I completely agree with the take that communities should know what's happening and that the police could catch criminals more quickly by releasing information.
Kent does a good job at releasing as much information as it can but the media will have to accept it's not always as simply as issuing press releases straight away as there are always processes to follow. We are also seeing media departments cut right back. The corporate communication team at Kent Police has halved in the last few months and inevitably this will impact on how much information is released. It will be very interesting to see if anything happens with Bob Satchwell's idea - Bob runs the Society of Editors - and suggested to Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary that targets should be set on how much information forces release.
Also this week we will be in the Chatham Pentagon Centre on Friday. So if you're near Medway and out shopping do come and say hello.
On a personal note I spent most of the weekend splitting my time on the beach building sandcastles with my grandson and trying to train my two wire-haired dachsand dogs called Maud and Mable. They are so naughty and I've near enough set up a perimeter area to stop them escaping the garden. It's a challenge they are unbelievably stubborn - a bit like me really.
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