As long ago as January 2008 concerns were raised about a particular aspect of police behaviour – see the Stirrer archives, hosted by the Birmingham Press. On the Today programme, John Humphrys had asked Commander Steve Allen why the police had gone in ‘mob handed’ at dawn, having arranged for cameras to be present, in Slough.

police battering doorIt was disturbing to read that so many years later, Birmingham police are still practising these abuses. A link from the Brummie led to an article in the Birmingham Mail which reported that a Billesley couple’s front door was smashed in at dawn by police acting on a (malicious?) tip-off that weapons were hidden at the address – but they found nothing.

For years, due to mistaken identity or merely getting the wrong address, the doors of many people who have never been under suspicion have been battered down & their houses entered by armed police – usually well after midnight or at dawn. This practice should be strictly questioned:

  • more care taken to check identities;
  • addresses and locations should be verified;
  • camera usage should be limited to the search for evidence not used for Rambo-style publicity;
  • repairs should be promptly organised and paid for and,
  • in cases where no criminal charges follow, generous compensation should follow a profound, well-publicised apology for causing fear and stress.

West Midlands police have a duty to local residents as well as informers

West Midlands police said they had a duty to act on tip-offs, but when dealing with members of the public who have no criminal record – taking the reasonable precaution to cover the back door – they should knock on the front door in the usual way, during social hours.