Glasgow police inspector blasts kettling claims during COP26 protests

A Glasgow Police Inspector described how officers had to escort ‘lost’ protesters to the SEC during COP26, as he blasted some accusations of kettling as misreporting.

Police said nearly all the protests were entirely peaceful.

Police Inspector Crawford Inglis said nearly all the protests were entirely peaceful in the city and the “worst case scenarios” didn’t happen.

Speaking at the Langside Area Partnership meeting this week, Inspector Inglis described how cops even came to the rescue of lost demonstrators during the huge climate summit.

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Police Scotland faced criticism from a number of politicians over accusations of kettling – which involves officers surrounding people to contain crowds.

Inspector Crawford said: “Some of the negative press we have seen around it is frankly misreporting of the facts. An example of that would be allegations of overly robust policing using phrases such as kettling, which was alleged against the police.

“In actual fact we had a case of some of the protest groups being lost in Glasgow. I was at one myself where there was a protest group in the city centre who said they wanted to go to the ‘island site’ as we called it where the conference was taking place.

“They approached the police and said: ‘We don’t actually know how to get there.’ We said: ‘fine follow the yellow jacket and we will take you right there.’It was as peaceful as that pretty much for the two or three weeks when the event was going on.”

He told the meeting: “Our worst case scenarios weren’t realised as far as the demonstrations went ahead.

“Almost all of the demonstrations, protests and community groups that turned up were entirely peaceful. There was a good rapport between the police and the organisations that were there.”

One incident saw police accused of kettling a group of marchers during the march on November 6.

Officers surrounded a group of people near to St Vincent Street and Holland Street.

Police Scotland said at the time: “A group of people has deliberately stopped on the main parade route on Holland Street and St Vincent Street.”

Referring to kettling, Green MSP Ross Greer complained about “totally disproportionate policing” during the Global Day for Climate Justice parade on November 6

Scotland’s justice secretary Keith Brown defended Police Scotland’s operation at the summit. He said their response was “proportionate”.