The conduct of Greater Manchester Police during a recent pro-Palestine demonstration is under scrutiny as photographs show a number of officers failing to display identification numbers, in breach of force regulations.
Concealment of the identification numbers of police officers, or simply failing to display them, has been an issue for at least a decade: the Independent Police Complaints Commission’s report into the policing of a pro-hunting Countryside Alliance protest in Parliament Square in September 2004 said that officers were instructed to wear “yellow jackets with black epaulettes containing their numbers” but that there were “clear examples recorded on CCTV of some officers ignoring this instruction”.
Whilst the displaying of identification is a matter for individual Chief Constables, contravening local police force guidance on wearing the correct uniform has been a disciplinary offence since the introduction of the Police (Conduct) Regulations in 2008. However, the lack of proper ID came up again during the G20 protests in 2009 and in Adapting to Protest, the report published in the aftermath of public anger over the conduct of Metropolitan Police Officers, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said the police must:
Ensure officers wear numerals or other clear identification at all times during public order operations and deal with individual officer non-compliance swiftly and robustly.
It added, “Any lack of police identification is an inhibiter to accountability and generates a question mark about the control of staff”.
Five years on, there is evidence that officers from the Tactical Aid Unit (TAU) within Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are repeatedly breaking GMP’s own ‘Uniform Policy and Dress Standards’ (, 1.1 Mb), which states that “all officers and staff in uniform are required to wear epaulettes clearly showing their collar number on both shoulders at all times”. By doing so, they appear to breach the Police (Conduct) Regulations and its standards of professional behaviour, updated in 2012.
However, as HMIC pointed out in 2009, ultimate responsibility lies with supervising officers to ensure that those under their command are always wearing shoulder identification.
These photos show TAU officers who were part of a large police presence at a protest organised in central Manchester by pro-Palestine demonstrators against Kedem Cosmetics, which sells Israeli Dead Sea beauty products. A number of arrests have been made but no one has been charged.
Click images to enlarge
Nor is this the first time that GMP officers have been caught out in the last month. On 6 July, these photos of two officers with missing shoulder identification epaulettes were taken in Wigan, where a protest was held against the far-right Britain First group.
As well as concerns about missing identification numbers, there have been complaints about aggressive and violent conduct by GMP officers towards pro-Palestine demonstrators. This video of one of the arrests in central Manchester shows a TAU officer deliberately throwing someone to the floor as an arrestee is taken away:
If activists in Manchester have other examples of missing ID numbers or want to report incidents of police brutality, please contact Green & Black Cross Manchester at email@example.com