Do we see what we really see?

When you watch the two high profile incidents at the G20 summit isn’t it easy to criticise the performance of the police? Please watch the following video on this page as it may well change your thoughts,

What did you see? The majority of people see the police officers ordering the suspect to put his gun down. When he is complying he is then shot.

If this is what you saw, then I have successfully highlighted exactly why people should not judge anyone’s performance based only on a short film clip, as in the G20 summit.

Returning to the incident in the video, watch it again and, this time, watch the suspect’s right hand while he places his weapon down with his left hand. What you may not have seen is the suspect pulling a handgun from the rear of his trousers. Once he’s on the ground you can see the weapon in his right hand. It’s a good job that the second police officer saw it, for both of their sakes!

Thankfully, Michael Winner has written a more balanced point of view about the policing of the G20 summit, pointing out that it is all too easy to be critical of the police without knowing the full facts. His full article can be read  here. He is correct when he states that the viewer cannot see what led up to these incidents or what is going on around the people concerned, whether the police or the public.

Of course there are elements of these reported incidents that cannot be condoned, such as the officers not wearing identification. However, this is a good example of when certain practices go unchallenged and become ‘the way we do things’ then they become part of the organisational culture. I’ve dealt with this more in my latest Ezine article “HMIC Review of Police Tactics Should Be HMIC Review of Police Leadership

Overall though, the performance and strategy of the police at the G20 summit cannot be criticised. It’s the first such summit that hasn’t resulted in mass disorder for some time. Perhaps it is because there wasn’t much else to report that the media chose to focus on these incidents.


To show how easy it is for the minds eye to be deceived here is a bit of fun that will do just that.


Both this picture and the apocalyptic street scene within the slide header on the home page are courtesy of Edgar Muller.

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