In the last few days, some news outlets have reported ‘riot police’ manning cordons in the area of Grenfell Tower:
However, neighbours of Grenfell Tower have told the SKWAWKBOX that armed police from the Metropolitan Police’s SCO-19 (formerly SO19) Specialist Firearms Command have been patrolling the estate.
The police in the image above, described as ‘riot police’ by a reporter, are wearing the dark blue caps typical of SCO19 armed officers. Although this is not absolutely definitive, the caps are certainly closely-associated with London’s armed police:
One young resident of the area alleges that an armed officer thrust the barrel of his weapon into his throat when the young man became frustrated at not being allowed to pass and go about his business.
The Metropolitan Police press office initially told the SKWAWKBOX that no armed police were in the area, but when the incident with the young man was related the spokesman asked for details of the time and location of the incident, rather than insisting there were no armed officers.
Residents are, in any event, adamant that armed police have been seen in significant numbers on the estate since the fire and say that this is making them feel regarded more like suspects or criminals than victims.
One man near the site of the fire, whom the SKWAWKBOX spoke to on Saturday, told this blog:
There were minute’s silences widely held for the victims of the terror attacks in Manchester and London. Apart from the Queen, there’s been none for us. Everything here on the ground has been done by volunteers and we still haven’t seen anyone from the government around to co-ordinate things, in spite of what Theresa May promised.
The local bobbies here have been brilliant and have treated everyone like human beings, but these armed officers don’t seem to know how to handle people at all.
The council’s been useless, we’ve been left to fend for ourselves and now we’ve got armed police patrolling us – after a fire, not a terrorist incident. The people here are the victims, but it doesn’t feel like we’re being treated that way. Why? What have we done? We didn’t start the fire.
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