LONDON - The police's public order tactics are inadequate, a review into April's G20 protests in London concluded on Tuesday, although it said the operation itself had been highly effective.
The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) was commissioned by London's police chief Sir Paul Stephenson after concern about police tactics and accusations of excessive violence by some officers.
Newspaper seller Ian Tomlinson, 47, died after he was caught up in a demonstration outside the Bank of England on April 1.
Days later, video footage emerged of a police officer apparently pushing him to the ground shortly before he died.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission has since received hundreds of complaints about police handling of the demonstrations and a number of officers have been suspended pending investigations.
The 150-year-old HMIC is independent of both the Home Office and the police service.
Its report said that in some significant respects, the police had planned and responded well to the challenging demands of policing the protests and providing security for the summit of world leaders.
However it said there were genuine concerns about containment tactics -- or kettling -- the use of force to disperse peaceful protesters, the identification of officers and communication before, during and after demonstrations.
It said officers had been given confusing instructions on how to carry out the kettling, and that police were more concerned about whether a protest was illegal than facilitating peaceful demonstrations.
Both the guidelines from the Association of Chief Police Officers on policing protests and the Met's public order training were described as inadequate, the report added.
What the review identifies is that the world is changing and the police need to think about changing their approach to policing protest, said the Chief Inspector of Constabulary Denis O'Connor.
A poll carried out for the HMIC found the public were divided on the police's actions.
Just under half thought the police had dealt very or fairly well with the protests, while 45 percent thought they had done not very well or not very well at all.
Metropolitan Police (MPS) Assistant Commissioner Chris Allison said the force was always seeking to learn.
This independent review provides us with a sound framework upon which we can move forward, he said.
Whilst containment is the most effective tactic that we currently have, to deal with violence and disorder in these types of situation, the MPS has always acknowledged that there are challenges associated with it.
The findings are the latest assessment of police actions over the G20 protests.
A report by MPs on the Home Affairs Committee last month said police had relied too heavily on untrained and inexperienced officers to maintain control.
It concluded that even though police had managed to keep disruption to a minimum in the City of London, part of that was due to chance.
Metropolitan Police Commander Bob Broadhurst told the committee that many of his officers only received two days training in public order policing a year -- which he agreed was not enough.
(Editing by Steve Addison)