June 29: Police have begun negotiations with international protest groups in the lead up to the Brisbane’s G20 Summit to try to avoid failures of past events.
G20 Assistant Commissioner Katarina Carroll insists police have learnt from mistakes of past summits and have contingencies for worst case scenarios, which could include a temporary jail.
With its international reputation on the line, and arguably handling Australia’s largest peacetime counterterrorism security operation, the Queensland Police Service will also travel to London to talk with officials about successes and failures of the city’s 2009 event.
Toronto’s G20 in 2010 was heavily criticised over claims of excessive police force, with more than 1100 arrests and a lack of planning after authorities had only a four-month time frame.
”When you look at the lessons learnt from other events like this around the world we know that we will be attracting issue-motivated groups and protesters,” Ms Carroll told The Courier-Mail.
She said police would be involved in ”relationship building” with the protest groups and wanted to avoid an ”us and them” mentality.
”Not all relationships will be easy going through this but it’s a case of having those conversations,” Ms Carroll said.
Protest areas will be designated by police for the November 2014 summit and Ms Carroll refused to rule out police using the controversial containment method ”kettling”.
Riot police used the tactic in both London and Toronto to hold protesters in confined spaces for hours without water, food and toilets.
While Ms Carroll said police hoped to not have to make any arrests, she said police were considering if Brisbane had enough watch-house cells or if ”additional places” were needed.
”In all of our planning we plan for the worst and hope for the best,” she said.
”We as an organisation, definitely encourage lawful and peaceful protests if it is everyone’s right, we encourage that.
”However I think there will come a stage where we will articulate to people that we are engaged with that ‘these are the standards, this is what we expect’ however if it is beyond and above that obviously the community would expect the police to take action.”
She said there were no plans or orders to close parts of South Bank and nearby businesses such as GoMA and ABC although there may be disruptions during the November 15 and 16, 2014, event.
Community forums and doorknocking of businesses and residents had already begun and would continue in the coming weeks and months.
”We see this as not only an opportunity for Brisbane, but an opportunity for the QPS,” she said.
”It gives us an extraordinary capacity and capability to build our skills even more so than they are.”