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Police defend eviction tactics
Police defended their handling of the Dale Farm eviction operation following violent showdowns on the site.
Officers faced claims they used "undue force" during angry clashes which saw Tasers used against two protesters and three arrests made.
But Superintendent Trevor Roe, of Essex Police, insisted his force treated those on site with "respect and dignity".
And he supported the use of a Taser gun during one angry confrontation.
"Serious violence was offered to a pair of officers in particular," he said.
"Their response was to protect themselves. They carry personal protective equipment which includes the Taser and they just naturally reacted as they are trained individuals to operate that device."
Acknowledging Tasers are not recommended as a "public order tactic", he added: "This was an isolated incident where officers were threatened directly."
And he insisted the officers involved were appropriately trained and understood their boundaries.
An inquiry will now be launched into issues of reasonable force during the operation which saw police pelted with bricks and some protesters urinating on officers.
Essex Police said the force was now in control of the site, describing the atmosphere as "calm" while tension had been "reduced".
"We haven't had many difficulties this morning," Supt Roe added.
"We treated everybody with respect and dignity and there's been a clear delineation between the travellers and the protesters this morning.
"The majority of the violence was clearly coming from the protesters as we understand it and obviously we have (had) to deal accordingly."
The police operation followed intelligence suggesting there would be "serious disorder" as officers stormed the site.
"A lot of missiles, fluids, objects and liquids had been stored," Supt Roe told reporters.
"Intelligence clearly suggested there was going to be a serious disorder if entry was made into the site.
"Based on that situation, and that information, the tactic was obviously to try and gain safe control of the site as soon as we could."
Guidance on the use of Tasers, issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) in 2008, said it was "not possible to provide a definitive list of circumstances where the use of Taser would be appropriate".
But it should only be used where officers are authorised to carry firearms or "where the authorising officer has reason to suppose that they, in the course of their duty, may have to protect the public, themselves and/or the subject(s) at incidents of violence or threats of violence of such severity that they will need to use force".
Christian Papaleontiou, of the Home Office's policing directorate, has also said that Tasers should not be used to control crowds during protests.
Giving evidence to MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee in December last year, Mr Papaleontiou said he supported the Acpo guidance "which is very clear that Tasers should not be used in terms of a crowd control measure in public order scenarios".
An Acpo spokesman said: "Tactical decisions concerning necessary and proportionate use of force are a matter for the operational commander who will deploy tactics appropriate to the specific circumstances.
"Tasers are used by trained officers facing violence or threats of violence of such severity that they will need to use force to protect the public, themselves or the subjects."