There is often an unmistakable smell which accompanies a police officer getting their retaliation in first.
Especially when it is anything to do with "public order" offences.
This morning, a Superintendent David Hartshorn, who heads the Metropolitan Police's public order branch, was reported warning about a "summer of rage" where "middle-class individuals who would never have considered joining demonstrations may now seek to vent their anger through protests this year."
It seems, activists will increasingly be "intent on coming on to the streets to create public disorder".
See the story here.
But what does this interview really tell us?
I suggest two things.
First, the police are guessing that yet again their arrest-happy and legally-immune (but too often incompetent)officers and field controllers will fail to provide sensible and effective policing at public demonstrations. They will be seen to lose control. So an excuse needs to be put in advance: it's all the activists' fault. Hence this PR initiative by the Met.
And second, the police clearly expect that their victims are now less likely to just take any usual brutal policing at public demonstrations, and will instead complain and (try to) bring legal actions. Hence the "middle class" jibe, directed I suspect at anyone articulate and determined enough to seek accountability from police officers.
Should the police now lose control of a public demonstration, and then face numerous complaints and law suits, at least Superintendent Hartshorn can now tell us he told us so.