- guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 21 April 2009 13.37 BST
Boris Johnson today rallied to the defence of the policing of the G20 protests as he denied public confidence in the Metropolitan police had been damaged following evidence of police violence at the demonstrations.
The mayor, who is also the chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, joined Sir Paul Stephenson, the Met chief, in calling for the debate on the G20 policing to be seen in the context of a "complex" police operation.
Stephenson promised to take "proportionate" disciplinary action against those officers who did not carry their ID badges on the day.
He defended his officers, who he said had kept the public "largely safe" and prevented damage to the capital earlier this month.
The comments were made at the launch of Johnson's London Domestic Violence Strategy in Islington, north London.
The launch comes amid an outcry over video evidence showing violence by police officers against demonstrators.
A Guardian-ICM opinion poll, published today, shows the public believe police used an unacceptable level of force during the protests.
The poll found 59% of people were opposed to the police operation at the demonstrations, which took place in the City of London, while 31% agreed that it was a necessary response to the situation.
Johnson nevertheless insisted that the public backed the police's overall conduct in providing security at the demonstrations.
"I would not necessarily accept the premise that confidence in the police has been [damaged]," he said.
"On the contrary, while people ... want to see an urgent result to the IPCC investigation, I think the overwhelming majority of people in this city and this country understand the particularly difficult situation they [the police] face when being asked to provide security in a demonstration such as the G20."
Stephenson said the effects caused by some of the disturbing images would have to be assessed over time.
He also criticised officers who did not carry their ID numbers but emphasised that the policing of the demonstrations had to be seen in its full context.
He said: "There have been some concerning images which need to be fully and properly investigated.
"It is absolutely unacceptable for any police officer who should have identification numbers on not to have those identification numbers on. However, I will say there needs to be a context here.
"That operation was one of the most complex policing operations that's ever been undertaken – protecting multiple heads of state."
The Guardian will today provide the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) with five additional videos shot on mobile phones or camcorders given to the newspaper in the last week.
They are among 14 videos compiled by the Guardian showing alleged police violence or questionable tactics at the G20 protests.
The IPCC has received a record number of complaints about G20 policing, and is conducting three investigations into alleged attacks by officers.
They include a criminal inquiry into the death of Ian Tomlinson, the 47-year-old newspaper vendor who collapsed and died of internal bleeding shortly after being attacked from behind by an officer.
A police officer has requested a third postmortem examination following Tomlinson's death, Channel 4 news reported last night.
The first examination found Tomlinson had died of a heart attack, but a second test, carried out at the request of his family, found he had suffered an internal haemorrhage.