A new report from Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services has warned police forces that they must “strike a better balance between the rights of protesters and the rights of local residents, businesses, and those who hold opposing views”.
The report talks about a number of disruptive left-wing protests, including Extinction Rebellion events that “brought some of London’s busiest areas to a standstill for several days” and a September 2020 action which “blocked the delivery of newspapers.”
Citing public opinion, the report says: “for every person who thought it acceptable for the police to ignore protesters committing minor offences, twice as many thought it was unacceptable. And the majority of respondents felt it was unacceptable for protests to involve violence or serious disruption to residents and business.”
Discussing the report, HM Inspector of Constabulary Matt Parr also appeared to take aim at virtue signalling cops who meekly took a knee at last year’s outrageous Black Lives Matter protests. He said: “It is really important that in that context, their activities are seen as neutral. Officers are not there to protest themselves. They should be careful of any actions that could be interpreted as supporting or being against one side in a protest. That would rarely be appropriate for them to do”
He also defended the right to protest but confirmed that activists don’t have an unqualified right to infringe on the rights of other people to live their lives.
“The right to gather and express our views is fundamental to our democracy. But this is not an absolute right. The police need to strike the correct balance between the rights of protesters and the rights of others, such as local residents and businesses.
“We found that the police too often do not find the balance between protecting the rights of the protesters and preventing excessive disruption to daily life, which even peaceful protest can sometimes cause.”
The report also goes into some detail about a June 2020 incident that saw left-wingers tear down a statue of beloved Bristol philanthropist Edward Colston, saying that a lack of specific intel on a planned attack made it difficult to intervene but also saying that local police “could have made stronger representations to Bristol City Council to protect the statue by, for example, boarding it up.”
This site has previously reported how nearly 70 statues have been axed or targeted for the chop since the Colston episode, but a planned legal shake-up could see statue vandals caged for up to ten years.