Policing Protests: Update from Assistant Constable Mark Travis
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Assistant Chief Constable Mark Travis said: “Policing protests is challenging and complex and South Wales Police has a proven track record of negotiating with protest organisers to facilitate peaceful protest within the law.
“But the last 12 months have been unprecedented times and we have a duty to uphold the Coronavirus legislation which was introduced to protect the NHS and save lives. Public safety is, and always will be our top priority, and this hasn’t changed throughout our approach to the pandemic. We have always sought to find the right balance between the rights of protestors and those of local residents and businesses, while also considering the very real risks from the spread of the virus.
“As we continue to navigate our way through the ever-changing landscape of Covid-19 and the different challenges it presents, we will constantly be planning and preparing for every eventuality, particularly in light of the recent protests that have taken place in South Wales and other parts of the country.
“Officers will continue to engage with people and keep explaining the restrictions which are in place at the time. I urge the public to carry on supporting us in our efforts to prevent the further spread of the virus and if they do protest then they should do this within the law to keep themselves and our officers safe.
“Where lawful, we will seek to facilitate peaceful protests, but any violence will not be tolerated. Thankfully, the majority of protests are peaceful, but as we saw from the appalling scenes in Bristol, there can be a minority of people who attend such events with the sole intention of committing crime, including assaulting police. This is totally unacceptable and any person who is identified committing criminal acts at protests will face the consequences of their actions.”