Statement re #reclaimthestreets Vigils
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Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Sarah Everard.
We understand the strong sense of feelings her death has evoked across the country and in our local communities and we would like to reassure you this has not gone unheard. As a police service every day we strive to make our communities as safe as possible for everyone who lives, works, visits or studies with the South Wales force area.
It is important to us to listen to our communities, however, we must remember we are still in the midst of a global pandemic in which members of our communities are dying.
Alongside UK policing, South Wales Police recognises and upholds the right to democratic protest, and in normal circumstances we facilitate peaceful protest while minimising disruption to the wider public.
But these aren’t normal circumstances and Coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are restrictions in place to prevent its spread.
Officers work hard to engage with protest attendees in order to remind them of their obligations under the current Coronavirus legislation and the overarching goal for everyone to take personal responsibility by following Welsh Government regulations.
We are duty-bound to take into account all relevant legislation, and South Wales Police has strived to maintain a consistent policing style of engaging, explaining and encouraging, and enforcing as last resort where necessary, throughout this public health emergency.
This approach has been maintained and we would ask people to mark the tragic events online or by other means to avoid the prospect of officers having to take enforcement action at a large gathering or retrospectively.
While we know it will be disappointing for some, we urge everyone to mark this event and make their voices heard in a safe alternative way.