Devon and Cornwall Police have thanked everyone involved in peaceful and lawful protests today across the two counties.
Lee Trewhela www.devonlive.com
The force took to social media to thank organisers and participants following peaceful Kill the Bill protests in Plymouth, Exeter, Truro and Newquay as well as a protest against development at the Carbis Bay Hotel, which will host the G7 Summit.
Three hundred people protested in Truro against the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill with hundreds more in Plymouth and Exeter, and 200 people demonstrating against landscaping work being carried out at the Carbis Bay estate which will host world leaders in June.
The events took place without any significant reports of public order incidents and with no arrests made.
Leading up to the protest officers liaised with the organisers to ensure compliance with the current law and to protect the communities. Following changes to Covid-19 regulations, there is now an exemption to allow peaceful protests. However, this exemption only applies if the organisers take the required precautions to ensure people’s safety is not put at risk.
A police spokesperson said: “The right to protest is well established in this country and police forces have a long history of upholding this by policing by consent and ensuring the safety of all those exercising that right.
“Protest policing is challenging and complex – and even more so during these unprecedented times. Public safety is, and always will be, police’s top priority and this hasn’t changed throughout our approach to the pandemic.”
Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, protest commander for Devon and Cornwall Police, added: “I would like to thank the organisers and participants for adhering to the current restrictions while protesting today.
“Those attending engaged positively with our officers, exercising their right to protest in a peaceful and lawful way.
“We have always sought to find the right balance between the rights of protesters and those of residents and businesses, while also considering the very real risks from the spread of the virus.
“Coronavirus is a deadly disease and the current legislation in relation to it aims to prevent its spread. At this time officers are trying to strike a balance between established rights and policing of Covid restrictions in an effort to maintain the confidence of all groups of our communities.”
“We must remember that the threat of Covid remains and we must do all we can to stick within the restrictions to help keep people safe.”
“As the current restrictions begin to lift over the coming months, we are asking the public to continue to play their part so that we do not undo all of the good work.”