Policing Public Order
The Police Authority has been reassured by Chief Constable David Whatton following the publication of a report by Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary “Adapting to Protest” which was commissioned by Sir Paul Stephens. The report made recommendations for changes to the policing of public protests after the Metropolitan Police had been criticised the policing of the G20 summit in April this year.
Chairman of the Authority Margaret Ollerenshaw said, “following some high profile protests around the country, we wanted to ensure that the people of Cheshire feel confident in the way officers in Cheshire are trained to deal with public order. Authority Members, including myself, have been out to observe the way officers are trained. Today, we welcomed a report from the Chief Constable which shows that the Constabulary can show a strong tradition of ensuring peaceful protests.”
These experiences have been developed by improving the training provided to officers who deal with public order. All of the staff have been briefed about the importance of wearing visible identification numbers, as they always have.
The recent Creamfields event demonstrated that the Constabulary is in a strong position to respond rapidly, professionally and proportionately to the potential for public protest in the force area, and builds on the successful policing of the protests at Stanlow Oil refinery during the fuel disputes.
In 2009, the Constabulary trained a Police Support Unit for the first time in prison riot situations. This Unit has been used by other Police Forces including at the "Climate Camp" in late August to assist the Metropolitan Police Service in managing that major protest. The event passed off peacefully, but lessons were learned by all involved, and will help in planning for the London Olympics in 2012 when we need to ensure that the effect of a large policing operation has little effect on day to day policing in Cheshire.
HMIC's report, published on 13 July 2009, highlights the need for the police to plan and deliver police operations that safeguard the rights of individuals during protests. The report makes a number of immediate recommendations, including that Police:-
· Facilitate peaceful protest
· Improve dialogue with protest groups where possible
· Improve communication with the public
· Improve training to equip officers to deal with the full spectrum of protest activity
· Wear clear identification at all times