Herts Crime Commissioner clashes over Insulate Britain response
- Credit: Gene Genie Photography
The media has been accused colluding with climate activists who carried out a series of blockades on the M25 and other motorways.
Herts Police and Crime Commissioner David Lloyd was addressing criticism that officers were too slow to react and have been too lenient with those blocking the road.
In an interview earlier this week with LBC's Nick Ferrari, Mr Lloyd said their reporter who managed to attend the scene of one of the several M25 protests before the police did was "giving those protestors the oxygen of publicity".
He said: "Your reporter manages to be on scene as it's happening, she hasn't told us that it's happening.
"I think it is your public duty, if you know that a crime is about to happen that you should inform the police that the crime is about to happen."
Nick Ferrari countered Mr Lloyd's points by saying: "It's not the role of journalists to snitch to the cops.
"What should journalists be doing, acting as a wing of the police force?"
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On the point of a reporter being on the scene before the police he added: "It's been the same people for five attempts, if your blokes and women had nicked them and bailed them they'd have never come back on Tuesday, last Friday or twice this week."
Following the interview the Commissioner said he would be calling for more powers to deal with disruptive protests and for people to support the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that is currently going through Parliament.
He said: "I share the anger of thousands of people who have been inconvenienced and, in some cases, suffered terribly because of these protesters. There is the terrible story of the woman who was left paralysed by a stroke, and those who have missed funerals and long-standing medical appointments.
“There has been a lot of anger and criticism directed at the police during this time due to perceived slow responses and apparent lack of direct action. We must focus on the harm and that is not being caused by the police, but by the demonstrators.”
Dozens of people in Hertfordshire were arrested during the several protests, with the most being 29 people in a single morning.
Insulate Britain say they plan to continue protesting until the government makes a meaningful commitment to insulate Britain’s 29 million homes, which they claim are some of the oldest and most energy inefficient in Europe.
Speaking about the arrest procedure Mr Lloyd added: “I have been assured by the Chief Constable [Charlie Hall] that they have used the lawful methods at their disposal to remove and detain the protesters.
“They must use the appropriate force during an arrest. If someone is glued to the road then they needed to be de-bonded from the surface before they are removed.”
Questions have also been raised about the conduct on an officer in a widely-viewed video telling protesters ‘If you are in any discomfort or need anything let me know’.
Addressing the issue Mr Lloyd said: “I personally know the inspector and she has been a fine leader of the constabulary’s victim services team. If you watch the video in its entirety it starts with her telling them they are going to be arrested.
“This means the police have a duty of care, the same as they do for all those who are taken into custody. She has shown them compassion in the same way I believe anyone of us would expect to be treated if we were arrested. I want a police force where officers are admired and not feared by the population."
Mr Lloyd also backed the Chief Constable, saying the national media response was being coordinated by the National Police Chiefs’ Council and their lead spokesperson for protest had been available for interviews.
He added: “I have previously voiced my support for the measures in the government’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, which will give the police additional powers to deal with issues such as this. It would put public nuisance on a statutory footing and give the police more powers to detain people and hold them on remand.
“In the meantime now that National Highways have been granted an injunction to stop Insulate Britain blocking the M25, I hope that will be that end of the matter.”