PEACEFUL PROTEST – STAYING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LAW
There has and continues to be a keen interest from the public in the situation in Gaza, which has led to a series of protests being organised across West Yorkshire – particularly in Bradford.
Policing protests is a particularly challenging area of Policing. All officers take an oath when joining the service to discharge their duties without fear or favour.
As you can imagine, at times we may have strong feelings about the demonstrations that we are policing, but our training and discipline assist in not being influenced. It is really important that we are impartial as our duty is to facilitate peaceful protest as long as it is legal. We must make sure that any protesters do not stray from lawful demonstrations into unlawful activities.
In the main, the protests in Bradford have been carried out very responsibly and peacefully with people exercising their democratic right to protest without adversely affecting the community. The leaders of these demonstrations have been responsible and have spoken with the Police about their intentions. This dialogue has ensured that the protesters have been able to achieve their aims without acting in an unlawful manner.
The Police will act in a proportionate manner when action is necessary with people who act unlawfully.
Bradford is a fantastic place to serve as an officer and the multicultural nature of the city provides a variety of problems to resolve. We work with people from all communities to make neighbourhoods safer. One of the fond memories I have of some recent partnership working was when the English Defence League came to demonstrate in Bradford. The demonstration was facilitated and passed with minimum disruption to the city.
The resilience of individuals and community groups was apparent in the build-up to the protest and throughout the day in question, and the support and engagement with local officers and officers from other areas was outstanding.
This is a fantastic example that demonstrates that the Police do not police the community in isolation, as we are actually part of the community which we serve.