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Statement from Acting Police and Crime Commissioner, Ray Bisby

I very much welcome MP, Anthony Browne’s call for a wider debate into the impact of the current Public Order legislation which exists to support police forces when handling protests such as that held by Extinction Rebellion in February in Cambridge.

The climate crisis is real and there is evidently a great deal of public interest in some of the methods used by the environmental campaign group.

What happened in Cambridge will inevitably be repeated in other areas of the country therefore it is vital our police forces have the legitimate power to protect communities whilst dealing with the actions of protestors.

It is important to remember that, as with any other planned protests, a strategic (Gold) planning meeting was held where joint decisions were agreed with senior community partners. These meetings took place throughout the week long protest and the views of those partners informed the police actions.

There is clearly a need for a national discussion regarding the challenges the police face when managing protests. I have asked the Chief Constable to conduct a thorough internal review into their response and look forward to making sure the findings of that review inform both local and national learning.