Commissioner defends the Hertfordshire policing of Insulate Britain protesters
Hertfordshire Constabulary’s handling of the Insulate Britain protesters has been defended by the Police and Crime Commissioner.

David Lloyd has responded to criticism that officers were too slow to react and have been too lenient with those blocking the road.

He called 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.

“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.”

Speaking about the arrest procedure Mr Lloyd added: “I have been assured by the chief constable 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.”