The police commander in charge of policing Friday’s Windsor-Middleton wedding has made what I see as some outrageous decisions about the police role.
Although she admits that there is no evidence of a specific threat to the event she is quoted on the BBC website as saying —
“We would be wrong not to consider spontaneous protest as part of our contingency planning. But let us make it absolutely clear - this is a day of celebration, joy and pageantry. It is a fantastic day for Britain.
Any criminals attempting to disrupt it, be that in the guise of protest or otherwise, will be met by a robust, decisive, flexible and proportionate policing response.”
Who are these ‘criminals’ who she speaks of. Assassins? Drug dealers? Flashers? Who? In the video which accompanies the story she makes it quite clear that she will define what is criminal behaviour. When asked if she will let in a group who are clearly protestors she says they will respond ‘quickly, swiftly and appropriately’ because they don’t want the event to be ‘spoiled either for the royal couple … or for anyone else who wants to come to London to enjoy the event’.
Excuse me? What about my right to go to the event and enjoy protesting about it? Don’t I have a right to at least go down there wearing a T-shirt or carrying a placard reading, say, ‘Republic Now!’ in order to make my point? Apparently not. When asked what she would do if a people turn up with banners, placards and T-shirts she effectively refuses to answer other than to say that the police have a range of legislation they can use to stop not only criminality but people who don’t want to ‘enjoy the wedding in the way that most of us do’.
In addition to all this the police have already banned 60 ‘suspected troublemakers’ from London on Friday and have arrested six people, with perhaps more to come, just in case they do something.
I can understand that the police have a difficult job to do on Friday, what with the expected huge crowds and a number of undesirable dictators being around, but stopping people from even holding static, non-violent protests is frankly outrageous.
Posted 26 April 2011, 20:44 BST