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Wiltshire Police Federation

Wiltshire Police Federation statement on the challenge of policing current protests

10 June 2020

“Wiltshire Police officers police by consent and our members are out there 24/7 working hard to protect and serve our communities, without fear or favour. Our members will continue to work as hard as they can to allow public rights and freedom of expression, while upholding the law.

“We have seen that in the professional and understanding approach of officers dealing with the peaceful demonstrations we have seen in the county.

“Unfortunately some pockets of disorder – from the minority – at protests we have seen in other parts of the country only too readily show how peaceful protests can become violent and dangerous for our colleagues.

“Whilst there is no room for any form of racism in our society, we also must remember that  policing also needs to take a neutral stance when policing demonstrations of any nature and I know officers have some concern that we are moving away from the neutral position.

“Therefore we would also like to say to colleagues – and to remind the public - that “taking a knee” whilst on duty might not always be appropriate. And the public need to understand that just because officers are not taking part in overt gestures of support to a particular cause, does not mean that policing does not fully appreciate and recognise the concerns that are being raised.”