National chair calls for protests to be banned

The national chair of the Police Federation is urging the Home Secretary to ban large gatherings and protests to protect the public and police officers.

John Apter said the right to peacefully protest was important in normal times.

“However, we are not in normal times, we are tackling a deadly virus which is indiscriminate in who it can affect,” he explained, “Police officers have provided outstanding professionalism in their dealings with large gatherings during COVID-19 - some of which turned violent at the weekend.

“But we can’t ignore the avoidable risk our members and to those attending the protests are being exposed to. I urge the Home Secretary to be unequivocal in her terms that, while we are under the threat of this virus, any large gathering or protest must be banned.

“We cannot allow our police officers and members of the public to be put at risk of contracting the virus, especially at such a critical time in our response to the pandemic.”