Acting police and crime commissioner: ‘I understand public frustration over Extinction Rebellion Cambridge protests’
Acting police and crime commissioner Ray Bisby says he is continuing to seek reassurance from the chief constable over how the force is responding to action by Extinction Rebellion Cambridge activists.
In a statement, Mr Bisby said he appreciates the depth of feeling and the impact of the current action, but said the police have a duty to facilitate the right to peaceful protest.
He said the force has to balance this against their other responsibilities: to promote public safety, maintain public order, prevent crime and protect the rights of others.
Mr Bisby admitted that this can at times lead to public frustration.
Yesterday (Sunday, February 16) Extinction Rebellion Cambridge climate activists set up a roadblock at Trumpington Road and the Fen Causeway where they have remained since.
The action is part of a week-long, 24/7 protest launched by the group’s youth arm.
Earlier today, the group dug up the lawn at the University of Cambridge’s Trinity College.
The Acting Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Police and Crime Commissioner said: “The operational policing response to the protest is one that the chief constable is responsible for, and as with any other policing operation, by law the commissioner cannot get involved in.
“However, he has conveyed public opinion to the chief constable. He is also aware of the public petition. The commissioner continues to seek reassurance from the chief constable as the situation progresses as to how the police will be responding.”
He continued: “Both the chief constable and the commissioner understand this fine balance and that at times this can lead to public frustration.
The constabulary is in a challenging position where they will work in partnership to provide a proportionate policing response to the protest, balancing the needs and rights of protestors with those impacted by the protest.
“The constabulary will be working with local agencies to mitigate the impact of any disruptions caused by the protests.”