Restoring Public Confidence in Protest Policing in the UK
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Restoring Public Confidence in Protest Policing in the UK
20th June 2022 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Black Lives Matter have tested the limits of protest, free expression, and civic norms to their limits.
Self-proclaimed ‘protesters’ have deliberately sought to not only maximise the loudness of their voices but also the inconvenience and disruption that their actions caused. Activists have shut roads, public transport, destroyed property, and threatened to bring whole industries to a standstill.
The police, meanwhile, have struggled to respond to this sudden shift. On occasions, police have gone too far. On other occasions, the law itself has been felt to fail the police. On still other occasions, the police have received widespread criticism for standing idly by as naked criminality has taken place.
Chris Loder MP, the Member of Parliament for West Dorset, in a report for the Henry Jackson Society has written on the changes he feels the police and policymakers need to make to rise to this new challenge. He will be joined in Parliament by Dr Alan Mendoza, Mercy Muroki and The Rt Hon Lord Sumption to discuss how we police those who seek to make lawbreaking a political statement. to discuss how we police those who seek to make lawbreaking a political statement.
Chris Loder was first elected to Parliament for his home constituency of West Dorset in December 2019. Before he became an MP, Chris spent a 20-year career on the railways working for a number of operators in the UK and abroad, and accordingly Chris focuses much of his policy work on transport. Beyond that, Chris has developed his legislative interest in policing and public order policy, particularly following the wide-scale protests seen across London in 2020. He is interested in finding ways to balance the rights of protestors and rights of citizens through research and well-written legislation.
Mercy Muroki is a journalist and broadcaster who presents a daily show on GB News and writes a column for The Sun. After emigrating to the UK from Kenya as a child, she developed a keen interest in politics and went on to study a Master’s in Social Policy at the University of Oxford, focusing on issues of deprivation and identity. In 2020 she was appointed by the Prime Minister to sit on the Government’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities. She describes herself as ‘socially conservative’ and has been a strong critic of the left’s discourse on and approaches to tackling racism.
After reading history at Magdalen College, Oxford, and serving for four years as a history Fellow of the College, Lord Sumption was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in 1975 and took Silk in 1986. His practice covered all aspects of Commercial, EU and Competition, Public and Constitutional Law. He was a Recorder of the Crown Court from 1993 to 2001, a Judicial Appointments Commissioner from 2006 to 2011 and a Justice of the Supreme Court from 2012 to 2018. In 2019 he delivered the BBC Reith Lectures on Law and the Decline of Politics. He is also an accomplished historian.
Dr Alan Mendoza is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, Britain’s leading thinktank fighting for the principles and alliances which keep societies free. He directs strategy for the organisation as well as acting as its main public face in mediums as diverse as the BBC, Sky, CNBC, Al-Jazeera. Bloomberg, LBC and TalkRadio. On the print side, Alan is a columnist for City AM, London’s business newspaper, and has contributed to The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun and a host of international newspapers and magazines.
Having obtained a B.A. (Hons.) and M.Phil in history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Alan completed a Ph.D. at the same institution. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was the Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in the Brent Central Constituency for the 2015 General Election. He is also a Trustee of the President Reagan Memorial Fund Trust.
The Henry Jackson Society was pleased to hold a panel discussion on disruptive protests and their policing. Dr Mendoza began the discussion by introducing the speakers and the topic of conversation. The Rt Hon Lord Sumption defined the concept of protest through a legal framework, arguing that disruptive activists hinder the rights of decision-making and freedom of expression in a democracy. Mercy Muroki discussed the costs of these protests for order and public confidence in the police. She explained that the police have become politicised, leading to the erosion of their impartiality when controlling protests. Chris Loder MP talked about the harm disruptive protests cause for police officers, both for their physical integrity and for the safeguarding of their impartiality. He explained why he was interested as an MP in this issue, and the role of the parliament in ensuring the protection of the police. The panellists answered a series of questions on the difference between the protesting in the US and the UK, technology, media, and Sarah Everard’s protests.
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