Half of Brits Don't Trust Met Police and Fear Arrest if They Join Peaceful Protests
In the wake of coronation arrests, new polling finds only a minority of British people would now feel safe joining a peaceful protest
In this week’s Bienkov Briefing:
EXCLUSIVE POLL FINDS BRITS DON’T TRUST MET POLICE
ALMOST HALF FEAR ARREST IF THEY JOIN PEACEFUL PROTESTS
WOMEN FEEL PARTICULARLY AT RISK OF ARREST
SUNAK’S GOVERNMENT EMBRACES HARD RIGHT FRINGE
Half of all Brits do not trust the Metropolitan Police, according to an exclusive new poll for the Byline Supplement, with a similar proportion saying they would not feel safe from arrest if they joined a peaceful protest.
In the wake of the coronation, at which peaceful protesters, as well as individuals merely mistaken for protesters, were arrested and detained by the police for up to 16 hours, new polling by Omnisis has found low public confidence in the UK’s largest police force.
When asked if they trust the Metropolitan Police, just one third (34%) said they did compared to 48% who said they did not.
A further 44% said they would not feel safe from arrest if they joined a peaceful protest in future, with just 32% saying they would.
The poll found that women are significantly less likely to feel safe joining a peaceful protest. 49% of all women polled said they would not feel safe protesting, compared to just 38% of men who said the same.
The findings come as Scotland Yard seeks to defend its handling of the coronation protests and other recent events, after allegations of taking a “heavy-handed” approach.
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In advance of the coronation, Met officers arrested eight leading republican protesters as they unloaded placards for their protest, as well as three night-time safety volunteers wearing jackets sponsored by the Metropolitan Police themselves. Another woman, who was merely sitting near some protesters during the event, was also arrested by officers, before any protests had even begun.
Many of the arrests were made using new legislation rushed through Parliament in advance of the coronation. The legislation, which allows police to detain any individual carrying devices which could be used to “lock on” was used as a justification for detaining republican protesters, who had luggage straps with them in the van carrying their placards.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist this week defended the force’s actions to MPs, insisting that all arrests were “lawful” and based on real intelligence of a potential threat.
However, Republic CEO Graham Smith, who was among those wrongly arrested, told Byline Times that the Met’s defence of their actions did not stand up to scrutiny, given the extensive communication his group had with the police about their protest in advance of the coronation.
“Being generous here, the Met Police are being disingenuous. Some of the statements they made were clearly false”, he said.
The Return of the Nat-C Party
While the free speech of anyone wishing to protest against the monarchy or the Government now appears to be under threat, no such restrictions were in evidence at the National Conservatism conference in London this week.
The event held host to a series of speakers with extreme right-wing views, as well as senior Cabinet members and Conservative MPs.
As I write in the upcoming edition of Byline Times, the embrace of the event by Rishi Sunak’s Government is an alarming development. Just three years ago the Conservative MP Daniel Kawczynski was forced to apologise by his party for attending what was then widely described as the “far right” event. A Conservative Party spokesperson at the time said Kawczynski’s attendance was “not acceptable”, and added that they “utterly condemn” the views of speakers at the event.
Three years on and far from condemning the event, Sunak’s government has actively embraced them. The Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who was a keynote speaker at the event, personally endorsed fellow speaker Douglas Murray. Murray, who has previously suggested that conditions for all Muslim people in Europe must be made “harder” and proposed an immigration ban on all Muslim-majority countries, used his own speech to describe the actions of the Nazis as the Germans having merely “mucked up”.
Other speakers at the event included the Conservative MP Danny Kruger, who told the event that only “normative” heterosexual families in which “mothers and father stick together for the sake of the children” should be encouraged by the state.
Another speaker David Starkey, who recently suggested that the Prime Minister himself does not share British values due to his Hindu faith, used his own speech to make a series of offensive comments about slavery, Black Lives Matter and “white culture”.
Asked by Byline Times whether the Prime Minister would condemn Starkey’s comments, at an event attended by members of his own Cabinet, a spokesman for Rishi Sunak would say only that he “does not agree” with them.
In the wake of the departure of Boris Johnson and Liz Truss there was much commentary lauding the so-called return of “grown ups” to Downing Street.
However, in many ways Sunak is significantly to the right of his predecessors on social issues. His decision to embrace the National Conservatism movement and its far-right fringe this week, after its members were previously rejected by both Johnson and Cameron, takes the Conservative party in a particularly alarming direction.
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