The Force would like to thank organisers and participants following peaceful protests in Bournemouth and Weymouth during the Easter weekend.
The events took place at around 1pm on Saturday 3 April 2021 in The Square in Bournemouth and in Weymouth town centre without any reports of public order incidents.
Leading up to the protests officers liaised with the organisers to ensure compliance with the current law and to protect our communities. Following changes to COVID-19 regulations, there is now an exemption to allow peaceful protests. However, this exemption only applies if the organisers take the required precautions to ensure people’s safety is not put at risk.
The right to protest is well established in this country and police forces have a long history of upholding this by policing by consent and ensuring the safety of all those exercising that right.
Protest policing is challenging and complex – and even more so during these unprecedented times. Public safety is, and always will be police’s top priority, and this hasn’t changed throughout our approach to the pandemic.
Superintendent Richard Bell, of Dorset Police, said: “I would like to thank the organisers and participants for adhering to the current restrictions.
“We have always sought to find the right balance between the rights of protestors and those of residents and businesses, while also considering the very real risks from the spread of the virus.
“Coronavirus is a deadly disease and the current legislation in relation to it aims to prevent its spread. At this time officers are trying to strike a balance between established rights and policing of COVID-19 restrictions in an effort to maintain the confidence of all groups of our communities.
“We must remember that the threat of COVID-19 remains and we must do all we can to stick within the restrictions to help keep people safe.
“As the current restrictions begin to lift over the coming months, we are asking the public to continue to play their part so that we do not undo all of the good work.”