The independent panel set up by the Police and Crime Commissioner to scrutinise the policing of protests and demonstrations has met for the first time.
Tony Lloyd has convened the panel to provide strategic input on how police manage major demonstrations, as well as observing and advising during live incidents.
The panel is chaired by Martin Miller from the Diocese of Manchester. Martin also had a leading role in the Hope Not Hate campaign, which takes a stand against extremist organisations like the British National Party and English Defence League.
Martin said: “We’ve had a productive first meeting where we’ve sorted out how the panel is going to work. Now we’re all keen to get down to business and are looking forward to addressing this important issue with vigour.”
The other panellists are:
- Atiha Chaudry, an equalities and diversity specialist and magistrate
- Matthew Colledge, former leader of Trafford Council and a Vice Chair of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority
- Diane Curry OBE, Partners of Prisoners Chief Executive and independent member of the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Panel
- Davine Forde, a youth and community organisation manager who is currently Project Coordinator at Manchester charity Reclaim
- Alan Manning, former TUC Regional Secretary
- Mohammed Sultan, a retired police inspector with more than 30 years’ policing experience
- Janine Watson, who has 30 years’ experience in communications and community engagement in Greater Manchester local authorities and media organisations, and is currently Assistant Chief Executive at Stockport Council
Tony added: “I’m very grateful that all of the panellists are willing to give up their time. They come with a vast range of experience and expertise and I have no doubt they will make a valuable contribution in this important area. I am a strong supporter of the right to demonstrate and believe protest to be an invaluable part of our democratic heritage.
“Police are there to facilitate peaceful protest, but it is often a complex area as conflicting rights can present real challenges to the policing of demonstrations. Having a scrutiny body in place that can advise, challenge and recommend is a major step forward, which both I and the Chief Constable welcome.”
At the panel’s first meeting this week, the chair was selected, terms of reference agreed and an initial work programme drawn up.
The panel will reconvene next week to get an overview of how police approach protests and demonstrations with examples of previous incidents. They will also be given a detailed briefing on the ongoing Barton Moss operation.