Commissioner sets up independent panel to scrutinise protests and demonstrations

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An independent panel to examine major protests and demonstrations in Greater Manchester has been set up by the region’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

The panel will provide strategic advice on how police manage major demonstrations, as well as being actively involved in police operations during live events.

Members have been drawn from across Greater Manchester’s diverse communities, and bring with them a vast range of experience including protest and trade union activism, politics, policing, community relations, media and youth engagement.

The first meeting will take place this week. As well as discussing the role and remit of the panel, members will discuss recent major demonstrations in Greater Manchester including the ongoing protest at Barton Moss.

Tony has set up the panel with the full support of Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy. GMP will provide information to the panel on its procedures on policing protests, and will involve members in the planning stages. In addition, panel members will be present during live operations to observe and provide advice.

Tony said: “Greater Manchester has a great history of protest and I am proud to say that I have been on many demonstrations throughout the years.

“As public servants; police have a duty to ensure that people’s freedom to peacefully protest is both facilitated and respected. This is frequently a challenge, as they are often thrown into the middle of conflicting and competing rights.

“GMP has a good record in policing protests. Just last year we saw the largest demonstration ever held in the city and it was a textbook case of what can be achieved when protesters work with police.

“But there’s also been issues of legitimate public concern raised: this panel will ensure that there is independent scrutiny of how police approach demonstrations in our region. I’m confident that it will build both trust and public confidence in our police service.

“I’m very grateful that panel members have been willing to give up their own time to provide this advice and input. The members are leaders in their respective fields with an impressive and broad range of experience.”

Sir Peter added: “I am pleased with this development. Policing has always benefited from local independent oversight and GMP has nothing to hide. The panel will be able to take an objective view on the balance between the right to protest and the rights of residents and businesses.

The panel will meet quarterly and will report regularly to Tony. Its findings and recommendations will be made public on the GMPCC website.

6 comments

Marie Harvey

Who are these people? Who picked them? What makes you think that they will be independent. Why is discussing them on your forum ‘off topic’?

webadmin

The panel meets this week Marie and afterwards we will be talking more about the membership. The membership comprises a broad range of people with different areas of expertise and experience. Jim and Tony approached a number of people to ensure it did have that range of experience. The off-topic reference is because you were commenting on it on a part of facebook which was discussing a hate crime conference for young people. We ask as part of our house rules that discussion stays on-topic. In saying that, we hadn’t put the news article on the panel on our facebook page at that point, so in fairness there wasn’t anywhere to discuss it when you put your comment on – which is our fault so apologies!

Isobel Freeman

It would be helpful to know who is on this panel and what their expertise is. I cannot think of any reason for panel members to remain anonymous; surely it’s in the public interest for us to know who they are.

Isobel Freeman

I posted a comment on here two days ago. Where is it, and why hasn’t it been answered? I just want to know who is on the panel. Not controversial, is it?

Isobel Freeman

Okay, so my previous comment has now shown up. It would be great to get a response. Thanks.

webadmin

Apologies Isobel, we’ve been having a few problems with the comments part of the website that we think should now be resolved. Comments are pre-moderated on this site, but it shouldn’t take two days for a comment to appear so sorry about that. The panel membership isn’t secret, but we wanted to wait until after the first meeting to outline the membership. It’s an independent panel so we needed to check they were happy with that. However, more details of the panel, including its membership is available here. Thanks

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