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Police: Protests — Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:00 pm on 21st April 2009.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Security and Counter-terrorism), Home Office, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Security and Counter-terrorism) 3:00 pm, 21st April 2009

My Lords, I absolutely agree that we have a right to protest; it is one of this country's great freedoms. Before I say anything more, we should not lose sight of the fact that, the week before the G20, the "Put People First" demonstration had 30,000 people marching through London, and that went off peacefully. We should also not lose sight of this: during the course of the G20, thousands of officers acted absolutely professionally and proportionately, and thousands of people were able to demonstrate peacefully on our streets, while criminal activity in the rest of the metropolis was kept to an absolute minimum. The police maintained high levels of security; we should be extremely proud of them. That is not to excuse criminal acts, and investigations are now taking place on those particulars. However, in general we are very well served by our police. I am proud of them, and my general approach is that they are on our side. They are our people, and that is the way to do it.