Speaking on BBC’s The Andrew Marr show, Priti Patel responds to concerns raised by him on police “losing control” across UK.
Andrew Marr: Priti Patel, as we are leaving the lockdown are you beginning to be concerned that across the street of this country the police are in some places losing control?
Priti Patel: Well, what concerns me Andrew is the fact that we are seeing people mass gatherings. We are in the midst of a midst of a global pandemic still a health crisis and a health emergency that people are still gathering and quite inappropriate ways. And obviously, we have seen in recent weeks, protests, demonstrations that have turned ugly and violent. I’ve seen far too many assaults on our hard-working and our outstanding police officers that is unacceptable. And then more recently in the last week or so, we’ve seen gathering street parties, you know people behaving in ways in which the quite frankly just not [ not] right and not proper. So with regards to policing, I spend every day speaking to our policing leadership across the country almost every day with frontline officers as well and our officers are resilient. They are remarkable. I think they’ve been true heroes throughout the global pandemics throughout the last 13 weeks with coronavirus. But the fact of the matter is we still have this disease in our communities in society. We need people to be conscientious and act responsibly.
Andrew Marr: And yet people are not acting responsibly. I mean you talk about street parties and let’s just remind ourselves. Look at some of the pictures from Brixton. This was as it were a street party very very violent street party and some really nasty confrontations here. Is that not a sign of as it were Law and Order breaking down on the streets of London?
Priti Patel: Well, well first of all that what we saw was unacceptable police officers were assaulted and injured. There are a number of police officers that were injured that night which is absolutely shocking. We’ve seen violent behaviour. I mean that’s violent behaviour will be met with law enforcement that is effectively what the police do. I’ve actually spoken to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner; I made it quite clear if more support was required or needed for the police more resources, and quite frankly, we will do whatever is needed. But it’s behaviour, behaviour is the key thing here right, now. Those types of behaviours will do very little to stop the spread of the virus right now. And where we see criminality, violent behaviour, as I said, when we saw the protests a few weeks ago, thuggishness and violent behaviour is simply unacceptable, and the police will do the right thing. They will enforce the law.
Andrew Marr: Do you think we need to see fewer big mass gatherings on the streets of Britain in total? We’ve had two days now, two nights now where people in Liverpool been celebrating their football victory in very very large numbers. We saw the black lives matter demonstrations as well. Do we have to stop coming out into the street from these large numbers at this time?
Priti Patel: My view is yes; we do. Congratulations to Liverpool for winning, but even so, fans, of course, want to celebrate but they did not need to go to the football ground and congregate outside the stadium, you know, as much as people do want to be out right now. The weather is amazing, stick to the rules, follow the guidance, we’ve made it quite clear that you know, six or more people, no one should be gathering more than six or six or more people. But also when it comes to protest, there are other ways in which people can express their views and opinions. And with black lives matter, they’re legitimate voices, legitimate causes, legitimate issues that were being aired at the time and of course, you know, I’m a member of the government we are all working and listening to many of those really challenging and difficult issues surrounding justice, social justice, we want to right some wrongs there, absolutely, and do much more to help and support people. But protest in right now will not help us get control of this awful disease, this horrible virus and stop the spread of it.