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M25 Protests – ‘Enough Is Enough’ Says Police Commissioner

Published on: 10 Nov, 2022
Updated on: 11 Nov, 2022

The scene in Essex following the injury of a police officer responding to the Just Stop Oli Protest. Photo Just Stop Oil

Surrey’s Police and Crime Commissioner Lisa Townsend has called on activists to halt their “reckless” protests on the M25 motorway after a police officer was injured whilst responding in Essex.

The commissioner said she shared the frustration of the vast majority of the public after a third day of Just Stop Oil protests caused widespread disruption across the road network in Surrey and surrounding counties.

PCC Lisa Townsend

She said the incident in Essex where a police motorcyclist was injured sadly highlights the dangerous situation the protests are creating and the risks for those police teams who are having to respond.

Activists scaled gantries again this morning at various locations around the Surrey stretch of the M25. All parts of the motorway were fully reopened by 9.30am and a number of arrests have been made.

The commissioner said: “What we have seen in Surrey and elsewhere over the last three days goes way beyond peaceful protest. What we are dealing with here is co-ordinated criminality by determined activists.

“Sadly, we have now seen an officer in Essex getting injured while responding to one of the protests and I would like to send my best wishes to them for a full and speedy recovery.

“The actions of this group are becoming more and more reckless and I call on them to halt these dangerous protests now. Enough is enough – people are getting hurt.

“I fully share the anger and frustration of those who have been caught up in this over the last three days. We have seen stories of people missing vital medical appointments and family funerals and NHS nurses unable to get into work – it is completely unacceptable.

“Whatever the cause these activists are trying to promote – the vast majority of the public are fed up with the disruption it is causing to the lives of thousands of people trying to go about their daily business.

“I know how hard our police teams have been working and I fully support their efforts to combat these protests. We have had teams patrolling the M25 from the early hours to try and disrupt the activities of this group, detain those responsible and ensure that the motorway can be reopened as soon as possible.

“But this is diverting our resources and putting an unnecessary strain on our officers and staff at a time when resources are already stretched.”

A statement issued by Just Stop Oil said: “The collision of two lorries and the injury of a police officer on the M25 this morning is an awful situation. The level of disruption being witnessed on the M25 should not be happening – people are rightly angry and frustrated.

“The impact on peoples lives is huge. In normal circumstances this would be unacceptable. It should never have come to this.

“The failure of our politics has left us with no other option as we seek to protect our rights and freedoms from a collapse in law and order due to a heating world. The government can end this, immediately, by ending dirty new oil and gas. The failure to abandon this toxic policy is a failure of politics and failure of leadership, it is a betrayal of us, our children and this country.

“It would be inappropriate to comment further on the details of the M25 accident while a police investigation is ongoing.”​​​​​​​

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test 6 Responses to M25 Protests – ‘Enough Is Enough’ Says Police Commissioner

  1. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    November 11, 2022 at 11:33 pm

    Can anyone enlighten me as to exactly why, when someone scales a gantry across a motorway, all traffic has to come to a halt?

    As they have lashed themselves to the structure there is a Zero chance any disrupter is going to fall off and hurt themself, or even damage a passing motor car.

    Recently, in a museum in Germany, protesters glued themselves to a famous painting. Staff and police left them there, said goodnight and locked ’em in. No access to a bathroom or being unglued until they returned next morning.

    In Italy, after sitting down on a busy road caused delay, trapped drivers got out of their vehicles and dragged them off the highway. So why here is the traffic halted?

    • J Holt Reply

      November 12, 2022 at 1:07 pm

      Better still the police should assess the health and safety issues and attach the protesters safely to the gantry and play them loud mood music, to drown the nasty motorway noise.

      The police could later, when there is less traffic (probably 3am), escort the protesters down from the gantry again for health and safety reasons.

    • Wayne Smith Reply

      November 13, 2022 at 3:26 pm

      I believe the concern may be that distracted motorists gazing up at the antics on the gantry may then cause accidents from being distracted and not having their eyes on the road.

      One might think that the Surrey PCC, having increased our council tax to hire a communications officer, would issue some clarification as to why the motorway has to be closed.

      • John Perkins Reply

        November 14, 2022 at 2:28 pm

        The gantries are designed to distract drivers by showing them temporary speed limits, advanced warnings etc.

  2. Sara Tokunaga Reply

    November 12, 2022 at 4:41 pm

    Personally, I would remove their banners and leave them up there. They have fastened themselves securely to the gantries, so are in no danger of falling.

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    November 14, 2022 at 11:47 am

    It’s all very well for folk to suggest that the protesters be left on the gantries and traffic allowed to flow beneath them. However, image the horror of some poor driver and perhaps their family in a car, should one of the protesters for whatever reason slip, fall and come crashing through the car’s windscreen, or even a glass sunroof into the vehicle?

    Even travelling at a reduced speed, of say 40mph, the injuries to all involved and indeed the damage to the vehicle are likely to be massive.

    I think the police response has improved considerably and they are doing the best they can, as quickly as they can. It’s now time for the judiciary to play their part and start imposing substantial sentences of imprisonment where possible and very large fines, when imprisonment is not an option.

    Yes, the people concerned have a right to protest and to express their views, but not at the expense of the right of the ordinary public to go about their lawful daily lives without interference.

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