Life

How the Police Want You to Protest

We asked a "police officer" for his thoughts.
Simon Childs
London, GB
April 30, 2021, 11:09am
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Photo: Aiyush Pachnanda

As a law-abiding citizen quietly getting on with your day, you may not have noticed a recent spate of protests against new laws that will give us coppers the power to shut down protests that are “impactful” or “annoying”.

For some reason, people are worried that Britain is rapidly becoming some sort of police state. As I always say, if you’ve nothing to hide, you’ve nothing to fear – but in any case, nothing could be further from the truth. As police, we recognise that protest is a fundamental part of democracy. But there’s a delicate balance to be struck between the right of protesters to demonstrate in a way that is barely noticeable, and the right of politicians to completely ignore them.

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As a police officer, I look forward to facilitating protesters in the traditional manner in future. Just don’t annoy me! With a large “Kill the Bill” protest scheduled for Saturday, here are some tips to avoid unnecessary irritation while on a protest.

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Photo: Chris Bethell

CHANTING

There’s enough audio pollution in our cities these days without people going around the place shouting things like, “Black Lives Matter”, “No justice, no peace!” and “Oh my god, my face, my face, why are you hitting my face with a baton?”

Instead of chanting, try some quiet contemplation. Have a little think and you’ll probably realise that things are not so bad after all, and that it’s time to go home now.

PLACARDS

I bet you think that placard you spent hours making – the “Priti Fascist” one, with a picture of a police officer puckering up to the Home Secretary’s arse – is ever so funny. Well, it’s not. It's just showing off. So leave the placards at home, and if you want to get crafty, I’ve got two words for you: cross stitch.

CAUSES

I’d be the first to admit that the police have made a few mistakes here and there, but do you have to go on about it all the time? We’re only human, after all.

In any case, bad policing is caused by poor resourcing. With all the paperwork and bureaucracy we have to put up with, there just aren’t enough of us on the beat to do our jobs properly. For instance, if we’re disproportionately targeting Black people for stop and search, maybe if there were a lot more of us we would have time to stop white people too. Bet you didn’t think of that. So rather than protesting to “defund the police”, why not protest to increase our wages? 

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Photo: Chris Bethell

JUST DON’T

If it wasn’t for you lot, we could be solving real crime, like interrupting Catholics as they celebrate Easter, or making cute relatable social media posts threatening weed smokers with jail time. Instead, we’re stuck in Westminster, sweating into our riot gear. Have you ever taken our feelings into account? Of course not. And then you act all surprised when we take out our frustrations on the nearest crustie with a megaphone.

All this drama could be avoided if you just stayed at home and ordered a takeaway. If you really want to signal your virtue, you can give your Deliveroo rider a tip.

See you in the next kettle.