Since the conflict in Israel and Gaza began in October, police forces across the country have been working to ensure that all our communities feel safe, and this is as true in Staffordshire as it is in any part of the country.
Since October, a ‘Gold’ group chaired by Asst Chief Constable Stuart Ellison has met regularly to assess concerns within our communities, to ensure protests remain peaceful, and to take robust action against those who undertake unlawful activity.
Thankfully in Staffordshire we’ve seen little in the way of community tension and hostility, but officers in our local policing teams continue to speak regularly to representatives from both Muslim and Jewish communities in the county. Protests have been very largely peaceful and, where hate speeches have occurred our officers have taken swift action. We will continue to ensure that these protests remain peaceful for as long as the action continues in the Middle East.
We are also in regular contact with education establishments in the county, to ensure that students feel safe on campus.
We continue to support those organisations or businesses which face protests or demonstrations, and have acted robustly on the small number of occasions when activists have taken demonstrations too far, and acted unlawfully. Peaceful protest is a lawful right, but must be balanced by the rights of individuals and businesses to continue to trade.