Suella Braverman demands crackdown on eco 'extremists' who are getting 'out of control'

10 November 2022, 01:21 | Updated: 10 November 2022, 06:48

Suella Braverman and the gridlock on the M25
Suella Braverman and the gridlock on the M25. Picture: Getty
Fran Way

By Fran Way

The Home Secretary has accused police officers of letting eco activists ‘get out of control’.

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Suella Braverman demanded a crackdown on Just Stop Oil protesters, who have been climbing onto gantries on the M25 this week to highlight the climate emergency and beg the government to stop any new oil licences.

Addressing a major police conference in London, she said police must ‘stop humouring’ them and warned that members of the public are so frustrated with police not dealing with it that they’re taking matters into their own hands.

In a rare move to criticise the way officers are dealing with an ongoing situation, she said she expected a ‘firmer line to safeguard public order’.

Just Stop Oil Stops Traffic On M25 For Second Day Thorpe
Just Stop Oil Stops Traffic On M25 For Second Day Thorpe. Picture: Getty

In her speech, the Home Secretary labelled those taking part as ‘extremists’ who cause criminal damage, and ‘serious disruption’ to the lives of innocent people. She said: “There is a bit of a hesitation within police right now to take action. Events today show this is out of control.

“Although most police officers do an excellent job, sadly, in recent months and years we have seen an erosion of confidence in the police to take action against the radicals, the road-blockers, the vandals, the militants and the extremists.

“But we have also seen the police appear to lose confidence in themselves – in yourselves, in your authority, in your power – an institutional reluctance. This must change.

“Criminal damage, obstructing the highway, public nuisance – none of it should be humoured. It is not a human right to vandalise a work of art. It is not a civil liberty to stop ambulances getting to the sick and injured. Scenes of members of the public taking the law into their own hands are a sign of a loss of confidence and I urge you all to step up to your public duties."

Throughout October, the Met said that 677 people were arrested from Just Stop Oil with 111 suspects charged and officers working an additional 9,438 shifts.

Hertfordshire Constabulary said the protests were causing ‘significant disruption and potential harm’.

On Monday, one grieving man had to call his heartbroken mother to say he wouldn’t make it to his father’s funeral because traffic had been halted on the M25 for the safety of activists and back roads were gridlocked.

He said he would ‘never, ever forgive’ Just Stop Oil and that he could never get those memories back or say goodbye to his father one last time.

Tony Bambury spoke on ITV Meridian about missing his father's funeral due to the protests on the M25
Tony Bambury spoke on ITV Meridian about missing his father's funeral due to the protests on the M25. Picture: ITV Meridian

Another man reportedly missed the birth of his child after activists shut down London’s orbital motorway between Junctions 26 and 27.

James O'Brien hits out at the arrest of LBC Reporter Charlotte Lynch

The force also announced an inquiry after LBC reporter Charlotte Lynch was arrested and held for five hours, despite having a press card that identified her as somebody reporting on the protest rather than participating.