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Police thank Devon 'Kill the Bill' protestors

Events to limit new police powers pass peacefully

Devon and Cornwall Police have thanked people in the south west who took part in demonstrations against proposed new laws to give them more powers.

Kill the Bill protests took place in Exeter, Plymouth, Truro, Newquay and St Ives on Saturday, and all passed off peacefully, with no arrests made.

In a statement, the force says; "Following changes to covid-19 regulations, there is now an exemption to allow peaceful protests. However, this exemption only applies if the organisers take the required precautions to ensure people’s safety is not put at risk.

"The right to protest is well established in this country and police forces have a long history of upholding this by policing by consent and ensuring the safety of all those exercising that right."

Chief Superintendent Matt Longman, protest commander for Devon and Cornwall Police said: “Those attending engaged positively with our officers, exercising their right to protest in a peaceful and lawful way.

“We have always sought to find the right balance between the rights of protestors and those of residents and businesses, while also considering the very real risks from the spread of the virus.

“Coronavirus is a deadly disease and the current legislation in relation to it aims to prevent its spread. At this time officers are trying to strike a balance between established rights and policing of covid-19 restrictions in an effort to maintain the confidence of all groups of our communities.

“We must remember that the threat of covid-19 remains and we must do all we can to stick within the restrictions to help keep people safe.”

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