“The police officers were clearly so brainwashed by their superiors, and the instructions that were handed down, that they forgot policing is often about discretion and common sense.”
A former Scotland Yard Detective has blasted the MET’s handling of the Stop Oil protests – which ended up causing chaos across the capital.
The protests were replicated across the UK creating misery for many trying to go about their everyday lives.
Speaking to GB News, Peter Bleksley said the police failed to react quickly enough.
He said: “The police were very slow in the early stages of these protests. And I think basically there was a fundamental lack of courage on behalf of the police and prosecutors to use the existing law robustly and to challenge some of the stated cases.”
Contrary to what many think, Mr Bleksley said officers were acutely aware of the public’s right to protest.
“The right to protest is of course a cornerstone of our flagship democracy,” he said.
“And the police know that only too well because they facilitate protests and marches and demonstrations on an almost weekly basis. In fact, it’s not so many years ago, when thousands of police officers marched their way to Parliament themselves. However in the case of Just Stop Oil there was a fundamental lack of really grasping the damage these protests would do. The damage to the economy for instance is almost incalculable.”
Commenting on the infamous arrest of an LBC journalist earlier this year, Mr Bleksley added: “The police officers were clearly so brainwashed by their superiors, and the instructions that were handed down, that they forgot policing is often about discretion and common sense. And sadly, both of those appear to be severely lacking on that occasion.
“The public would like to see their streets clear, and there’s enough legislation to do that so that they can go about their daily business, whether that be going to work, visiting hospital relatives, going shopping, or otherwise keeping the wheels of the economy turning.”
An overwhelming majority of people are opposed to Just Stop Oil – and would back harsher punishments for protestors, a GB poll has also revealed.
The GB News People’s Poll found just 13 percent of British adults express any support for the disruptions caused by Just Stop Oil.
The survey of 1,198 people, saw 62% of the country say they “oppose” them with 47% of these “strongly opposing” their actions.
Overall, more than half the country, 52%, support harsher punishments, rising to 82% of Conservative voters, while only 23% of the country oppose such harsher punishments.
Commenting, Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at the University of Kent, told GB News, said: “What these results show is that the vast majority of people are opposed to the disruptive campaigns of the sort organised by Just For Oil, and more than half the country back a tougher approach to dealing with them.
“Only 13% of the country support these protests. The vast majority do not. That said, we do find some striking differences with one third of Labour voters and one quarter of 18–24-year-olds from Generation Z voicing their support for these campaigns.”
However, Just Stop Oil protestors say they will continue with their quest. Sheila Shatford, 67, grandmother of two and former nurse from Bristol, who has already spent 13 days in prison for taking action with Just Stop Oil, said:
“As a baby boomer I have a responsibility and a need to stand beside all the brave young people who are prepared to put their careers and freedom on the line in order to stop the wanton destruction of their future and the misery and suffering happening right now as a result of climate breakdown.
“Shame on you Mr Sunak, for allowing your government to support oil and gas expansion, shame on you for allowing a new coal mine that nobody wants or needs. Shame on you for demonising peaceful people. You can ban us, revile us, lock us up but you won’t stop us. We will not be complicit in the destruction of everything we hold dear.”
Early this month the government announced that it has given the green light to the UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years after conceding that new green technologies are unlikely to replace the fossil fuel’s role in steel-making for many years.
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove announced plans for a £165 million coal mine at the Woodhouse Colliery, near Whitehaven in Cumbria which will produce coal for steelmaking in the UK and for export to Europe.
The government has stressed that the coal taken from the mine will be used for the production of steel, rather than coal used to generate electricity, which the UK has largely weaned itself off of. The coal mine is expected to employ about 500 workers.
A Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities spokesman said:
“THE SECRETARY OF STATE HAS AGREED TO GRANT PLANNING PERMISSION FOR A NEW METALLURGICAL COAL MINE IN CUMBRIA AS RECOMMENDED BY THE INDEPENDENT PLANNING INSPECTOR.
“THIS COAL WILL BE USED FOR THE PRODUCTION OF STEEL AND WOULD OTHERWISE NEED TO BE IMPORTED. IT WILL NOT BE USED FOR POWER GENERATION.
“THE MINE SEEKS TO BE NET ZERO IN ITS OPERATIONS AND IS EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE TO LOCAL EMPLOYMENT AND THE WIDER ECONOMY.”
The decision on the mine was originally approved by Cumbria County Council in October 2020 but was then called in by the government amid environmental concerns.
Campaigners have said that the new mine will increase global emissions and send the wrong message about Britain’s climate ambitions.
Once a major producer of coal that powered the Industrial Revolution, the UK’s coal output peaked in the early 20th century, and dropped more than 90 percent in the last decade.
However, supporters are quick to say that the environmental cost will be offset against foreign fuels which are currently being shipped in to the country with a high carbon footprint.
Chair of Britpac UK, Henry Bolton OBE said:
“THE CONSERVATIVES OPEN ONE NEW COAL MINE TO HELP STABILISE AND SECURE THE UK’S ENERGY SUPPLY, AND LABOUR SCREAMS BLUE MURDER. SOME YEARS AGO, LABOUR WAS INCANDESCENT WITH RAGE WHEN THE CONSERVATIVES WERE CLOSING COAL MINES.”
The coal mine, the size of roughly 60 football pitches, will take two years to complete fully and will have the capacity to be operational for about 50 years.
It will supply steelmakers in Britain and western Europe and will reach peak production after about five years, with more than 80% of the workers expected to work underground in coal production.
Supporters, including local Conservative members of Parliament, have said the mine will create well-paying jobs and help lead a revival in the area, which has fared relatively poorly in recent decades as coal mines and other industrial facilities have closed.
The UK once employed 1.2 million people at nearly 3,000 collieries. Britain’s last deep-pit mine closed in 2015.
Photo credit: Press photo – Just Stop Oil