Thank you for writing to me about the Black Lives Matter movement, and the current state of affairs around the world. I share your alarm about what happened in the USA, and was shocked and horrified by the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Our Government and all right minded people in public life have condemned this killing unequivocally, as do I.
Racism has no place in our society, and is an evil that we should collectively work towards eliminating. I strongly oppose the unlawful use of violence in any form, and I am heartened that thousands of people have chosen to express their strong emotions in a peaceful manner, respecting social distancing rules.
In this vein, I condemn the conduct of some protestors in their use of violence against the police, including in London over the weekend. I greatly value the Metropolitan Police Service, Surrey Police and other police forces across the country in the vital work they do in keeping us safe, and violence against the police and police horses is completely unacceptable.
Regarding exports to the United States, the Government takes its export control responsibilities very seriously. The UK operates one of the world’s most robust and transparent export control regimes, with each export licence application considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria. The Consolidated Criteria provide a thorough risk assessment framework, requiring the Government to think very carefully about the possible impact of providing equipment and its capabilities. My understanding is that the Government will not grant an export licence if doing so would be inconsistent with the criteria.
I was gravely concerned to read the figures that suggest that those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are at greater risk of Covid-19. I have shared these concerns with ministerial colleagues, who too recognise that these are troubling figures and commissioned Public Health England (PHE) to research this. PHE’s report can be accessed via:
As I say, I share your sentiments about the death of George Floyd and we must strive to eradicate the remnants of racism in our society. We have come a huge way over recent decades but there is certainly more to do. I assure you that I do everything I can to support firm but fair policing and justice here in Woking, Surrey and the wider UK, and I think we can be proud of our Surrey Police and their current leadership and officers.
I also believe that, with the continuing threat of coronavirus, we must continue to abide by social distancing measures and follow the rules designed to save lives. Thousands of my constituents have suffered both personal and professional hardship due to coronavirus and its impact, and in light of these sacrifices we cannot allow progress in defeating the virus to stall.
I will continue to oppose racism and to support the right to protest peacefully and lawfully, and I strongly value the work of our police, who have worked hard over recent decades to reclaim their reputation one of the finest and fairest police forces in the world.
Thank you again for writing to me about these really important issues.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking
National Police Chief’s Council statement, 03/06/20
Chief constables from forces across the country, the chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, the chief executive of the College of Policing and the President of the Police Superintendents' Association have spoken following the death of George Floyd and the events that have followed in the United States.
“We stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified by the way George Floyd lost his life. Justice and accountability should follow.
“We are also appalled to see the violence and damage that has happened in so many US cities since then. Our hearts go out to all those affected by these terrible events and hope that peace and order will soon be restored.
“In the UK we have a long established tradition of policing by consent, working in communities to prevent crime and solve problems. Officers are trained to use force proportionately, lawfully and only when absolutely necessary. We strive to continuously learn and improve. We will tackle bias, racism or discrimination wherever we find it.
“Policing is complex and challenging and sometimes we fall short. When we do, we are not afraid to shine a light on injustices or to be held to account.
“The relationship between the police and the public in the UK is strong but there is always more to do. Every day, up and down the country, officers and staff are working to strengthen those relationships and address concerns. Only by working closely with our communities do we build trust and help keep people safe.
“We know people want to make their voices heard. The right to lawful protest is key part of any democracy, which UK police uphold and facilitate. But coronavirus remains a deadly disease and there are still restrictions in place to prevent its spread, which include not gathering outside in groups of more than six people. So for whatever reason people want to come together, we ask that people continue to work with officers at this challenging time.”
The legislation around the maximum number of people in gatherings varies across the UK.
Martin Hewitt, Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council
Mike Cunningham, Chief Executive of the College of Policing
Paul Griffiths, President of the Police Superintendents' Association
Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner statement - 09/06/20
Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner David Munro has urged demonstrators to heed social distancing measures, as protests took place in Surrey following the death of George Floyd.
The PCC said he shared the shock and anger at the death of Mr Floyd in Minneapolis but also stressed the need to avoid gatherings that could encourage the spread of Covid-19 in Surrey’s communities.
He said: “Covid-19 is still out there. Restrictions are being eased but the virus is still leading to serious illness and deaths in our communities.
“We have all sacrificed too much to allow the virus to spread further. I share the rightful anger of over the death of Mr Floyd. Discrimination has no place in our society.
“But I would ask anyone exercising their right to protest peacefully to consider whether their actions are likely to place others at risk, or contravene health regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“We must continue to obey the rules and avoid gathering in large numbers if we are to continue to protect our loved ones, and the NHS, from harm.
“Police officers are members of the public they police. The respect built between officers and residents is central to this relationship, and I am pleased that this was reflected in the peaceful nature of the demonstrations attended in Surrey over the weekend.”
As Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) National lead for Equality, Diversity and Human Rights, the PCC made the following statement last week with Deputy EDHR lead and PCC for Derbyshire, Hardyal Dhinda:
“Alongside our communities, we are saddened and appalled by the footage that has emerged from the US over recent days of the death of George Floyd at the hands of US police officers. We express our heartfelt sympathies to the family and loved ones of George Floyd and we acknowledge the current strength of feeling as well as the impact that incidents of this nature have on communities around the world.
“In this country, we are proud of the ‘policing by consent’ model on which our forces operate and the work that our police officers and staff undertake day in, day out to keep our communities safe. We also have clear and accountable governance systems in place, with directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners representing their local communities and holding their Chief Constables to account on behalf of their communities for policing in their area.
“We are committed to working with our communities and Chief Constables to ensure that the principle of ‘the police are the public and the public are the police’ is worked towards and achieved, and that we deliver against the important commitments set out within the NPCC Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy.”
The Commissioner alongside Surrey Police is continuing to engage with community leaders, faith groups, organisations and residents to inform a safer Surrey. Surrey Police continues to create a kind, inclusive environment for existing staff, officers and volunteers and for those that show an interest in joining the Force.
Anyone who experiences hate crime is encouraged report it to Surrey Police on 101, online, or to use the Stop Hate UK app available from Google Play or the App Store. Always dial 999 in an emergency.