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Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews issues statement on Braunstone factory protest

Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Police and Crime Commissioner Rupert Matthews has issued a statement in response to the ongoing protest at UAV Tactical Systems in Braunstone.

He said: "I am concerned by the disruption that has taken place in recent days at UAV Tactical Systems in Braunstone.

"This protest has required significant policing resources to manage, and many officers and staff have cancelled leave to provide an ongoing presence at the site, ensuring the safety of the public, staff at the site and the protestors themselves.

"The force has considerable experience in dealing with incidents of this scale and the professionalism and diplomacy of all officers at the scene has reflected this.  I am proud the training and skills of these individuals is being demonstrated so effectively despite the challenging nature of this operation.

"There is a clear distinction between peaceful, lawful protest and violence, and I want to make it absolutely clear that in the case of the latter, robust enforcement action will be taken by officers. 

Arrests have already been made and our policing teams will continue to utilise the powers that have been disposed to them to deal with violent or aggressive behaviour that is unlawful.

"Most of those responsible for these isolated incidents are from outside of the area.  It is important we stand strong as a county to reject violence or disorder of any kind, regardless of the cause. It simply will not be tolerated.

"The cost of policing this protest is significant and unbudgeted.  This is necessary to ensure the safety of those on-site and to prevent further escalation of problems.  I have seen first-hand how hard our policing teams are working to carry out their duties at a time when they are facing many other frontline demands in our communities. 

I would like to reassure you that as Commissioner, I will exhaust every opportunity to secure support from our colleagues nationally and additional funding to minimise the impact of this extraordinary demand on our budget.

"As a legitimate local business that brings employment to Leicestershire and injects money into the local economy, UAV Tactical Systems rightly deserves the support and protection of the police. 

They have offered their full cooperation and will be working closely with officers to support the prosecution of any person or group who threaten the safety of staff.

"I am being regularly briefed on this incident from the Chief Constable and his senior leadership team and will continue to offer my full support in bringing this incident to a safe and peaceful conclusion."


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