The Home Secretary warned officers that they needed to take a “firmer line” against environmental protesters who were blocking highways and vandalising public buildings. She blasted police for being too soft on activists, calling for more “common sense policing.”
“Too often, the rights of protesters are placed above the rights of others,” she said.
Ms Braverman spoke out after a police motorcyclist was injured in a lorry crash on the M25 on the third day of protests.
According to the Daily Express, the government’s new Public Order Bill will “finally get a grip” on the demonstrators who are holding the country hostage.
It will give Ministers the authority to halt protests that disrupt critical infrastructure and goods, and it will give police officers more authority to intervene.
Protests by environmental organisations such as Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil have sparked widespread outrage in recent weeks and months.
Their guerrilla tactics, which included disrupters glueing themselves to highways, obstructing ambulances, and vandalising public buildings, cost taxpayers millions of dollars and squandered 10,000 police shifts.
Ms Braverman’s patience was tested at the annual chief constables’ and police and crime commissioners’ conference.
Taking a hard line on how police should deal with protesters, she warned: “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.”
The Home Secretary added: “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.
“Such disruption is a threat to our way of life. It does not ‘further a cause’. It is not ‘freedom of expression’ and I want to reassure you that you have my – and this Government’s – full backing in taking a firmer line to safeguard public order. Indeed, that is your duty.