UK police leaders have come together and published a statement about George Floyd’s death.
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.
They said: “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 devolved nations of 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
Police Commissioner Cressida Dick at the London Assembly Police and Crime Commission on Wednesday, 3 June, said: "Like everybody, we have been appalled by the images we saw of George Floyd, the way he apparently lost his life. We know that justice and accountability must follow and will follow.
“We are also horrified sitting here in London as police people, at the violence and destruction that is going on in so many cities in the states in the last few days and our hearts go out to everybody who has been affected by that.
“I recognise also that feelings are running higher in London, partly as a consequence of viewing what is happening over there - and it comes at a difficult time for the city and the challenges everybody has had with lock-down, fears for their health, fears about jobs and the economy.
“I do want to reassure people in London that we will continue with our tradition of policing using minimum force necessary, working as closely as we possibly can with our communities. Met officers and staff are highly professional. They are very well trained, they are very restrained and very, very highly scrutinised – that’s something we don’t flinch from at all but policing is complex and it is challenging. We’re always learning, improving and as I say, we always welcome the scrutiny.
“In the coming days and weeks, we will work even more closely with the public, with our communities. We will be listening and responding sensitively and effectively and quickly to concerns. We will respond fairly and with courage, with compassion. Our job is to prevent violence. Our job is to keep people safe, to protect people in our communities and on our streets. And I know everybody wants to keep our streets safe and to keep them calm.”