The police force that was caught on video arresting a woman sitting on a park bench claim the incident was “stage-managed” by anti-lockdown protesters.
Footage taken in Bournemouth, south-west England, revealed two incidents of draconian policing, with a group of three officers badgering a woman with an elderly companion for the alleged crime of leaving the house more than once in a day. Moments later, four police officers are seen putting a woman in handcuffs for, she said, “sitting on a bench”. Both women were arrested for refusing to give their personal details to be issued a fine, with the women being de-arrested later and issued with the penalties.
Dorset Police complained bitterly when their policing tactics were caught on film and shared with the public, claiming that the arrests were “stage-managed” by anti-lockdown protesters, who had been intentionally trying to get themselves arrested, according to comments reported by the BBC on Sunday.
Dorset. Police arrest a woman strolling along the beachfront with an elderly companion and, nearby, another woman sitting on a bench looking out to sea. If this doesn’t make you uneasy about what is going on in our country, nothing will. pic.twitter.com/ZCLuRkP5tm
— Paul Embery (@PaulEmbery) January 10, 2021
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Callaghan from Dorset Police claimed: “We believe this video was planned, stage-managed, and recorded by members of the protest group who turned up in multiple areas, several of whom refused to engage or provide their details.”
The senior officer then alleged that the this “group” was “deliberately organising their activities, walking around in twos and then trying to come together in a ‘flash mob’-style approach, as they have done previously. This activity went on for a couple of hours.”
One woman was visibly upset when three police officers confronted her and her elderly friend to tell her that they had been stalking her on video throughout the town centre, and that she had, in contravention of lockdown rules, left her house more than once.
One officer told the woman: “At the moment you’re allowed out for exercise once a day.
“You’ve been filmed today in the town centre and around here and walking up and down.”
After the officers accused the walker of being “anti-social”, she started to cry.
UK Govt Mulls Ban on Britons Leaving the House More than Once Per Week: Report https://t.co/wLOEf3he1U
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) January 11, 2021
The incident comes after the fining of two women going for a walk in the Derbyshire countryside drew widespread attention. The two women had driven separately to a local nature reserve to go for a walk, only to find themselves surrounded by police as they pulled up in their vehicles, read their rights, and issued £200 fines each. Apparently straying too far from home for exercise, they were also told their coffees were not allowed because they constituted a “picnic”.
Both Home Secretary Priti Patel and Health Secretary Matt Hancock were vocal in their support for the police’s actions, with Hancock saying: “I am absolutely going to back the police.”