Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 16, 2017

Armed Police In Halsall

On June 8th, WLR reported that a legally authorised and peaceful anti-fracking information gazebo situated on the Halsall Memorial playing fields became the centre of a spurious complaint by a local resident. The Memorial Hall housed a polling centre. The local resident, Cllr David Westley, was seen taking photographs of a gazebo and its occupants. It was also reported that a complaint about the  gazebo was made to the Lancashire Constabulary.

The WLBC solicitor attended. We wrote that “One can only wonder how and why, with such scarce police resources, that four officers were deployed to this legal and peaceful presence of local residents all at the behest of another local resident whose property wasn’t remotely affected by the gazebo or its occupants? Presumably crimes were being committed elsewhere that needed these officers to investigate? No doubt there will be an official notice in due course, but the presence of the Electoral Inspector implies there was a complaint made in respect of the nearby polling facility”.

Today WLR can reveal that the Lancashire Constabulary has confirmed that prior to election day, two officers were allocated to visit polling stations on the day of the election and as such, there was a visit planned for Halsall. However, a call was received about the protest and the two officers attended. The writer confirmed “I understand from the officers, it was a very peaceful display. The officers spoke to the locals just to explain their presence, then remained in the car park co-ordinating the other staff visiting stations”.

But what will shock locals and West Lancastrians generally was the news from the Constabulary that “I understand an ARV arrived that was also allocated to the elections and the officers spoke for a while then they left”.

An armed response vehicle (ARV)  is a police car operated by British law enforcement. ARVs are crewed by Authorised Firearms Officers to respond to incidents believed to involve firearms or other high-risk situations. Are we law abiding citizens of West Lancashire who peacefully oppose fracking now facing the concept that our police consider us to be high enough risk that they must be armed? This incident, started by the local resident, the leader of the borough Tory opposition party, has escalated into the need for a full and comprehensive inquiry at the highest level. Not only should the Returning Officer report fully on it, and publish it, but our MP Rosie Cooper should raise the matter with the Home Secretary.

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