“I’m here to call out the government, to get them to do more, get them to do it faster”
Rob Cooper – former Chief Superintendent
On the 20th September, 4 million people in 160 different countries took to the streets with the Youth Climate Strike and protest against government inaction. This, along with the Extinction Rebellion protests have created a dilemma for many police officers. Having joined the force to protect the public, the role of arresting those peacefully protesting for the planet’s future asks deep questions of their purpose.
Some silently carry on, some cry whilst carrying out arrests, and some have questioned their job all together. We spoke to three former police officers about the conflict between their past, present and future actions as part of the global climate and ecological emergency. Considering how freedom of expression is a fundamental right for all people living in the UK, not only does this apply to ideas or opinions that are popular or favourable, but also to those that offend, irritate, shock or disturb individuals or a section of the population. Protesting lies at the heart of this country’s democracy, a historical legacy many died for to protect our rights to change failing systems.
From anxiety over their offspring’s disappearing futures and the role of the police in the event of climate breakdown, we uncover the emotion and truth of the police’s relationship with the groundbreaking climate movement.