People all over the country headed outside to enjoy the warm weather yesterday but the Nottinghamshire police force hit the headlines after it was reported alcohol was seized by officers from crowds in parks. Andrew Neil joined Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby on This Morning to discuss the reports as he defended the police and agreed with Phillip that officers are criticised regardless of the actions they take.
Phillip said: “Police in Nottingham implemented an alcohol ban in parks. That looks like an outrageous headline but there’s lot of places where you can’t drink alcohol.”
“I know they’re doing their job but what spoilsports because if people don’t go out and have a drink with their friends, as Andrew said it’s what we’ve all been looking forward to doing.
“If people aren’t doing it out in the park the temptation is to go back to people’s houses and when the weather gets a bit colder will be tempted to go indoors.
“I’m not saying everyone should be getting drunk in the streets but having a couple of drinks in the park, I don’t see any harm in that at all.”
Read more: GMB fans rage at Susanna Reid for not ‘sticking up’ for Piers Morgan
Phillip asked: “As far as the police are concerned Andrew, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t?”
“It’s very difficult for the police because as you say if they go in too heavy handed they’re criticised,” Andrew replied.
“If they don’t do anything they’re criticised for not doing their job but also rules change so much that everybody’s confused.
“I’m confused now, the rules are changed regularly people don’t quite know. Even the police officers don’t know what the rules are so it’s a difficult time for the police.”
“I think they should be cut a little slack and it may just help if people behave sensibly,” Andrew continued.
“Enjoy themselves but be a bit sensible. We’re not out of the woods yet, we’re so near.
“Last week on this programme I said there would come a day quite soon when we will have zero Covid deaths.
“There are parts of the country now including parts of London where there are already zero Covid deaths.”
“So the prize is within our grasp, let’s not blow it in the final months,” he added.
“A review into policing at the vigil in memory of Sarah Everard on Clapham Common has found the police did not act inappropriately,” Holly remarked.
“We saw lots of scenes on the news, scuffles between the police and people who went along there at the time.
“Shocking this morning – the report cites incidents of female police officers being targeted for abuse about rape.”
Holly added: “One officer told inspectors, ‘I distinctly remember multiple women coming up to me throughout the incident wishing I was raped with one female saying words to the effect of, I hope you get raped so you know what it’s like.’”
“That’s absolutely awful,” Nicola said. “Whatever side you stand on it’s become quite binary either you’re Reclaim the Streets or you’re with the police.
“But ultimately there are women on both sides who want the same thing. For those female police officers who have a difficult time in the police force as it is to be targeted in that way it’s abhorrent.”
“Back to that protestor who said those words to that police officer, to wish rape on another woman, doesn’t that pull the rug completely out of your entire argument?” Phillip asked.
“Yes and I would hope that that was just person,” Nicola replied.
Holly added: “The frustrating thing about that is that’s the bit we’re talking about. That’s the bit we’re focussing on and Andrew that loses sight of what the whole thing was about in the first place.”
“I think this report is useful in that it tells us things that weren’t reported at the time – the behaviour of some of the protestors,” Andrew answered.
“There was clearly a small element that wanted to hijack this Everard vigil and they wanted a confrontation with the police, that nearly always happens in demonstrations.”
This Morning airs on weekdays on ITV at 10am.