Edinburgh arrests during Queen events: Justice Secretary Keith Brown to raise issue with Chief Constable
The arrest of anti-monarchy protesters during events in Edinburgh following the Queen’s death will be raised by Justice Secretary Keith Brown when he meets Scotland’s Chief Constable Sir Iain Livingstone today.
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Mr Brown also told MSPs at least one incident will be reviewed by police chiefs.
At least four people – a woman and three men – were arrested and have since been charged in connection with a breach of the peace after they were involved in protests.
A 22-year-old woman was arrested outside of St Giles’ Cathedral after an anti-monarchy sign was held up during the proclamation of King Charles III on Sunday September 11. A 74-year-old man was arrested near the Palace of Holyroodhouse that afternoon and has already admitted breach of the peace and received a £350 fine.
A 52-year-old man was arrested in Jeffrey Street on Monday September 12 as the Queen’s coffin was taken from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral via the Royal Mile. And a 22-year-old man was arrested on the Royal Mile the same afternoon after the Duke of York was heckled as he walked in a procession with the Queen's coffin.
Labour MSP Katy Clark raised concerns about the arrests in the Scottish Parliament, saying media reports had suggested the tactics employed by the police were "heavy-handed".
And she also highlighted the case of a young woman who held up a piece of blank paper in a protest over free speech and said she had then been followed by two police officers. She filmed the incident and the footage was shared on social media.
Responding, Mr Brown praised the work of the police during the operation but said he would talk to the Chief Constable at a meeting on Thursday (September 22).
He said: "I am not able to comment on individual cases but I do confirm that Police Scotland do approach their job firmly on the basis of human rights legislation and operate, of course, under the principle of policing by consent.
"They have confirmed there will be a formal debrief process for Operation Unicorn and I understand Operation Unicorn will be discussed at the Scottish Police Authority board later this month, the appropriate forum for doing that.
"I also understand this will include reviewing at least one of the incidents that took place while the operation was active.”
And on the allegation that officers had followed a woman protester, he added: “I understand that Police Scotland is aware of the incident and that the content of that footage is currently being reviewed.”
Mr Brown said he was meeting the Chief Constable today. He said: “I will discuss these issues with him with a view to looking at, as ever, what lessons can be learned from the operation and how these can be applied to future policing operations.”