Britons tend to think police struck right balance with coronation protests

Fintan SmithPolitical Research Executive
May 11, 2023, 9:30 AM GMT+0

Three in ten believe police were too harsh with protestors

Ahead of King Charles’ coronation last weekend, the Metropolitan Police arrested six anti-monarchy activists who were planning on carrying out a peaceful demonstration. Volunteers from Westminster Council’s night safety team were also mistaken for protesters wishing to disrupt the event, with three being arrested. This has prompted criticism of the policing of the event from across the political spectrum, and led to the police publicly stating that the arrests were a mistake.

Ahead of the protests, the Met had warned demonstrators it had an “extremely low threshold” for disruptions. This attitude was echoed by the many of the public in general, saying by 47% to 39% in a pre-coronation poll that protests near the event should be banned.

And asked after the event, Britons tended to think that the police had got the balance right when dealing with protestors (41%). Three in ten (30%) think they were too harsh, while only 9% thought they were too lenient.

Conservatives are most likely to believe the police were too lenient on protesters (15%), whilst half of Labour voters feel that the police were too harsh (52%).

Most Britons (56%) likewise think the police did a good job of policing coronation celebrations in general, with only a quarter instead believing they did badly (25%). Conservative voters are the most likely to believe they had handled the event well, at 78%, compared to 39% of Labour voters, who were more likely to believe they handled it badly (44%).