Protesters and the prince

Protesters and the prince

Howard Broad, Police Commissioner

Everyone has the right to go about their daily business - so long as it's a) legal and b) not stopping other people going about theirs.

Some people's daily business attracts substantial interest. An international tennis player or a member of the Royal family, for example, can provoke strong feelings, and in those cases police must tread a thin line.
 
Everybody has a right to strong opinions, and the right to express them appropriately. The police role is to balance people's right to protest with those of everyone else around them, including the tennis player, the prince or whoever the target of the protest may be. 
 
Officers must also be ever-vigilant that tension does not reach flashpoint and order is maintained.
 
If protesters break the law, the fact they are fighting a cause is not a good defence. They have no greater claim on public space than anyone else.
 
With high-profile individuals, the policing emphasis moves beyond facilitating safe protest to the safety of the VIP.
 
It's pretty easy to form a view of who, how and what personal protection is all about - there's ample information on the internet and in books.
 
But what you may not see is the complexity of the job, which is best learned through training and experience. The police officers in our diplomatic protection squad develop an awareness of details most of us wouldn't think twice about - a person's behaviour, their manner, how they interact with others and the physical environment.
 
The Premier House gatecrasher posed no real threat to Prince William. The actual risk is much higher when he walks among the public, chatting and shaking hands.

Let's hope one person's ill-considered stunt does not affect future opportunities for this kind of relaxed and personal interaction.