Twenty-four people arrested in third day of motorway protests
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Twenty-four people were arrested this morning (Friday 17 September) following incidents on two of the county’s motorways.
We were called at 8.37am by a member of the public reporting people in the carriageway at junction 9 of the M25. Within 15 minutes, Surrey Police officers had arrested 14 people on suspicion on a variety of offences including criminal damage, causing danger to road users, wilful obstruction of the highway and causing a public nuisance, and the motorway was running freely shortly afterwards.
We then received a further call shortly after 9am reporting protesters at junction 1 of the M3. Officers were on the scene by 9.10am to swiftly and safely resolve the situation. Ten people were arrested on suspicion of a number of offences including criminal damage, causing danger to road users, wilful obstruction of highway and causing a public nuisance. Traffic was flowing freely again by 9.24am.
Chief Superintendent Jerry Westerman said: “This week has seen significant levels of protest activity on critical roads in the region. Protesters arrived in Surrey from all over the country including as far away as Cornwall and Yorkshire, and we took swift and robust action to ensure protesters were removed from two major roads in the county after they ignored our requests to move on peacefully. In both cases this morning, we re-opened the roads as quickly as it was safe to – with traffic flowing freely within twenty five minutes of our receiving a call about the protesters on the M3.
“I would like to reassure the public that our priority is a quick and effective response, with disruption kept to a minimum. Officers responded quickly this morning to make arrests in these two situations, as well as monitoring the wider motorway network.
“We continue to collect evidence to ensure anyone breaking the law is brought to justice and I’d like to appeal to anyone who may have captured dashcam footage of either of today’s protests before police arrived at the scenes. Please contact us on 101, through a private message on our social media channels or the live chat on our website if you can help.
“I would like to thank road users for their patience and understanding this week; I appreciate the frustration you feel being caught up in delays, and I want to reassure you we’re doing all we can.
“Thank you also to colleagues in other forces and our other partner agencies like Highways England."