From Devon & Cornwall Police:
The death of George Floyd has left his family, loved ones and friends devastated and heartbroken. Communities in the United States, here in the United Kingdom and across the world are angry and outraged. For some members of our community, those feelings will also be heightened as they perceive they are not wanted or safe in the places where they live and raise their families.
Our experiences here in Cornwall and Devon during the early stages of Covid-19 saw communities come together to find the positives from tragedy, to reach out to each other and challenge negative behaviour. Sadly, we also saw abusive and negative attitudes in some parts of this force area which was challenged by a coalition of partners, including this force.
This is a time for communities and individuals to overtly speak out in support of those from Black and Ethnic Minority communities, to reaffirm our collective rejection of racism and hate.
Throughout our policing of Covid-19, I have stressed the importance of community and working with our partners and individuals to ensure that the legitimacy of policing is maintained. The principles of neighbourhood policing were first established in this force by Chief Constable John Alderson and have been a golden thread of our policing style ever since. That is why, collectively as a force, we align ourselves with those who wish to express their feelings and community intention in a peaceful but clear manner.
As a force, we ask that anyone organising a vigil or demonstration contact us in order that we can help facilitate that expression of feeling, which occurs at a time of a public health crisis. I believe it essential that the core message of standing up against hate and racism does not become lost by behaviours that may be commented upon in respect of Covid-19, when such a tragic and significant moment has affected so many people in this country and worldwide.
Racism and all forms of discrimination undermine our common humanity and are not acceptable in any civilised society. As a force, that is our approach yet we understand that we are not perfect and have always sought to listen and learn from experiences as well as the views of all our communities.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer