Suffolk Police has defended the number of officers it deploys to protests.
A pair of vigil events were staged by the Suffolk Animal Save Group in Eye on Monday, firstly outside C and K Meats at the Mid Suffolk Business Park, before the group moved on to 1Stop Halal in Magdalen Street, attracting about 20 activists.
But an anonymous eyewitness based at the business park claimed there was one officer for every activist, and had fears the use of police resources.
“It seems a massive overreaction in terms on resources for a demo which is peaceful,” they said. “Although I support the right to protest I think the animal rights group also need to think is their protest on a monthly basis going to achieve anything except waste police resources.”
A Suffolk Police spokesperson said they do not confirm how many officers are deployed, but said the number was “proportionate.”
“Police were at the event to facilitate a peaceful protest. Officers do not take sides but are there to ensure the safety of those legitimately going into work and those protesting. Our aim is to minimise disruption and to ensure the protest is conducted in a lawful manner.”
Police were at the event to facilitate a peaceful protest. Officers do not take sides but are there to ensure the safety of those legitimately going into work and those protestingSuffolk Police spokesperson
Tom Fenner, of Suffolk Animal Save, said: “Suffolk Constabulary have been hugely helpful in accommodating our events, ensuring the safety of attendees whilst aiding us in liaising with both slaughterhouses, although I think they would agree the number of officers involved on Monday exceeded that which was required for a peaceful, love-based protest.
“Our vigils aim to put the spotlight on the individual animals slaughtered in the meat industry for consumption, rather than effective use of police resources and our focus will remain on the animals.”