Lord Scriven demands answers from South Yorkshire Police Chief Constable over city’s tree-felling works

Former Sheffield Council leader Paul Scriven has written back to the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police and warned him he was willing to refer him to the police complaints watchdog over the force’s handling of the controversial tree felling programme.
Lord Scriven, now a Lib Dem peer, said Stephen Watson had been ‘vague’ in his reply to an initial letter he sent last week and demanded answers to 12 questions, including whether Mr Watson had actually been to any of the sites where Sheffield Council contractor Amey are replacing trees as part of its £2.2 billion highway improvement contract

He said Mr Watson’s letter raised ‘more questions than answers’ and said he would continue holding him to account ‘even if it meant referring him to the Independent Office for Police Conduct and asking questions in parliament and raising the issue with Home Office ministers’.

Lord Scriven raised 12 points in his latest letter, which he posted on his Twitter feed

They include:

– Had Mr Watson been to a tree felling site and seen what is happening?

– How many complaints have been received against both Amey and protesters and how many were being investigated?

– How many complaints have been made against the police?

– Why have no privacy impact assessments been carried out?

– Who, other than South Yorkshire Police, had seen live streams of the protests sent back to the force’s command control centre?

– How many Sheffield City Council staff are located at South Yorkshire Police during tree felling protests?

– How many meetings have been held with Sheffield Tree Action Groups?

– What does Mr Watson mean by a ‘deterioration in the atmosphere and an increase in criminal behaviour at tree felling protests’?

– How do police decide how many police officers to deploy to tree felling protests?

– What information is exchanged between South Yorkshire Police and/or Sheffield City Council around tree felling?

– Has anyone requested police presence at each incident of tree felling, and, if so, who made the request?

– Why didn’t officers intervene when protesters claimed security staff used undue force? Lord Scriven said he awaited ‘with interest, more detailed replies’ to the questions


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