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COP26 - Policing the Protests

Date: 9 September 2021

Location: Online livestream


On Thursday 9 September 2021, between 2pm and 4pm, the SPA and Police Scotland will convene a roundtable discussion to bring together key partners and academics to consider the policing of protests connected with COP26 in Glasgow. The event will be available to view live online by members of the public.

The event aims to demonstrate Police Scotland’s commitment to protecting people’s right to protest or counter-protest, balanced against the rights of the wider community. The event will showcase the practical ways in which Police Scotland will protect those rights while ensuring individual and community safety and wellbeing.

The roundtable will also provide a forum for academic discussion around crowd psychology, and collective protest, in order to set out the context in which activism at COP26 will take place.

You can take part in the event in three ways:

  1. Watching the event live through our Livestream channel and raising comments and questions in the Chat function.
  2. Submitting questions to discussion panels in advance using our Citizenspace Portal.
  3. Register in advance through our Eventbrite page to secure your place and ensure you are kept informed of event developments and arrangements.

While the agenda is being finalised, the event will be moderated by the Director of the John Smith Centre for Public Service, Kezia Dugdale, with the SPA Chair, Martyn Evans, Oversight Group Chair, Tom Halpin, and Chief Constable Iain Livingstone, all playing a part in the opening and closing of the event.

The three discussion sessions are as follows:

  • Crowd psychology, collective protest and crowd-police interactions – led by Professor Steve Reicher, with first response from Gill Imery of HMICS.
  • Human Rights and the sound of democracy - led by John Scott QC, with first response from Children and Young People's Commissioner, Bruce Adamson.
  • Policing Glasgow for all citizens over COP26 – led by ACC Bernard Higgins, with first responder Denise Hamilton of Glasgow City Council.

Finally, there will be a general discussion, led by the moderator and Gold Commander, ACC Higgins, where comments and questions will be put to ACC Higgins and other members of the previous segment panels.

In due course a range of information will be made available on this page ahead of the event, including a Programme Pack, Speaker and Panellist Biographies and links to relevant reading materials.

We look forward to welcoming you amongst our virtual audience on the day.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact

COP26 Policing the Protests Welcome Pack