Tory Leader Slams Public Gallery Arrest

Swansea's Conservative Leader, Councillor René Kinzett, has slammed neigbouring Carmarthenshire County Council and Dyfed Powys Police for the "deeply worrying" way they handled the recent arrest of a member of the public who tried filming a Council Meeting.

Councillor Kinzett said:

"I feel that the issue is of real importance. The Minister for Local Government in England says that filming Council Meetings and posting them online is an extension of the principle of democratic participation. As long as the filming itself does not interfere with the good order of the Meeting, then there should be no objection to a taxpayer filming the proceedings of those we elect to spend hundreds of millions of pounds of our money at a local level.

The involvement of the police and the arrest of a member of public and her removal from the public gallery in handcuffs is a deeply worrying development. The United Kingdom is a democracy and the right of electors to watch their democratically elected representatives at work, from the House of Commons, to the Senedd and down to our County and Town Halls, is a hard won right.

To see police officers acting on the behest of County Hall officials, petty bureaucrats and out-of-touch Councillors to arrest people they seem to have a problem with is a dangerous precedent and one I hope the whole of Wales and the UK is worried about. I will be pressing my Council's Chief Executive to assure me that he would not act in the way his counterpart at Carmarthenshire acted in recommending the removal of a resident from the public gallery of our meetings just for filming the proceedings."

See more from the BBC Wales News website here.