AN INDEPENDENT panel to examine major protests and demonstrations in Bolton and across Greater Manchester has been set up by the region’s police and crime commissioner.

The panel will provide strategic advice on how police manage major demonstrations, as well as being actively involved in police operations during live events.

Members have been drawn from across Greater Manchester’s diverse communities, and bring with them experience on protest and trade union activism, politics, policing, community relations, media and youth engagement.

The first meeting will take place next week. As well as discussing the role and remit of the panel, members will discuss recent major demonstrations in Greater Manchester including the ongoing protest at Barton Moss.

Bolton police and crime commissioner, Tony Lloyd has set up the panel with the full support of Greater Manchester Police’s Chief Constable Sir Peter Fahy.

GMP will provide information to the panel on its procedures on policing protests, and will involve members in the planning stages.

In addition, panel members will be present during live operations to observe and provide advice.

Mr Lloyd said: “Greater Manchester has a great history of protest and I am proud to say that I have been on many demonstrations throughout the years.

“As public servants, police have a duty to ensure that people’s freedom to peacefully protest is both facilitated and respected. This is frequently a challenge, as they are often thrown into the middle of conflicting and competing rights.

“GMP has a good record in policing protests. But there has also been issues of legitimate public concern raised — this panel will ensure that there is independent scrutiny of how police approach demonstrations in our region.

“I’m confident that it will build both trust and public confidence in our police service.”

The panel will meet quarterly and will report regularly to Mr Lloyd.

Its findings and recommendations will be made public on the GMPCC website.