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Lisa Townsend is the Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey.

The latest incarnation of those who seek to disrupt the life and travel of ordinary people who are just trying to get to work, appointments or to see family is ‘Just Stop Oil’.

Surrey Police made 35 arrests last Thursday after protestors at Clacket Lane and Cobham Services on the M25 blocked access to fuel, caused criminal damage to petrol pumps and glued themselves to signs, pumps, and a tanker.

The Surrey stretch of the M25, from Godstone on the border with Kent to Heathrow Airport, is often named as the busiest stretch of highway in Europe.

Clacket Lane and Cobham services, 22 miles apart, are the only two stops for fuel on the Surrey M25, so it is not difficult to imagine the disruption caused to lorries, families travelling ahead of the May bank holiday or anyone in need of fuel.

Surrey is of course not the only county to experience such protests and my colleagues in Kent, Hertfordshire, and Essex have their own tales to tell.

The police are sadly all too familiar with these tactics now and did everything right. I am always willing to call out bad behaviour when it exists, but I cannot praise our roads officers highly enough for how they dealt with the situation and must also give thanks to those officers from Kent, Essex, and Sussex who supported their efforts.

But that’s officers from four separate forces in the South East of England, diverted from their local communities or operations to deal with a small number of people who have nothing better to do than disrupt others’ lives and livelihoods.

So with 35 in custody, 54 petrol pumps damaged and out of action, and clear evidence of criminal damage and cost to the operators, it would seem a pretty straightforward case. Wouldn’t it?

However, those of you familiar with the tactics of Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain, and now Just Stop Oil will be wearily familiar with the lack of action taken following police arrests. Only four protesters were charged, and then bailed by the court.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to charge a further four, not believing that sufficient damage had been caused, and found the statement from the owner of the pumps to be ‘unreliable’.

While the law itself is a matter for parliamentarians, and sentencing is for the courts following guidelines laid down by Parliament, the rest of us are getting frustrated by the perceived inaction of parts of the criminal justice system.

The passing of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act last week couldn’t come soon enough, giving as it does extra powers to the police in order to prevent and disrupt protests that seek to seriously disrupt everyday life.

Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with the provisions in the Act, we should be able to agree that the CPS, courts and others have a duty to enforce the law.

But in recent months, I fear we are increasingly seeing a CPS choosing not to enforce the law but instead take policy decisions. In these ‘environmental’ protestors we have people who are deliberately breaking the law in order to influence political decisions – and getting away with it.

Now, you may agree with the protestors or at least have some sympathy with their cause if not their methods.

But imagine instead it were a group of pro-Russian sympathisers arguing that the Ukraine is a Nazi regime, or Islamic State jihadists calling for all British women to be banned from attending school or work and employing the same tactics.

We should not want to sub-contract to the CPS the ability to decide which political views are more palatable than others. The law is the law and all should be equal under it – including middle-class vegan criminals.

Rarely a week goes by when we don’t hear about a ‘crisis’ in the justice system. Court backlogs and victims waiting far too long for justice. As Gladstone said, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied’, and there are harrowing stories of sexual assault, domestic abuse, and rape victims having to wait years for any kind of closure from the courts.

But the answer simply cannot be that we choose some crimes over others, or ordinary citizens like you and me will simply lose faith in a system that is at the heart of any functioning democracy.

Of course it needs more investment (show me a service that isn’t saying it needs more money) but if law-abiding members of the public lose faith in the ability of our criminal justice system to deliver on that justice, then no amount of money is going to buy that back. It is a stain that will stay for many years.

As a Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner, and chair of the Surrey Criminal Justice Board, I wholeheartedly welcome the new Act and the Government’s commitment to law and order. I believe that Dominic Raab is getting to grips with some of the toughest issues facing Parliament, and I look forward to continuing to work with him, and others, to ensure that every citizen is equal under the law.