POLICE must make their own decisions whether to intervene if anti-racism protesters try to full down statues as part of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Downing Street has said. 

Boris Johnson told his Cabinet on Tuesday that protesters who break social distancing or attack public property or police "will face the full force of the law", as the killing of George Floyd in the US continued to provoke demonstrations against inequality.

But, after police in Bristol stood back to allow protesters to rip down the monument to slave trader Edward Colston, Downing Street said it is an operational decision for forces to make.

Oxford Mail:

Read more: Oriel College makes statement about statue 

Home Secretary Priti Patel was reported to have had a "firm" discussion with Avon and Somerset Police's chief constable, Andy Marsh, over the decision.

But with protests in Oxford expected tonight over the statue of the Victorian imperialist Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister's official spokesperson has said police must make a decision about whether to intervene. 

They said: "Police will have to make their own operational decisions based on individual circumstances but I think the PM is very clear that people should not be desecrating public monuments and where they do so they should face the full force of the law."