As the busy Bank Holiday weekend approaches, the Met is set to deploy thousands of police officers to London’s streets to help keep communities safe and respond to any serious disruption or crime and disorder related to protests or other events.
A number of demonstrations are being organised by various groups during the course of the weekend, this includes on-going direct action by Extinction Rebellion. Separately, the Met will deploy officers to a number of football matches, music festivals as well as to the footprint of where the Notting Hill Carnival would have been taking place.
Due to the volume of events in the capital, the Met has requested a small number of officers from neighbouring police forces to support the operation. These officers will look to bolster the Met’s response to any protests, including by Extinction Rebellion. At this time, mutual aid is only being requested for Saturday.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist from the Met, said: “A policing operation of this complexity and scale is rarely seen in London and I am hugely grateful to the thousands of officers who will be on duty across the Bank Holiday. Our policing plan has been designed to flex to any challenge or event across the weekend.
“As we head into the weekend, we are ready to respond to a number of different demonstrations by protest groups, including Extinction Rebellion. This past week, officers have worked hard to balance the rights of the protestors with those of the community, however on many occasions, demonstrators’ actions became unreasonable and they caused or tried to cause serious disruption to the public and businesses.
“Activists have frustrated the policing response by using complex lock-on devices which take time for officers to safely remove. They have also used paint to deface London landmarks – action which we consider is totally unacceptable.
“Our specialist teams have responded quickly to reduce serious disruption and we’ve made a significant number of arrests so far. Given the continued promise by Extinction Rebellion to cause disruption, I believe we will have to make more arrests. Like everyone else, Extinction Rebellion have the right to assemble, and protest, however this is a qualified right, and they do not have the right to cause serious and unreasonable disruption to others.”
Throughout the Bank Holiday weekend, the Met will continue to work closely with all of London’s blue light partners, including City of London Police and British Transport Police. Officers will remain highly visible in communities and will be working hard to keep people safe. The Met’s number one priority remains to bear down on violent crime in all its forms. During the Bank Holiday police officers will target harden those areas of London where the risk of violence is highest.
DAC Twist added: “It is clear that this will be a busy weekend for officers across the Met but I am confident that our plans enable us to respond to any demand. Londoners can still expect to see their police officers highly visible and working hard to keep people safe. The unreasonable disruption caused by Extinction Rebellion, particularly as London continues to recover from the pandemic, is deeply frustrating, especially for communities who will see local officers pulled into central London in response.”
Updates on the Met’s policing plan across the weekend will be shared on @MetPoliceEvents on Twitter.