Met sets out policing plan ahead of Extinction Rebellion protests
The Met is setting out the policing plan in London as environmental group Extinction Rebellion look set to undertake two weeks of extended demonstrations in London.
Activity by Extinction Rebellion is expected to take place between Sunday, 22 August and Saturday 4, September. The group has indicated that it will focus on the City of London.
Officers from the Met have a comprehensive policing plan in place, alongside the City of London Police. Due to the length of Extinction Rebellion’s activity, and experience of policing the previous occupations, the scale and complexity of resources needed to respond will stretch across all areas of the Met.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner, Matt Twist, said: “It is clear to us, from reading and listening to their public announcements that Extinction Rebellion’s intention is to once again cause significant disruption to London and to London’s communities through acts of civil disobedience.
“There have been three previous extended periods of demonstrations by Extinction Rebellion in London. People going about their normal business saw bus routes being diverted or cancelled, significant roads closures, tubes and DLR routes being disrupted by spontaneous demonstrations, and the abstraction of hundreds, if not thousands of officers from their normal duties.
“Like everyone else, Extinction Rebellion have the right to assemble and the right to protest. However these rights are qualified and are to be balanced against the rights of others. They do not have the right to cause serious disruption to London’s communities and prevent them going about their lawful business.”
Throughout the two-week period, officers from the Met will look to engage with organisers from Extinction Rebellion, hoping to minimise where possible any disruption to London’s communities. Other specialist policing teams will also be on standby, who can respond and manage protesters in a safe manner who have built or locked themselves to complicated structures.
DAC Twist added: “Undoubtedly, an operation on this scale will impact our policing in communities across London. Every police officer committed to a large demonstration is a police officer abstracted away from their local borough and community. Each painstaking hour spent dealing with a protester who has committed criminal damage, glued or locked onto a road or business, is time spent away from the people of London, in the parts of London who need us most, dealing with knife crime, domestic abuse, violence.
“I want our police officers to be serving Londoner’s, fighting crime as well as bearing down on our number one priority, violence. It is frustrating that activity by Extinction Rebellion will hinder those efforts.”
Chief Superintendent Rob Atkin, City of London Police, said: “Like our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police, we will also be out in greater numbers to balance the right to protest with any disruption and distress people who live, work and visit the City may experience over the coming fortnight. There is a policing plan in place and we will respond appropriately and proportionately to protest activity”
Updates on the policing operation will be shared on @MetPoliceEvents on Twitter.