Met will do everything it can to prevent disruption to Remembrance events
The Metropolitan Police Service will protect Armistice and Remembrance events in London this weekend.
Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley said: "The events taking place this weekend are of great significance and importance to our nation. I completely recognise the significant public and political concern about the impact of ongoing protest and demonstrations on this moment of national reflection. Therefore I am determined we will do everything in our power to ensure they pass without disruption.
“The reason we have an independent police service is so that among debate, opinion, emotion and conflict, we stand in the centre, focused simply on the law and the facts in front of us.
“The laws created by Parliament are clear. There is no absolute power to ban protest, therefore there will be a protest this weekend.
“The law provides no mechanism to ban a static gathering of people. It contains legislation which allows us to impose conditions to reduce disruption and the risk of violence, and in the most extreme cases when no other tactics can work, for marches or moving protests to be banned.
“Many have called for us to use this power to ban a planned march by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign on Saturday.
“But the use of this power is incredibly rare and must be based on intelligence which suggests there will be a real threat of serious disorder and no other way for police to manage the event. The last time it was used was over a decade ago.
“Over recent weeks we’ve seen an escalation of violence and criminality by small groups attaching themselves to demonstrations, despite some key organisers working positively with us.
“But at this time, the intelligence surrounding the potential for serious disorder this weekend does not meet the threshold to apply for a ban.
“The organisers have shown complete willingness to stay away from the Cenotaph and Whitehall and have no intention of disrupting the nation’s remembrance events. Should this change, we’ve been clear we will use powers and conditions available to us to protect locations and events of national importance at all costs.
“Officers will continue to take swift and robust action against any breakaway groups or individuals intent on using legitimate, lawful protest for their own agenda through Saturday and Sunday.
“If over the next few days the intelligence evolves, and we reach a threshold where there is a real threat of serious disorder we will approach the Home Secretary. Right now, we remain focused on the facts in front of us and developing our plan to ensure the highest levels of protection for events throughout the weekend.
Notes to editors
The Met can apply for a public procession to be banned under Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986 if there is a risk of serious public disorder.
The legislation makes it clear that other conditions, such as on the location of the protest, should be considered before a complete ban is imposed.