Policing a demonstration in modern times needs several things. It needs sections of coppers trained to work together, it needs a stock of fireproof overalls, helmets and protective equipment for them to wear, it needs live monitoring and surveillance of the crowds and above all it needs police managers and commanders of talent and ability.
The BLM march two weeks ago was a disaster for the Met. Officers in light summer patrol dress with soft caps faced a baying, vicious and violent mob, and turned, ran and abandoned our democratic heart to vandalism and graffiti. Command was chaotic, a counter plan unapparent. The Gold commander of that farce, whether straight or gay, male or female, black or white, must be removed from duty. We cannot pretend it was anything other than gross mismanagement.
Last week's protests were better commanded, with only two major lapses - the unmanned barriers and an open footway at King Charles St in the morning, and a failure to anticipate the clashes on the South Bank after 5pm.
Then there was the assault on the PM's car following PMQs this week. A group of more than six protesters was gathered in contravention of the law. Specifically, s.7 of the The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020,
7.—(1) During the emergency period, unless paragraph (2) applies, no person may participate in a gathering which takes place in a public or private place—
(a)outdoors, and consists of more than six persons
They were watched by a few bored plods who were watching the nice shiny cars coming out of the palace of Westminster rather the protesters around them. One of the mob ran at the PM's vehicle, there was an emergency stop and a collision. It could have been an Islamist with a sticky bomb. Fail.
Again tomorrow, thugs will gather in London to seek to break the law, vandalise and destroy the public realm and to create fear and disturbance. We expect nothing less from the Met than that they uphold the laws made by our Parliament, a Parliament we elected. We expect the Met to prevent and to disperse any illegal gatherings of more than 6. We expect the Met to enforce the provisions of the Public Order Act. We expect the Met to safeguard our democratic heart in SW1, and to prevent mob damage to our national monuments.
Sadiq Khan and Cressida Dick, the eyes of the entire nation are on you tomorrow. We're watching you. We're watching you very closely.
|Unpoliced illegal gathering - Chief Dick, please note|