Filming police at protests is 'physically intrusive' and 'escalates situations', says Met Commissioner

1 May 2024, 08:57 | Updated: 1 May 2024, 09:48

Sir Mark Rowley said filming interactions with police at protests had become "intrusive".
Sir Mark Rowley said filming interactions with police at protests had become "intrusive". Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Emma Soteriou

Filming police at protests is 'physically intrusive' and 'escalates situations', Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has said.

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Speaking during LBC's Call the Commissioner, Sir Mark said he was "completely up for accountability" but filming had become more "provocative" instead of an effective way to document a conversation.

"I have no problem with people filming officers on the streets but when you have six or 10 people literally in your face when you’re trying to have a conversation with them, it’s actually physically intrusive and I think it escalates some of the situations," Sir Mark said.

"We want people to have their democratic right to protest, to shout at each other and all the rest of it… we’re simply concerned about keeping people who have very divergent opinions a safe distance apart."

Watch Again: Nick Ferrari speaks to Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley 01/05

He added: "An officer managing that with someone who’s looking to be more provocative than try and have a sensible conversation doesn’t need 10 cameras in their face."

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Sir Mark said he understood that recent marches were creating a "sense of fear" for the Jewish community "regardless of how well they are policed".

"That's why we've used all the powers we have to the full extent," he said.

"We've put conditions on the marches - their start times and end times, we restrict them really tightly and we put a lot of policing into that so they have no overspill impact on others.

"Also, on individual cases, every time someone breaches the law, the officers are pouncing on it straight away."

The Met chief added that police had stepped up patrols in Jewish communities.

"We’ve been doing it around schools, synagogues... we’ve been dealing with the surge in hate crime that Jewish communities have faced," he said.

Referencing a video that showed four men allegedly trying to force a Jewish pedestrian into the boot of their car in north London, Sir Mark said arrests had been made within a few hours of the footage surfacing.

"It's the same preventative tactics we're using to keep marches apart and protect Jewish communities," Sir Mark added.

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