Met Police will do 'everything we can' to protect King's coronation after LBC reveals risk of eco protest

25 January 2023, 13:53

Sir Mark Rowley has vowed to do whatever the force can to ensure the coronation goes without a hitch
Sir Mark Rowley has vowed to do whatever the force can to ensure the coronation goes without a hitch. Picture: Alamy

By Henry Riley

The Metropolitan Police will do "everything we can" if eco protesters try to disrupt the King's coronation, Britain's top cop has vowed.

Met commissioner Sir Mark Rowley's remarks come after the Chair of the Police and Crime Committee, Susan Hall, quizzed him on an LBC investigation, in which Just Stop Oil refused to rule out disrupting the King's coronation.

Susan Hall, who leads the Conservatives on the London Assembly, said: "I've been told by Henry Riley of LBC that he's been having discussions with Just Stop Oil" about "interfering with the coronation itself".

The Met chief acknowledged that he had "not seen that intelligence" with regards to the civil disobedience group, but added that he was aware of planned disruption during the week before the event.

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Sir Mark said that "just as we did with Her late Majesty's funeral… we will do everything we can to make the coronation the special moment it ought to be".

LBC revealed earlier this month that there could be potential disruption at the coronation, after the group's spokesperson Alex De Koning refused to rule out the key date – as well as failing to rule out the group targeting strike days or the local elections.

Sir Mark Rowley has vowed to protect the King's Coronation
Sir Mark Rowley has vowed to protect the King's Coronation. Picture: Alamy

The former Deputy Mayor of London for Policing, Lord Greenhalgh, told LBC that the police should enforce the current legislation to combat the group, saying: "People can protest, but not heap misery upon the great British public.

"We have the finest public order policing in the world, bar none. The police should use absolutely every tool in their armamentarium to bring these protesters to book."

But Sir Mark hinted today that tougher legislation may be needed.

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He told the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee: "I want to put on record I am very grateful to the government listening to my concerns about the lack of specificity in public order legislation, and there are proposals there… which should massively help our ability to deal with protest.

The Met Commissioner added: "I have a very strong view that the current legal framework is so fuzzy and grey, it's very hard policing-wise.

"If government is able to sharpen the definition in law, then it would be much easier for policing to exercise Parliaments will… and that will be helpful in any protests leading to the coronation."