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Cressida Dick issues warning over gatherings in London after 'over 100 officers hurt'
26 June 2020, 15:24
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has issued a warning to those who attack police officers at mass gatherings, condemning the assaults as "completely, utterly unacceptable".
She said that officers right across London were on the lookout for unlicensed music events and that police had "closed down several before they even got going".
There was "quite a large gathering" which was shut down "very firmly and clearly" along with another event in Mitcham.
The commissioner said violence broke out at a gathering in Notting Hill "where some missiles were thrown and some aggression shown to the officers which is completely utterly unacceptable".
Ms Dick said: "These events are unlawful. They shouldn't be happening and we have a duty to go and close them down and to disperse them.
"The local communities hate them, (it is) incredibly anti-social behaviour, very noisy during a pandemic and sometimes violence.
"For our officers who are simply doing their duty to be attacked is utterly unacceptable."
No officers were injured during the Notting Hill violence which the commissioner described as "very unacceptable behaviour but very much less serious" than the trouble at a block party in Brixton on Wednesday night.
More than 20 officers were injured during the trouble in Brixton which included three "really quite nasty injuries".
The commissioner said: "It was a really really horrible incident for them to deal with, really vicious attacks by people using bottles, glasses and anything they could pick up."
She estimated that "well over 100" officers have been injured during the series of protests, including Black Lives Matter demonstrations, which have taken place in recent weeks.
The commissioner, who noted that some injuries may not be reported until after the incident, suggested that the number of police injuries is now "heading up to 140-odd officers, I think, in the last three weeks".
Commissioner Cressida Dick, who said she was in Brixton last night, added: "What I saw was Met officers poised to deal with what was required, ready in full kit should there be any violent or aggressive crowds to deal with.
"The officers on the ground have to make a decision when they are called to do something and how to do that most safely.
"I am not going to second guess all the decisions on the night at Brixton, suffice to say I have set out as commissioner to ensure that my people are as well supported and as well equipped as they possibly can be."
In a message to the public, she said: "Tell us about unlicensed music events. We will come and close them down.
"My message to my officers is that I will support you and I will do everything I can to ensure that you are able to do your job to your best ability and that you are well equipped."
Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick also spoke of her concerns about the potential for more violence as Britain heads into the weekend.
London has experienced "a very difficult few weeks" as lockdown has eased, she said, and some people have "very high feelings" about issues such as Black Lives Matter.