Former Met Commissioner brands military use in pandemic "tantamount to martial law"

23 September 2020, 10:02 | Updated: 23 September 2020, 10:05

By Fiona Jones

Former Met Commissioner Lord John Stevens brands military involvement in enforcing coronavirus restrictions as "tantamount to martial law" and explains why it is "dangerous."

Boris Johnson has announced that a series of tough new coronavirus measures could stay in effect for the next six months.

Amongst the announcements, the PM said that the military could be deployed in England to help police officers enforce the new restrictions.

Nick confronted Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab over these measures and Mr Raab clarified, "The point is they will backfill and provide extra capacity where the police need it so that it frees the police up to do the frontline work that's important for them."

Former Metropolitan Police Commissioner and expert on international security Lord John Stevens told LBC of his disapproval of this plan.

Lord John said the army are a "blunt instrument, they are there to kill, they're not there to have the delicate kind of touch the police have to have."

"We don't want martial law in this country...I think this is a dangerous escalation," he said, "they can be there to back up police officers in times of national emergency, but we want to be absolutely sure they know their role."

Lord John said it is "dangerous" for the military to be involved because "when you're calling in the military on the streets then the police have lost the streets and it's tantamount to martial law."

The former commissioner said that despite the fact the police are stretched and the attacks on officers is a national scandal, his ex-colleagues are adamant they do not want military assistance.

However he reflected that the Prime Minister's announcement did not have a "very specific" outline of how the army will be deployed - he pointed out that the police's priority would not be enforcing Covid restrictions with homicides, knife crime and abuse occurring.

The Ministry of Defence responded to concerns about military on the streets shortly after the Prime Minister's Commons announcement:

"The military have well-rehearsed contingency plans in place to support police services, with 500 military personnel now available to backfill armed guarding duties if required by the Home Office.

"The military will not be undertaking any public-order or enforcement activities."

Watch the full interview above.

More Nick Ferrari

See more More Nick Ferrari

Ian Maxwell was speaking to LBC's Nick Ferrari

Watch in full: Nick Ferrari speaks to Ghislaine Maxwell's brother ahead of trial

The sex trafficking trial of Ghislaine Maxwell is set to begin in New York today

Ghislaine Maxwell’s brother says Prince Andrew was 'cancelled' on 'dubious grounds'

The UK wants to step up cooperation with France, a minister has said.

'Not just a British problem': UK ready to send ground support to France, minister says

Dominic Raab has dismissed claims Boris Johnson has been the subject of a number of no confidence letters

Raab dismisses PM no confidence letters as 'tittle tattle' as party rating plummets

Dominic Raab defended Harper's Law

Raab: Harper’s Law isn’t blurring lines between murder and manslaughter

The uncle of Dawn Ashworth says Pitchfork should have been handed a whole life sentence

Uncle of Pitchfork victim says Parole Board put kids 'at risk' by releasing killer

Exclusive
The Education Secretary refused to be drawn on the subject of Priti Patel

Education Secretary refuses to grade Priti Patel's performance over migrants

Exclusive
Nadhim Zahawi told LBC the new law was the forward in dealing with the migrant crisis.

Migrant crisis: New law must 'close the loophole, break the business model', Zahawi says

Exclusive
The Education Secretary was speaking on LBC's Call the Cabinet

Nadhim Zahawi: Anti-vax protesters should be 'nowhere near' schools

Exclusive
Nadhim Zahawi spoke to Nick Ferrari on LBC this morning

Zahawi hails UK jab rollout, saying Covid pandemic can shrink

Call The Cabinet | Watch live on Monday from 9am

Call The Cabinet with Nadhim Zahawi | Watch Again

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cinderella will raise money for women all over the world.

Lloyd Webber's Cinderella gala to raise money to empower female refugees around the world

Caller with home on proposed HS2 route 'absolutely delighted' it's axed

Caller with home on proposed HS2 route 'absolutely delighted' it's axed

Exclusive
PC John Murray spoke to Nick Ferrari

'I will get them': Former cop vows to find out who fired gun that killed WPC Yvonne Fletcher

Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber joins Nick Ferrari

Andrew Lloyd Webber joins Nick Ferrari | Watch again

Nick Ferrari interviews Azeem Rafiq

Watch in full: Nick Ferrari interviews Azeem Rafiq