Attacks on police ‘completely unacceptable’, says Met Commissioner as nearly 140 officers injured

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick Credit: PA

Attacks on police officers sent to break up illegal parties are “utterly unacceptable”, Scotland Yard’s commissioner has said.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said the force has a “duty” to close down unlawful music events during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Her comments come after officers came under attack for a second night as they tried to disperse crowds at London street parties.

The Met said officers sent to break up a street party on Notting Hill, west London, were pelted with objects on Thursday night.

Screen grab from Twitter footage of a violent confrontation with police that took place in Brixton. Credit: Twitter/PA

Dame Cressida said police were on the lookout for illegal parties after violent scenes in Brixton on Wednesday evening left 22 officers injured.

The UK’s most senior officer said police “closed down several before they even got going”, but condemned violence in Colville Gardens, Notting Hill as “completely, utterly unacceptable”.

She 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 (there is) violence.

“For our officers who are simply doing their duty to be attacked is utterly unacceptable.”

Volunteers clean up after a street party Overton Road, Angell Town, Brixton. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

The comments from the UK’s most senior officer came after Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Daily Express those who attack police “will be taken off our streets”.

Scotland Yard said extra officers in protective gear had been dispatched to illegal raves and block parties around the capital on Thursday after an event on the Angell Town estate in Brixton the night before descended into violence.

Footage on social media showed police vehicles smashed and officers pelted with bottles during clashes with a large crowd, with Downing Street condemning the scenes as “appalling”.

Dame Cressida said three officers suffered “really quite nasty injuries”, adding: “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 suggested that the number of police injuries is now “heading up to 140-odd officers” in the last three weeks, including those hurt during protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.

No officers were injured during the Notting Hill violence, which the commissioner described as “very unacceptable behaviour but very much less serious”.

Officers also attended another party in Streatham Common.

In a message to the public, Dame Cressida 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.”

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation, has warned the Government’s announcement about loosening the lockdown on July 4 could be “a countdown to party time”.

He said: “This leads to issues that the police will have to deal with.

“Firstly, of course, there are worries about alcohol consumption leading to drunken and irresponsible behaviour, and there’s also the concern that people who can’t get into pubs because of restrictions that are still in place may cause conflict.

“This will, without doubt, add more pressure on policing, paramedics and the wider NHS.”

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