Met Police chief Cressida Dick admits her force wasn’t ready for Extinction Rebellion protests as bill for policing demos rises to £7.5million
- Met Police chief Cressida Dick admits force wasn’t prepared for demonstrations
- Said claimed officers faced new tactics and greater numbers than ever before
- Ms Dick also described officers seen dancing with protesters as ‘unprofessional’
- She promised officers would be ‘very fast and assertive’ during future protests
Met Police chief Cressida Dick has admitted her force was not prepared for climate change demonstrations which brought parts of London to a standstill in April.
Ms Dick said the operation to deal with the Extinction Rebellion protests, which cost £7.5million, saw her officers face new tactics and greater numbers than ever before.
The chief commissioner revealed that officers had made 1,200 arrests in just 11 days, with 70 of those charged so far by the Crown Prosecution Service.
She also described officers who were seen seen skateboarding and dancing with protesters were ‘not professional’, had ‘took it too far’ and had ‘been advised’.
Ms Dick promised that officers would be ‘very fast and assertive’ should similar demonstrations threaten to disrupt the capital in the future.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told the London Assembly the force had learned lessons from the Extinction Rebellion protests
The Commissioner said ‘we encourage the officers to engage, whoever [protesters] are – this was not professional they took it too far and have been advised.
She said in future the police would respond more quickly and in greater numbers, pointing to the effectiveness of their response once they did so, on the Thursday evening.
She said the force would learn how to respond more quickly how to unstick protestors when they glue themselves to property.
And she said she had instructed her force to consider putting two prisoners per cell if it became necessary.
The Commissioner told the committee: ‘Extinction Rebellion came in larger numbers than we expected, and used different tactics than we had expected.’
She said the tactics had not been seen or used before and the force would use ‘better intelligence’ in the future.
But she said it would have been excessive to respond with CS gas or mounted police, and that her officers would have been ‘arrested by the IOPC’ had she instructed such a heavy response.
Eighty-nine people were arrested multiple times, she said.
She said the disruption raised issues as to whether the deterrent for such disruptive crimes was strong enough – calling herself ‘just a police officer’ she said it would be a matter for Parliament and the judiciary.
‘A number of people sitting there thinking “this is okay” might feel differently if it were a protest for a different political cause,’ she said.