24 November 2023 15:01 Met releases details of policing operation ahead of further protests The Met supports the right for people to make their voices heard through protest providing it is done lawfully. However, the law also protects people from racist and religious abuse and prohibits the promotion of terrorism.

More than 1,500 officers will be on duty this weekend, including 500 from outside London, as the Met prepares for another weekend of protest.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Ade Adelekan, who will lead the policing operation this weekend, said: “The conflict in the Middle East is continuing and here in London we are still seeing the cumulative impact of continued protest, increasing tensions, and rising hate crime.

“That fear and anxiety is particularly felt by our Jewish and Muslim communities.

“We know a lot more about the cumulative impact of these protests than we did seven weeks ago and that is reflected in our approach.

“The Met supports the right for people to make their voices heard through protest providing it is done lawfully. However, the law also protects people from racist and religious abuse and prohibits the promotion of terrorism.

“While the majority of protesters have complied with these rules, a minority have crossed the line.

“We’ve been working positively with organisers, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), to ensure everyone taking part in protests clearly understands our expectations.

“We are very pleased that the PSC have brought in extra stewards and that they’ve agreed to be clear in their communications about how supporters must behave.

“The public will see further communication from us this weekend both online and in the form of leaflets, which our officers will share with protesters along the march route.

“As you would expect, this sets out that anyone who is racist or incites hatred against any group should expect to be arrested. As should anyone who supports Hamas or any other banned organisation.

“We will not tolerate anyone who celebrates or promote acts of terrorism – such as the killing or kidnap of innocent people – or who spreads hate speech.

“I hope that those planning to attend protests this weekend will reflect on this and that the vast majority of those who are law abiding will help us by holding their fellow protestors to account.

“If they see behaviour that has crossed the line into criminality we ask them to challenge it and to report it immediately to one of the many officers present. In a huge march, officers cannot see everything that is going on, but others do, and if they report it we will act quickly.”

Policing approach:

The public will see robust intervention from our officers in the event of any criminal activity this weekend.

There will be trained spotters at specific points of the march looking out for criminal activity, including hate placards and clothing, and identifying those responsible.

We also have officers who have been briefed on chants, including those which cross the line of the law.

Across the weekend, we will also be using technology to identify and track offenders within large groups of people and deploying intervention teams where we need to extract suspects.

We have been clear that policing a protest is complex and our work doesn’t simply stop when the event finishes. Our specialist teams continue to gather and review evidence to identify criminal behaviour and to locate those responsible.

In recent weeks the public have helped us to identify many of those suspected of committing crimes. A woman was recently identified with help from the public and interviewed under caution for a placard with the Star of David and a swastika.

We’ve also seen people identify themselves after the strength of our social media appeals. Two women who were videoed chanting antisemitic chants identified themselves after one of our appeals had 5.4 million views.

Officers are also looking for opportunities to use retrospective facial recognition which enables us to compare an image caught on CCTV, or other footage, against a vast database of custody images.

It can be used after an event or incident as part of a criminal investigation and speeds up the identification, and elimination, of suspects.

On past weekends, our main challenge has been the dispersal of protestors at the end of the march. Whilst the vast majority of the marchers have dispersed quickly and peacefully, we have consistently seen small breakaway groups heading into the West End. These groups can see serious disruption, setting off fireworks causing fear and intimidation.

In particular, we are keen that the message gets out about the importance of dispersing at the end of the march and not creating breakaway groups like we have seen in recent weeks. These groups can cause serious disruption, fear and intimidation in communities and amongst people going out their normal business in the West End. Officers will be proactive and decisive in responding to groups who are acting in this way.

It’s our clear intention to ensure nobody is intimidated or left in fear for their safety by a roaming group.

We will intervene very early, using all the legal powers at our disposal, to make sure people feel safe and are safe.

Palestine Solidarity Campaign demonstration

On Saturday, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign will hold a march from Park Lane to Whitehall.

The following conditions have been imposed under Section 12 of the Public Order Act:

  • The procession must not commence until 12:30hrs and participants must not assemble at Park Lane before this time.
  • Any person participating in the procession must not deviate from the route specific on the map below.

The following conditions have been imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act:

  • The PSC organised assembly must end no later than 17:00hrs.
  • Any participant in the PSC organised assembly must not enter the area in red in the map below (this is the area around the Israeli Embassy).

Hizb-ut-Tahrir demonstration

On Saturday afternoon, there will be a static protest at the Egyptian Embassy in South Street, W1K organised by Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

This is the first time Hizb-ut-Tahrir have held a protest since 21 October, when there was considerable debate about the use of the word ‘jihad’.

Nobody can fail to have seen the public reaction and the strength of feeling in the Jewish community in particular.

It is a word that clearly causes upset and concern, but it’s always contextual.

If we think people are chanting this to incite violence, terrorism or antisemitism – we will act decisively and quickly.

The following conditions have been imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act:

  • The assembly must not commence until 13:00hrs and participants must remain in the area shaded red on the map below.
  • The assembly must end by 15:30hrs.

March Against Antisemitism

On Sunday, there will be a March Against Antisemitism, organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

The march will begin at 13:30hrs outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand.

Discussions have taken place with organisers and there is a detailed policing plan in place ahead of the event.

Officers will be on hand for the safety of those taking part and to ensure that any offences, whether from within the protest or from any groups trying to challenge or interfere with the march, can be swiftly dealt with.