Sajid Javid calls on police to use ‘full force of the law’ against climate change protesters
Sajid Javid has urged the Metropolitan Police to use the ‘full force of the law’ against climate change protesters who are blocking traffic and holding up public transport.
The Home Secretary condemned those acting illegally and pledged to hand the force's chief, Cressida Dick, “whatever support she may need” to tackle them.
The Met boss confirmed that more than 420 people connected to the demonstrations had been arrested in London since Monday, while more than 1,000 officers were being deployed each day.
Major hubs including Marble Arch, Parliament Square, Oxford Circus and Waterloo Bridge are among the major sites to have been occupied since the beginning of the week.
Mr Javid said peaceful protest was a “cherished, long-standing British tradition” but that officers should "take a firm stance" against people who “significantly disrupt” the lives of others.
"Over recent days, commuters trying to earn a living have been unable to travel to work and businesses have been disrupted,” he said following a briefing with Met heads.
“Emergency vehicles have faced difficulties navigating the road networks and the demonstrations have put added pressure on police officers whose job it is to solve crimes and protect the public.
“Let me be clear - I totally condemn any protesters who are stepping outside the boundaries of the law.
“They have no right to cause misery for the millions of people who are trying to lead their daily lives. Unlawful behaviour will not be tolerated.”
He went on to say that officers had his "full backing", adding: "I have spoken to the Met Commissioner today to offer her whatever support she may need and pass on my appreciation to the thousands of officers patrolling the streets of the capital over the Bank Holiday.
“We are a proud democracy – and no one should be allowed to break the law without consequence.”
KHAN: POLICE UNDER-RESOURCED
The Home Secretary's intervention came shortly after Sadiq Khan wrote to him calling for more money for the Met to cope with the strains of policing demonstrations alongside everyday crime.
The London Mayor said the likelihood of further protests relating to Brexit, and others which could follow any visit to the UK by President Trump had left his office weighing up a joint move with the force to demand a Special Grant claim.
“The Met’s ability to police protests without impacting on core policing priorities – such as tackling knife crime – has been made significantly harder by the huge cuts to Government police funding…” he said in a letter.
Citing £850m of cuts to the force since 2010 and the loss of over 3,200 officers, he added: "Whether to tackle violent crime, or police protests, our brave police officers deserve the resources they need to keep us safe.”