The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is urging anyone who has an organisational role in this week’s Million Mask March to contact police ahead of this Thursday’s advertised action.
Over the last three years this has developed into an annual event. However, the night has been marked by significant levels of anti-social behaviour, criminal damage to monuments and buildings, attempts to take over buildings, harassment of motorists and attacks on police officers.
— MPS Events (@MetPoliceEvents) November 3, 2015
Chief Superintendent Pippa Mills, from the Metropolitan Police Service said:
“We will always facilitate peaceful protest and have a strong history of doing so. However, over the last few this event has seen high levels of anti-social behaviour, crime and disorder.
“This year we have strong reason to believe that peaceful protest is the last thing on the minds of many of the people who will come along.
“Last year hundreds of people on their way home from work, or out enjoying an evening in the Capital, were surrounded by people causing them huge concern. Buses were physically rocked, people jumped on car bonnets, as well as serious disorder in central London and damage to a number of buildings.
“We have such serious concerns about a repetition of such criminal behaviour this year that we have made the decision to impose conditions under the Public Order Act on the event on Thursday, 5 November.”
A significant policing operation will be in place for the duration of the event.
The last three years of policing this event has proven it to be a difficult and challenging operation for the MPS.
There is no identified organiser, no identified route and no objective.
Chief Superintendent Mills, concluded: “This Thursday will be a busy night in London. People have the right to go home from work, shop, visit theatres and landmarks without the fear of being harassed or caught up in violence.
“It is unacceptable that a small minority should believe they have the right to break the law, harass people, damage buildings and attack police officers.
“My message to those people planning on attending on Thursday night is if you want to take part in peaceful protest that is your right and we want to work with you.
“If you want to break the law then we will police you. Where offences are committed we will investigate them and make arrests.”
A series of briefings have been delivered to local businesses in the Westminster area and those buildings that have been advertised as possible ‘targets’ for the Million Mask March.
A London wide policing operation will be in place, which is designed to prevent trouble from flaring, and facilitate anyone who wishes to take part in peaceful protest. Dedicated teams of highly flexible officers will be on standby at key locations in the Capital.
Details of the conditions applied under Section 14 of the Public Order Act, 1986, are as follows –
Any static assembly held can only take place at the following locations:
In the area in the centre of Parliament Square (known as Parliament Square Gardens); and
In the area within the barriers on the East Footway of Whitehall, opposite Downing Street (known as Richmond Terrace).
Details of the conditions applied under Section 12 of the Public Order Act, 1986, are as follows –
If a procession (march) takes place, it will be from Trafalgar Square and stay within the area bounded by:
St Margaret Street;
Millbank (up to junction with Great Peter Street);
Great Peter Street (up to junction with Great Smith Street);
Parliament Street; and
Other conditions under act are:
The march must not commence before 18:00hrs;
The march must not continue after 21:00hrs;
The participants must follow the directions of constable even if the route is varied; and
There will be no motor vehicles as part of the procession.
Additionally under Section 35 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Police Act 2014 an area within Westminster has been dedicated a dispersal zone, from 17:00hrs on Thursday, 5 November until 02:00hrs on Friday, 6 November.
A section 60AA of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, provides powers to require the removal of facial coverings where police anticipate there may be criminal offences, will also be in place within the same area for the same duration.