Protests and illegal lockdown parties resulted in about 140 police officers injured over the past three weeks, the London Metropolitan Police has reported.
Commissioner Cressida Dick condemned the aggression towards police as “utterly unacceptable,” as officers were only fulling their duty. Protests and counter-protests were already presenting problems for police officers, while street parties in violation of the coronavirus lockdowns have strained the force and its patience.
“The local communities hate them, [it is] incredibly anti-social behavior, very noisy during a pandemic and sometimes [there is] violence,” Dick said, adding that police were trying to shut down parties “before they even got going.”
“We will be prepared this weekend,” she added.
At least 22 officers were reportedly injured while responding to a street party in Brixton Wednesday night. Footage from the event showed “appalling scenes of violence” as residents destroyed a police car and chased police down the streets.
An incident the following night in Notting Hill’s Colville Gardens was “much less serious,” but saw police pelted with objects.
“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,” Dick said.
With the additional pressure of protests following the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minnesota on May 25 and counter-protests across the city, the number of police injuries is “heading up to 140-odd officers.”
Scotland Yard said in a statement on Facebook on Thursday that its officers were undertaking an “enhanced policing operation” to limit “disorder.”
“Officers will continue to engage with communities, and respond to emergency calls as usual,” the statement read. “However, we will not tolerate the violence we have recently seen in London. There are additional officers in place overnight to ensure that we have an effective and prompt response to any reports of disorder.”
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Dick later issued a statement on Friday morning, announcing that the police are tracking down those who have attacked officers over the previous days. She promised that “consequences will follow.”