Met Police issues statement ahead of busy Easter weekend

Protests, sporting events and religious festivals have put the police in high alert

The Metropolitan Police has issued a statement ahead of a busy Easter weekend when a series of protests, sporting events and religious festivals are taking place.

The force says “an extensive policing plan is in place” for the capital over the bank holiday weekend and officers will be “working hard” to ensure various religious, sporting and protest events can “take place safely”.

While the UK terrorism threat level remains at ‘substantial’, dedicated counter-terrorism patrols have been taking place in busy locations across London and will continue across the weekend.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Valentine, who is overseeing policing across London for the Easter weekend, said: “We expect this weekend in London to be extremely busy, with families and communities celebrating Easter and other religious festivals, as well as a mix of major sporting events and various protests taking place in the capital.

“We have an extensive policing plan in place to ensure these can take place safely, but I also want to be clear that we will not tolerate anyone who is intent on causing criminality, disorder or anti-social behaviour at any of the events.

“We have maintained a good dialogue with event holders, including protest organisers who are aware of our expectations in terms how individuals and groups conduct themselves and how their stewards can help us. We continue to provide them with information about what kind of activity would constitute a criminal offence and have made it clear that we will take swift and decisive action where crimes occur.

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“We also know that many people – particularly those from Jewish and Muslim communities – remain concerned about hate crime and are worried about their safety and we recognise the cumulative impact of frequent protests.

“Local officers continue to meet with community representatives and we will have presence at places of worship right across London through the weekend and beyond. While we have an extensive plan in place to police the various major events, we also have plenty of officers who will be on duty to provide a local policing presence across all of our boroughs.

“This is possible, in part, because we are once again being supported by colleagues from other forces across the UK and I’d like to thank all of the officers and staff who will be working this weekend to keep London safe.”

On Good Friday, police will be present at the Rolling Thunder protest in relation to military veterans taking place in the central London area during the morning, as well as policing a number of football matches. On Saturday, there will be a policing plan in relation to the Boat Race in West London, while many football matches are also taking place and a protest is planned by the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign (PSC).

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