Federation calls on senior MPS leaders to apologise for failing to protect officers during protests
The Metropolitan Police Federation is calling on Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick to apologise to officers injured during the weekend’s Black Lives Matter protests for failing to provide them with adequate protective equipment.
The Federation, which represents more than 30,000 frontline police officers in London, is demanding that officers are appropriately equipped with public order gear – including helmets and shields – when they are attacked by violent protestors.
The call followed the release of footage – widely shared on social media – showing officers dressed only in stab vests, flat caps and high-visibility jackets come under attack from fireworks, flares and bottles and being forced to make a hasty retreat.
A total of 62 Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) officers have been injured during the protests.
“Enough is enough,” said Federation chair Ken Marsh. “I shall be calling for urgent action from the Commissioner. And we would expect an official apology from senior leaders to our members for being frankly offered up like this.
“Let me be clear, we as a police service can deal with these outbreaks of disorder, no problems. But it seems we are more concerned about image and perception rather than protecting our brave police officers and maintaining order.
“Our colleagues have a role in democracy to facilitate peaceful protests. Police officers should not come under attack for fulfilling that role. While we understand and appreciate the cause that is being highlighted, a violent minority have decided to attack our colleagues. We have sadly seen colleagues bloodied this weekend. It is never acceptable.
“We should be dealing with this disorder far more robustly. We need to have the correct equipment on to deal with what is in front of us. Our leaders have to respond and kit us up correctly and make sure we are fully prepared for what is taking place.
“If bottles and fireworks are being thrown at our police officers, we should have public order equipment on. No ifs. No buts. Our colleagues’ safety should be of paramount importance to our police leaders.”
Mr Marsh said he was “disgusted, sickened and appalled” by the violence being targeted towards officers by a minority of protestors since the demonstrations in London began last Wednesday (June 3). Thirteen officers were injured that day, a further 14 on Saturday (June 6) – including an officer who fell off a horse – and another 35 on Sunday (June 7).
He added: “Sixty two MPS officers have now been injured policing protests this past week. While also having to risk their safety policing the protests during what is a global pandemic. Police officers have families and loved ones they want to go home to. This is completely unacceptable.
“I am not quite sure what my colleagues have done to warrant this fervour of abuse and attack that they are getting in such a disgusting way. It is absolutely absurd and wholly unfair in the middle of a pandemic.
“It’s sadly now clear – and frankly has been clear for a number of days – that some people are using these protests as an excuse to attack police officers. We have had enough warnings. The tactics being used by the MPS are very wrong. And need to be looked at as a matter of urgency.”
He added: “While 99 per cent of people protesting these past few days were totally lawful in terms what they were trying to get across… that they were not lawful in the fact that they were there. Because they were not allowed to be there during the Covid-19 pandemic.”