Metropolitan Police Federation

“I want to see my colleagues on these demonstrations kitted up from the beginning. And I’m not overly concerned about the perception or anything else other than protecting my colleagues.”

Demonstrators hurled bottles as officers attempted to disperse the crowds in Hyde Park on Saturday (24 April) evening after a rally.

Eight officers were injured. The Met said two were taken to hospital, although their injuries are not believed to be serious.

Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said his colleagues “weren’t kitted up correctly”.

“We can assure everyone that we shall be raising the scenes we witnessed in Hyde Park with senior management in the Metropolitan Police with utmost urgency,” he said.

“I want to see my colleagues on these demonstrations kitted up from the beginning.

“And I’m not overly concerned about the perception or anything else other than protecting my colleagues.”

Last summer he raised similar concerns following Black Lives Matter protests with Deputy Commissioner Stephen House, and the force were apparently responsive to the Federation’s concerns.

He said officers should have had NATO helmets on their belts so they could have “been ready to go” when protesters began throwing things at them on Saturday.

“This is about the ability to have a dynamic risk assessment that you can turn around in 30 seconds before my colleagues get bloodied, as you saw the weekend, because we didn’t have time to prepare for that, because it’s sporadic.”

The Met said five people were arrested for offences including assault on police and public order offences.

Mr Marsh added: “Peaceful protest may well be the cornerstone of democracy – and police officers have a role in facilitating that – but the scenes we saw in Hyde Park of a thin blue line of brave and sadly bloodied police officers coming under attack from thugs were anything but peaceful.

“Police officers are human beings who go out every day to keep people safe.

“Many people seem to have forgotten that right now but we will keep reminding them.

“Our colleagues have every right to go home to their families at the end of their shifts. Not to hospital.”

Mr Marsh believes by now violence against officers should be anticipated.

“We know how this is going to play out. If you can tell me a weekend from now till back to Black Lives Matter when my colleagues haven’t been injured one, two, thirty, forty, fifty, then I’d accept that you don’t need to do it (provide kit). But you can’t.”

He said he was “very concerned” about the upcoming months as restrictions ease and the police will be dealing with large crowds of people who have been under lockdown for so long.

“We need to be really on the front foot. We need to be vigilant, we need to be prepared. We need to be ready to deal with what’s put in front of us without not having the correct equipment or the ability to deal with it because we’ve got the cops and we’ve got the equipment. So let’s get on with it.”

This article originally appeared in Police Oracle https://www.policeoracle.com/news/uniformed_operations/2021/Apr/26/officers-must-be-kitted-up–says-met-fed-following-protest-injuries_107124.html