Met Police commissioner warns of 'consequences for thuggery' as fears grow over a summer of unrest

Ellen Manning
·3-min read

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has warned that “consequences will follow” for people who attack police officers and damage property amid growing fears that London is facing a summer of unrest.

Writing in The Sun, Dame Cressida Dick said it had been a “very difficult few weeks” in the capital as lockdown started to ease, with more than 30 officers injured as they worked to disperse crowds at various incidents.

Police were called to an unlicensed music event in the Kensal Town area of west London on Friday.

The previous day, officers sent to break up a street party in Notting Hill, west London, were pelted with objects and dozens of officers were injured in violent scenes in Brixton on Wednesday evening.

Fifteen police officers were injured in violent clashes in Brixton. (PA)
Fifteen police officers were injured in violent clashes in Brixton on Wednesday evening. (PA)

The incidents have sparked concerns that unrest will continue through the summer as lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Dick wrote in The Sun: “The restrictions on lives over the last three months of the pandemic have been hard. But in recent days we have seen large numbers completely flouting the health regulations and breaking the law.

Read more: Coronavirus: Police chief says it is 'very rare' for people to be fined for flouting social distancing

“Worst of all, we have seen police officers targeted with appalling violence.

“It has been hot, some people are drinking too much and some become angry and aggressive. A minority of people are just plain violent and seek out trouble.”

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick attending a raid at an address in Islington, in north London, by the Metropolitan Police flying squad, investigating a high value jewellery burglary. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said there will be consequences for people involved in 'thuggery'. (PA)

She added: “My message to those involved in thuggery, threats and criminal damage is that consequences will follow.”

Her comments came after Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Daily Express that those who attack police “will be taken off our streets”.

John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation, warned that the government’s announcement about loosening the lockdown on July 4 could be “a countdown to party time”.

He said: “This will, without doubt, add more pressure on policing, paramedics and the wider NHS.”

Former Met Commissioner  Police officers confront Black Lives Matter activists near the National Gallery during the demonstration. Groups including the far-right activists congregated in the capital, claiming they were protecting statues from anti-racism activists. Boris Johnson said "racist thuggery has no place on our streets" after officers were seen being punched and kicked. Some peaceful anti-racism protests also took place in London and across the UK. (Photo by Rahman Hassani / SOPA Images/Sipa USA)
Former Met Commissioner Police Lord Ian Blair has also voiced concerns about the amount of violence being directed towards police in recent weeks. (PA)

On Saturday, former Metropolitan Police commissioner Lord Ian Blair said there needed to be a “public conversation” about the amount of violence being directed towards police in recent weeks.

Lord Blair told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme said: “It cannot be right that this level of injury to officers is seen as acceptable.”

He added: “This is not a normal situation where an occupation carries this sort of risk of injury every day.”

Read more: 'Brave' women protesters stand in front of Black Lives Matter crowd to stop them attacking London police

Referring to an incident during recent Black Lives Matter protests, which saw a female police officer injured when she fell from her horse, he said: “That seen as the policewoman riding her horse and being smashed against the road sign because people were so angry is just not appropriate.

“Obviously this is a matter for courts and sentencing but I also think it is actually a matter for public conversation. This should not be like this.”