Almost 2,000 Met officers to be on duty in central London over weekend

Officers have policed several pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks (Jordan Pettitt/PA)
Officers have policed several pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks (Jordan Pettitt/PA) Officers have policed several pro-Palestinian protests in recent weeks (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

Almost 2,000 Metropolitan Police officers will be on duty in central London over the weekend, as the force prepares for Armistice and pro-Palestinian events.

The force said officers from other UK forces would also be on duty in the capital as part of a major policing operation.

It added that while large security operations happen annually for Remembrance weekend, “this year’s is far greater and more complex than we’ve delivered before.”

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected take to the streets of London for a pro-Palestinian march organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign on Saturday.

Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley resisted pressure from senior Tories to ban the demonstration in the capital, prompting Home Secretary Suella Braverman to write an article for the Times which made allegations of police bias over the protests.

The Met said: “We know the cumulative impact continued protest, increasing tensions and rising hate crimes are having across London, and the fear and anxiety our Jewish communities in particular are feeling.

“They have a right to feel safe in their city, knowing know they can travel across London without feeling afraid of intimidation or harassment.”

The number of officers on duty in London will be double the usual amount, with 1,850 officers on Saturday and 1,375 on Sunday.

More than 100 arrests for offences including supporting proscribed organisations and serious hate crime have been made over the last four major Palestinian protests, the force said.

Israel-Hamas conflict
Israel-Hamas conflict Pro-Palestinian protesters held a rally in Trafalgar Square last weekend (Victoria Jones/PA)

An exclusion zone will be put in place using metal barriers covering Whitehall, Horse Guards Parade, the Westminster Abbey Field of Remembrance and other relevant areas, to prevent those on the march from entering the locations.

The Cenotaph will also have a dedicated 24-hour police presence which will remain in place until the conclusion of Remembrance events on Sunday.

The Met said the march and all speeches must end at 5pm, and a Section 60 and 60AA power will be in place covering Westminster and parts of Wandsworth and Lambeth between 10am on Saturday and 1am on Sunday.

This provides officers with additional powers to search anyone in the area for weapons, and requires people in the area to remove face coverings that are believed to be concealing their identity.

A dispersal zone will be in place covering key central London locations including Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus.