WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
July 23 2024
WE ARE A MAGAZINE ABOUT LAW AND JUSTICE | AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TWO
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Metropolitan police “regret” coronation arrests

Metropolitan police “regret” coronation arrests

Emergency lights, Etolane, Flickr under Creative Comms,

The Metropolitan police made a total of 64 arrests as part of the policing operation for the King’s coronation on Saturday. In a tweet days before the event, the Met clarified their approach by stating that their ‘tolerance for any disruption, whether through protest or otherwise, will be low.’ Justifying the arrests made, the Met in another tweet stated that they ‘police proportionately and in the context of the event. [The coronation] is a once in a generation moment and that has been a key consideration.’

Some people arrested were volunteer members of the City of Westminster’s Night Safety team who were in possession of rape alarms. The Met explained their position by stating that they ‘received intelligence that indicated people were planning to use rape alarms to disrupt the Coronation procession – with concern from the military that this would scare their horses and cause significant risk to the safety of the public and their riders.’

The arrests the Met “regretted” were of six members of the anti-monarchy group Republic. The members were unloading placards from a van, when they were “immediately descended upon by a large number” of officers who detained them, searched the van, and arrested them under suspicion of going equipped to lock on, said Graham Smith, chief executive of the group. The arrested individuals were held for 16 hours before being released.

The offence of “going equipped to lock on” is a new offence under the Public Order Act 2023 which commenced on 3rd May this year possibly in anticipation of the coronation. Lawyer and blogger Joshua Rozenberg recently provided an analysis of the new offence and its context, explaining possible ramifications of the speedily enacted legislation.

The group, in the four months leading up to the day, were in “close conversation” with the Met explaining their intentions and every detail of their protest plan. The group “were very clear” with the Met, and the Met ‘repeatedly said…that they had no concerns about our protest plans, they are well aware of what we were going to do, and that they will engage with us and not disrupt us. They have repeatedly lied about their intentions, and I believe they had every intention of arresting us prior to doing so,’ Mr Smith stated.

‘It was not clear at the time that at least one of the group stopped had been engaging with police Protest Liaison Team officers ahead of the event. The Protest Liaison Team were not the arresting officers nor were they present in St Martin’s Lane at the time of the arrest.’

‘Those arrested stated the items would be used to secure their placards, and the investigation has been unable to prove intent to use them to lock on and disrupt the event… All six have had their bail cancelled and no further action will be taken. We regret that those six people arrested were unable to join the wider group of protesters in Trafalgar Square and elsewhere on the procession route,’ the Met stated.

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