Met Police guides officers on conduct for climate protests

The Met Police has drafted in 200 extra officers to help cover the Climate Camp protests, but has stepped up efforts to guide staff on conduct following the G20 protests.

Up to 3,000 protesters were expected to attend the week-long Climate Camp, starting today.

The Met Police said a total of 500 officers will police the event each day, with 200 Territorial Support Group officers – specifically trained in crowd control – drafted in to help from other forces in Kent, North Wales, West Mercia and Cheshire.

Assistant commissioner Chris Allison said the combination of the Climate Camp and Notting Hill Carnival happening on the same weekend had left the staffing “barrel empty”, so the force had no option but to draft in extra support.

He said: “We got to the stage where we had to do that [draft in extra officers], because Carnival in effect uses all of our asset. We still have to police the rest of London, so with 11,000 officer days at Carnival, the rest of London being policed, in effect the barrel’s empty.”

Following the public scrutiny of police tactics used at the G20 protests last April, and with Climate Camp protesters reported to be wearing CCTV cameras, the Met Police has issued officers with guidance about how to conduct themselves during the protests.

A spokesman added: “There’s been guidance given reminding people what their responsibilities are in terms of how the Met is perceived and how they deal with members of the public.”

He said although holiday leave has not been formally rejected, some applications could have been declined because of the strain on resources this weekend.

“This weekend will be exceptionally busy with the Climate Camp, football games and the Notting Hill Carnival, so applications [for holiday] may have been declined, but there has not been a formal announcement that they can’t take holiday,” he said.

A small protest took place outside the European Climate Exchange in Bishopsgate this morning when 20 people unfurled a banner, but the police said they were not expecting the violence seen during the G20 protests.

The spokesman said: “We are taking a stand-off approach at the moment. The organisers have been highly secretive about their plans so it’s just a case of responding to what they do.”

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