Met Police expresses ‘regret’ over handling of anti-monarchy protesters

Shadow levelling up secretary Lisa Nandy said that something had ‘gone wrong’ following the arrests of six anti-monarchy protesters ahead of the King’s coronation. Last night (Monday) the Met expressed ‘regret’ over the arrests which meant the demonstraters couldn’t join the wider protests during King Charles’ Coronation.

A chief inspector and two other officers personally apologised to anti-monarchy group Republic chief executive Graham Smith, he claims, over what he called a ‘disgraceful episode’. They visited Mr Smith at his home in Reading, Berkshire, last night following his nearly 16 hours in police custody, after the Republic held peaceful protests on Saturday.

Wigan MP Ms Nandy told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday morning: “Clearly, something has gone wrong in this case. Peaceful protest is an important part of British democracy. The Met accepted that and I think the Mayor of London is right to ask for a review to determine what exactly went wrong in this case.

“Whatever it was, this was a very complex policing operation. It largely went off without a hitch and I think the police deserve credit for that. But where there are incidents like this, we have to take them seriously and I think that it’s right that we learn the lessons and take steps to rectify that.”

On the use of powers under the controversial Public Order Act, she said: “It’s not clear in this case whether the problem is with the legislation, or whether the problem is more operational and a matter for the police.”

In a statement on Monday night Met Police said: “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.

“This evening, 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 force had said it had arrested the group using new powers under the much-criticised Public Order Act, but it was determined items found alongside a large number of placards could not be used as ‘lock-on devices’ to cause disruption.

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