Sadiq Khan grilled on police funding by Susan Hall
Sir Mark Rowley, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, has warned that his force will not be able to properly police large parts of London because of the anti-Israel protests.
With plans for a million-person march for Palestine on Remembrance Day, Sir Mark conceded that it was now going to become a regular issue.
He said: “I am deeply concerned about the effect that has on day-to-day local policing and the balance of that across London.
“Clearly we cannot let these protests get out of hand but it is creating significant stretch.”
He said that the Met would need to request help from other forces especially as Just Stop Oil have begun a series of protests again as well.
He said: “The stretch is now beyond the individual cases. Doing these as one-offs or two-offs is one matter but this looks like it is going to be a rolling sustained pattern. More protests this weekend and next weekend etc and we are starting to look at what help we can get from other forces.”
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The issue of protests getting out of control was raised when the Government pushed through legislation earlier this year to enable the authorities to tackle them more easily.
The police chief joined London’s Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan at a tense session with the Greater London Assembly (GLA) to discuss policing issues and the impact of the mass protests over the Israel-Gaza crisis.
The session saw Sir Mark and Mr Khan demand more public cash for policing but resulted in a clash between the Labour Mayor and his Tory opponent next year Susan Hall over how he had been responsible for problems in policing for seven years.
Sir Mark told the GLA that the first protest in support of Gaza had seen 1,000 police officers and specialists needed.
He claimed this increased to 1,500 the next weekend and 2,000 the following one.
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The Met arrested 60 on Monday and 40 on Tuesday in relation to Just Stop Oil.
His concerns have linked in with fears over plans by protesters to disrupt Remembrance weekend.
Already pro-Palestinian demonstrations have seen glorification of the terrorist atrocities committed by Hamas on October 7 where more than 1,400 innocent civilians were murdered including children burnt to death.
Tory GLA member and London Mayor candidate Susan Hall raised questions about the rise of antisemitism as a result of the policing.
She told Sir Mark: “In the real world Jews in London are genuinely afraid.”
She also questioned why police have been seen taking down posters of children kidnapped by Hamas.
Rowley claimed it only happened once in a venue where a Palestinian worked.
Meanwhile, Ms Hall also clashed with Sadiq Khan after he claimed that it was “austerity” at the heart of policing problems.
She retorted: “We would all like more money but you have been policing commissioner for London for seven years. You are responsible.”
She noted he had a £21billion budget which could be put to better use.
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