< Back to 68k.news UK front page

Police boss denies Just Stop Oil 'outsmart' PCs who can't 'just drag people'

Original source (on modern site) | Article images: [1]

Police are "not being outsmarted" by Just Stop Oil activists, according to a senior police officer overseeing the £3.5million operation to tackle protests. Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist told MyLondon the environmental activist's group refusal to engage with police and ability to disrupt anywhere in London meant it takes "some time" to get there before they can intervene.

AC Twist said: "Just Stop Oil don't engage with police as normal protest groups would. Because we don't know where they are going to be it takes some time to get there. What we do ask is members of the public to call us as soon as they see Just Stop Oil activists stepping into the road."

His comments come on the fifth week of action by the controversial climate protest group who have been slow marching on roads across the capital as they demand an end to all new oil and gas. On Thursday (May 25) three activists were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after throwing paint on displays at the Chelsea Flower Show in West London.

READ MORE: Chelsea Flower Show targeted by Just Stop Oil activists as they cover plants and flowers in orange paint

Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist denied police were being outwitted by protesters (Image: Holly Evans/MyLondon)

Despite the slow marches often being halted in minutes with use of a Section 12 order, there is still frustration among some members of the public at JSO's disruptive powers. But AC Twist rejected claims JSO are stealing a march on the force, telling MyLondon: "We are not being outsmarted by them. But London is a big place and they go where they want.

"They are spreading across the whole of London which makes the operation more challenging. When we do get there we have to assess the situation. It's an over simplification to say we can just drag people out the road."

As anger among waiting drivers boils over, protesters have now come under attack twice in less than a week. On Mansell Street near the Tower of London last Friday (May 19), a man was filmed pulling banners from protesters, launching a woman onto the floor, and then grabbing a man's mobile phone before flinging it across the street. The Metropolitan Police say the man was not arrested after no complaint was received.

A Just Stop Oil protester was sent flying by the angry bystander (Image: JSO)

A near identical incident happened on Blackfriars Bridge on Tuesday (May 23) when a builder launched a protester at the feet of police officers, then grabbed another around the neck. Police arrested the man at the scene, but he has since been de-arrested and his details were taken.

The Metropolitan Police has already urged people not to intervene after the incidents highlighted growing frustration among Londoners trying to get to work. Commenting on the incidents, AC Twist added: "People risk getting themselves into trouble if they start manhandling people and trying to drag them themselves off the road."

More than 80 Just Stop Oil marches in five weeks have cost the Met over £3,530,000 and nearly 11,000 officer shifts. It has led to nearly 50 arrests and over 20 charged. A spokesperson for the force added: "These are resources that would otherwise have been deployed across London tackling more conventional policing priorities."

Got a crime story? Please email callum.cuddeford@reachplc.com or WhatsApp 07580255582

Don't miss out on the latest crime stories from across London. Sign up to MyLondon's Court & Crime newsletter HERE.


Story Saved

You can find this story in  My Bookmarks.Or by navigating to the user icon in the top right.

< Back to 68k.news UK front page