London

Met Police 'building relationships' over illegal street parties

Angell Town Image copyright Snapchat
Image caption Unlicensed street parties have been held across London in recent weeks

Police are "building relationships" with communities after more illegal street parties were held in London, the Metropolitan Police has said.

Met Commander Bas Javid said the majority of interactions with the police at events had been "positive".

Seven people were arrested for offences including firearm and knife possession following unlicensed music events held on Friday.

Two police officers sustained injuries but did not need hospital treatment.

Two people were arrested at a party in Newham, one on suspicion of possession of a firearm and another on suspicion of having a "Rambo-style" knife. Both remain in police custody.

'Relaxed vibe'

Elsewhere in the capital, officers broke up an event on Harrow Road, Kensal Town, on Friday following complaints from residents.

A group then moved on to nearby Maida Vale and did not disperse until after midnight.

Three were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder, breach of Covid-19 health regulations and racially aggravated public disorder towards officers.

Two other people were arrested at the same event, one for throwing a bar stool at an officer, who was uninjured, and the other for racially abusing an officer.

Image caption Objects were thrown at officers as they tried to disperse crowds in Notting Hill

Police have been called to illegal street parties across London in the past month.

On Wednesday, more than 20 police officers were injured during clashes at an illegal street party in Brixton and on Thursday night, officers were pelted with objects while trying to disperse a party in Notting Hill.

Mr Javid said officers were "doing a very good job in some difficult circumstances".

He told BBC Breakfast: "The first line is engagement and building relationships, and you don't do that by walking into every situation with riot helmets and shields.

"We need to build relationships, we need to make sure we engage effectively with communities and we're only as good or as effective as our relationship with those communities. "

Image caption Met Commander Bas Javid said it was about the impact the street parties were having on communities

Mr Javid added: "We're not going to arrest our way out of the situations like this, but what I can be clear about is if these situations do descend into chaos and violence and disorder, which is completely unacceptable, we will take a much more thorough and robust position.

"It's the communities that are very, very upset by this, as much as the police are. This is much more about the impact it's having on those communities that these people live in."

'Plain violent'

The Met Police said unlicensed music events were organised gatherings which was covered by different legislation to people not socially distancing in parks.

Met Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said the force had a "duty" to stop unlawful music events during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said the number of police injured was now "heading up to 140-odd officers" in the past three weeks, including those hurt during protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.

Ms Dick said: "We have seen some large numbers of people completely flouting the health regulations, seeming not to care at all about their own or their families' health and wanting to have large parties.

"It is hot. Some people have drunk far too much. Some people are just angry and aggressive and some people are plain violent."

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