A community panel discussion and Q&A was held yesterday to reassure the LGBT+ community on security arrangements for Pride in London with members of the Metropolitan Police
A full joint statement on security had been previously issued on 10 June.
Key points include:
- There is no specific intelligence of a threat to Pride in London at this time
- A full security review of police arrangements for Pride in London has been undertaken in close partnership between the Metropolitan Police, Pride in London and associated agencies
- Various measures including concrete blocks are being deployed to prevent a vehicle entering the event footprint
- There will be a more visible uniform police presence at key locations of the Pride footprint
The panel discussion which can be viewed in its entirety online, was made up of Pride in London’s Operations Director Siobhan Linard and Co-Chair and Marketing Director Alison Camps as well as the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick CBE QPM and Gold Commander David Musker.
Opening the discussion, Pride in London Co-Chair Alison Camps praised the Metropolitan Police for their support of Pride in London before outlining recent hate crime statistics revealed recently.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, said:
“We love the fact that there is such a powerful and joyous occasion in London every year – we obviously can't have favourites amongst our events… but it is absolutely the case that…we love Pride too.
“We are anticipating that we will have a big, secure and safe and very happy Pride this year.
“We will be doing everything in our power to ensure that our part in that is played effectively…and I am confident of that.”
Metropolitan Police Gold Commander David Musker, outlined security plans:
“Pride is a celebration. It’s not a policing operation. So, we need to maintain that balance between having an effective and robust operation around policing, making sure that Pride is what it’s supposed to be – a celebration of London, of diversity and of LGBT+. And that’s why we have a close working relationship with the Pride organiser’s committee and also Underbelly so that we’re supportive rather than taking over the event”
“There is no specific intelligence with respect to the threat to Pride at this time. However, the last three, four months have been a very difficult and challenging time for London. So, we will police this event within the context of the last three of four months”
“I have initiated a full security review of the policing arrangements for Pride in 2017. I can’t publicly discuss those arrangements that will not be visible to the public. But they are in place.
“I was Gold [Commander] for the State Opening of Parliament yesterday. The sort of things we put in place for the major ceremonial events, we will put in place for Pride. So, we have an effective, robust, but in the background security and policing regime that will allow Pride to take place in a safe and secure environment.
“However, there will be some things that you will see that I don’t want you to be surprised about. There will be more uniformed ‘cops’. Certainly, at the form up points, Trafalgar Square and also Leicester Square.
“When people who are intending to start in the Parade, there will be an accreditation regime. If you’re getting on Regent Street, we want to be sure that you’re there for the right reasons. We’ll be working with Underbelly to make sure that people get on the route and are there for the right reasons.
“Lastly, the bit that you will see, will be what we call ‘hostile vehicle mitigation’, those big concrete ‘ugly’ blocks will be put in various locations across the footprint [of the event]. The objective of that is to stop somebody with a vehicle getting at pace and entering Regent Street or in to the main event.
“The options that we have are scalable. So, if we need to do more overt policing activity, we will work with Pride to do that. At the moment, with what I know, from the reviews that I’ve done, I’m confident we have a robust and effective plan for Pride to be delivered in a way that we want it to be delivered.
“Hopefully the only thing you’ll see is happy smiling ‘cops’. All the other measures that I’ve got will be in the background and you won’t see them. But rest assured they are there. It is practiced. We do know what we’re doing and if necessary, we have deployment. And as the boss said, policing is there to make Pride a safe event.”
Siobhan Linard, Operations Director for Pride in London, wrapped up the discussion:
“I’m Siobhan, the Operations Director and what that means is three things. It’s the year-round planning of the event, the on-the-day execution, and it’s that post event de-brief where we start again immediately planning for the next year.
“The police support us in all of those elements. We have monthly meetings with all the agencies, the Police, Westminster, Underbelly our production partner, The Mayor’s office, TfL, all those great people that keep London running on a normal day. We also do detailed reviews in the short term, and in the real run-up to the event, we ramp those up as we have done.”
Siobhan went on to describe how planning involves vehicle accreditation, table top exercises where plans are stress tested, briefing of stewards: both paid and volunteers.
Siobhan concluded by re-iterating that plans are in place year round – security is taken importantly and that she is confident of the measures in place with support from the agencies.