Public should ‘get involved’ to help officers under attack, says Met Police chief
Britain’s most senior police officer has encouraged members of the public to “get involved” to help officers who are being beaten up.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, told LBC that people filming such attacks on police was “absolutely awful” and they should help instead.
“I think I want to live in a society – and I think I do live in a society – where people are active citizens,” she said.
“People stand up and say ‘that’s not right, don’t do that’ and on occasion, if they feel able, get involved and do something physical.
“You have to look at the circumstances.
“If there’s a man pointing a gun at you we don’t want you running at the man pointing the gun, that would be crazy.
“If you see an officer getting a kicking and you feel able to assist, absolutely I want my public getting involved, and we see people getting involved, including in some of those videos.
“We don’t want people taking crazy risks, we do want people getting involved.”
Last month, a video emerged of two officers being attacked in Merton, south London, which was shared thousands of times online when a driver stopped to film the incident.
He posted it with the caption “south London at night… lol”.
Ms Dick said: “Officers getting assaulted and people thinking that’s funny and putting it on the internet – I think that’s disgusting.”
The two officers involved in the incident had stopped a car and were attempting to arrest three occupants.
One officer ended up being dragged into the road while another was kicked in the chest, landing close to a moving bus. They were able to arrest one man with the help of a passing motorcyclist.
The male officer suffered cuts and the female officer had head injuries.
The incident led to warnings that police officers may have to let violent suspects go in circumstances where they cannot detain them alone.
Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation, said: “We don’t come to work to get assaulted, and if we’re not going to be backed up in what we’re doing then what is the point?”
In her interview, Ms Dick also said violent crime was decreasing in London but admitted the numbers did not show “huge changes”.
She said: “After three years of knife crime increasing, gun crime increasing, they are now not just levelling off but beginning to come down.
“I think we are suppressing it.”
Met Police figures released this week show there were 176 fewer victims of knife crime aged under 25 who suffered injuries between September, October and November compared with last year.