London police use dispersal powers against alcohol offences and unlicensed events

London police use dispersal powers against alcohol offences and unlicensed events

City of London Police declared a dispersal zone yesterday evening following what they described as “a recent prevalence of alcohol-related offences” in the Square Mile.

The use of the legal power, which enables police to order people who are engaged in or seem likely to engage in anti-social behaviour to leave a specified area, was in place until 4:00 this morning.

The announcement about the zone on Twitter was accompanied by City Police saying “we welcome people visiting bars and pubs in the Square Mile, but it’s your responsibility to know your limits and enjoy alcohol sensibly”.

Dispersal zones were also declared last night by Metropolitan Police in Brent and Kensington & Chelsea, in response to unlicensed music events.

Brent police reported yesterday evening that they were aware of one “on the south Kilburn estate” and that officers were “attending and working to close it down”. Dispersal zones were brought in “in the areas of Kilburn and Queens Park wards“.

Brent Central MP Dawn Butler referred on Twitter to “quite a large party” in Kilburn and wrote, “It would be great if it would end now before it gets out of hand”. Butler also said she understood “there are a few parties happening in Brent at the moment”.

Kensington & Chelsea police placed its dispersal zone in the Portobello Road area and warned people not to attend and that if they did they could be moved on or arrested. Photo footage shows a crowd of people drinking and dancing in the streets.

Local resident Oliver Gerrish complained of “people defecating, taking cocaine, shouting and swearing – and in their hundreds. This is Portobello Road – our home – at this time of national crisis…We can’t leave our door on Friday or Saturday evenings without feeling we live by an open sewer”.

Dispersal zones were also imposed by Lambeth police on the South Bank, Brixton town centre, the Brunswick Park area and Clapham High Street, apparently all in relation to music events. Southwark police did the same in the area of Borough Market and the Brandon Estate in Kennington.

On Friday night, City officers assisted Metropolitan Police colleagues with breaking up an unlicensed music event in the Manor House area by Finsbury Park. At that incident (pictured) officers in riot gear broke up the crowd and had objects thrown at them.

In a statement issued last night, deputy assistant commissioner Lucy D’Orsi said police had received “upwards of 30 calls from residents of the Woodberry Down estate” seeking assistance “after they witnessed 200/300 youths fighting and smashing up property”.

D’Orsi also said: “Despite asking people not to organise unlicensed music events because of the high risk of violence and the public health risk of COVID-19, they regrettably did take place across the capital. To ensure we were in a position to deal with this upwards of 600 officers were taken away from local boroughs to be available.”

The image is a still from footage of the Manor House incident taken with an officer’s body-worn camera and released by the Met. 

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