Agenda item

Questions on matters relating to the work of the Board


Facilitation of Protests outside the Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey)

A Member was heard regarding his concern, and concerns expressed to him by local businesses and stakeholders, regarding the perceived facilitation of a protest by supporters of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon outside the Central Criminal Court, specifically the parking of a double-decker bus outside the court building and, on a previous occasion, the erection of a speaking platform. The Member questioned whether these measures were necessary. Reference was made to a recent resolution on the issue arising from the Policy and Resources Committee.


The Commissioner was heard in reply, noting that the approach taken to the recent protest involving Stephen Yaxley-Lennon had allowed business to continue within the Court building, which had been a key policing objective. The Commissioner was not aware of any specific complaints being made to the City of London Police but accepted that the protest had proved disruptive to the immediate area outside the court building. The Commissioner noted that any plan for policing a protest had to be objective and could not be informed by a subjective view of a person’s politics.


The Commissioner concluded by noting that the decision to licence the speaking stage had been one made by the local authority, and that decision was informed by the assessment of threat/risk arising from the protest. There was a case to be made that the risk of disorder was minimised through policing the protestors in a specific area where they wished to congregate. With that in mind, it should be noted that the displacement of the double decker bus away from the court building had a negative impact on the flow of traffic along Lower Thames Street.


The T/Commander (Operations) added that the policing plan for the Old Bailey had been informed by views of persons at the court building, including judges that were not in court.


Facial Recognition Trial

In response to a question on whether the Force planned to trail facial recognition technology, the Commissioner confirmed that the technology was available but a debate over its employment was necessary prior to any trial being conducted.