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Home Breaking London welcomed in 2023 in safety and security thanks to the efforts of thousands of police officers and their emergency services colleagues

London welcomed in 2023 in safety and security thanks to the efforts of thousands of police officers and their emergency services colleagues

After two years where Covid made it necessary for the crowds to stay at home, the centre of the city was once again very busy. A significant multi-agency policing and security operation was in place to ensure that everyone could feel safe and enjoy the experience. It was the culmination of extensive planning by Met officers in collaboration with emergency services partners, the Mayor of London’s office, Transport for London and the event management and stewarding teams. Over the course of the evening, eight people were arrested in the central London area: 2 x drunk and disorderly 1 x drink driving 1 x sexual assault 1 x possession of an offensive weapon 1 x assault on an emergency worker 1 x common assault and possession of cannabis 1 x assault on an emergency worker and handling stolen goods The individual arrested for sexual assault, a 31-year-old man, was wanted by the British Transport Police for five alleged indecent assaults against women. He was arrested by officers during proactive patrols of the South Bank ahead of the New Year’s Eve event. The two officers who were assaulted sustained minor injuries and will receive the appropriate support. As in previous years, the main attraction was the Mayor of London’s fireworks which was a sold out all-ticketed event. Gates opened at 20:00hrs and there were no reports of any significant incidents for the first three hours. From around 23:15hrs until midnight, however, there were a number of incidents where groups of people without tickets forced their way past hoardings and fencing. Officers worked quickly in challenging circumstances to support stewards in an effort to prevent crowds getting into the ticketed area and to maintain the safety and security of those already inside. At the junction of Storey’s Gate and Victoria Street, they had to draw their batons when a small but determined group who had pushed down fence panels in an attempt to get in became aggressive towards stewards and officers. A small number of people were treated for minor injuries. While the focus was on events in central London, thousands more officers were on duty through the night in all 32 boroughs, keeping communities safe and responding to any incidents. Among them were volunteer Special Constables who make an invaluable contribution to policing all year round, but in particular on nights like New Year’s Eve when there is an even greater demand on the police and the emergency services.

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