Following the terror attacks in London earlier this year, and in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing in May, we understand that some members of the LGBT+ community may feel apprehensive about joining the crowds at Pride in London on Saturday. To reassure Boyz readers, we asked Chief Superintendent Helen Millichap, police spokesperson for Pride 2017, how the Metropolitan Police plan on keeping us safe during the celebrations this weekend.
I have the enormous pleasure of being the talking head from the Metropolitan Police Service for this year’s celebration.
We understand that recent events in London and Manchester will cause some people to worry about coming to Pride in London this year. We have been working hard with the organisers to keep Pride safe, and ensure that the day is a celebration and that you enjoy yourselves.
The relationship the Met has with Pride in London’s organisers is well established and long standing. Last week the Metropolitan Police Service Commissioner, Cressida Dick, and the Gold Commander, Dave Musker – in charge of the policing operation for the day, met with members of the community to talk about the policing operation and answer questions. It was a good opportunity to discuss the event and reassure people about the policing plan. The Commissioner shared her own memories of Pride too – the first time that the Met had uniformed officers on the parade, for example.
We will have more police officers on duty this year, but that’s not because there is any specific reason to worry about Pride – it just makes sense. Also, as with any large scale event like this, there will be some police tactics in place, which you will not see, but which will be in the background to help keep the event safe and secure.
People will see some things that are a little different; mainly temporary barriers to protect the route from vehicles, which we think is a very obvious precaution to take.
At the community engagement meeting, we explained that the style of policing for Pride is very important and our overall approach is really no different from previous years; friendly and supportive.
We hope no one at Pride becomes a victim of crime, but it’s important to report it if it happens, talk to one of the officers who will be out and about on the ground or, in case of an emergency, call 999.
Hate crime can also be reported by dialling 101 in a non-emergency, directly at a police station, through the MOPAC Hate Crime app, or through community reporting methods such as Galop, Tell MAMA or the CST.
We want people to be alert, but not alarmed. Do report anything suspicious to us, even if it might be nothing.
If you are coming to celebrate Pride in London, then have a great day and don’t forget to say hello to us if you see us along the way.