With knife crime in the capital on the rise and with last year’s terrorist attacks in mind, we understand that some members of the LGBT+ community and our allies from the wider public may feel apprehensive about joining the crowds in the West End for Pride in London this Saturday. Here, Chief Superintendent Helen Millichap, police spokesperson for Pride 2018, explains how the Metropolitan Police plan to keep us safe during the celebrations this weekend.
I am so pleased to be involved for a second year as the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) spokesperson for Pride.
We understand that last year’s events in London and Manchester caused some people to worry about coming to Pride in London, and that they may still be worried about security this year.
We have been working hard with the organisers to keep Pride safe, and ensure that the day is a celebration and that everyone enjoys themselves. The style of policing for Pride is very important. We want the focus to be on this spectacular celebration of diversity, inclusivity and our wonderful city, not the policing operation.
The relationship the Met has with the organisers is well established and long standing. Our work to get ready for Pride started almost straight away after last year’s event, and together with the organisers and volunteers we have been planning meticulously for many months.
And like last year, there will be many police officers on duty, including both armed, unarmed and plain clothes officers, but that’s not because there is any specific reason to worry about Pride in London, 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.
Like last year, people will see some things that are a little different; mainly some temporary barriers to protect the route from vehicles, which we think is a very obvious precaution to take.
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.
We want people to be alert, but not alarmed. Do report anything suspicious to us, even if it might be nothing. If you come to Pride in a group, stay safe by choosing a designated meet up place to find each other if you get separated. Sometimes pickpockets can operate in large crowds and busy places, so remember to keep your valuables out of view and on you at all times.
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.