Wednesday, 3 June 2020

We have just received this update from Hampstead SNT.

I thought you might be interested to see our sergeant’s update on the disturbance on Hampstead Heath yesterday evening. This was a much nastier incident than I’d understood initially and I didn’t appreciate the extent of the disorder until I read John’s update.  John was one of the first officer’s on scene with other SNT officers. When the crowd turned on them they had to call for back up, involving around 30 officers, some of whom were called in from other areas.  I understand it took about an hour and a half to restore order. John himself was injured but thankfully not badly and he is back on duty today, having been on shift until 4.00 this morning. 

Sergeant's report.

We are aware that there has been a lot of media attention relating to an incident that occurred yesterday evening on Hampstead Heath. We would like to provide further details relating to this incident and the subsequent five arrests made. 
Police were made aware at 1800pm of a large group of approximately 150 young people gathered on Parliament Hill Fields. Our initial concerns were non-adherence to social distancing guidelines. A number of individuals within the group were consuming alcohol. A small group of officers attended to engage with the group. During this initial attendance, a robbery was reported and an allegation made that individuals within the larger group had stolen an electric scooter.  A suspect was detained but officers asked for further police support due to the number of young people present and the increasingly hostile and obstructive behaviour displayed by some members of the larger group.
Officers arrived to assist and while monitoring the crowd at a short distance, a fight broke out among a small group of young females. Several individuals were seen throwing punches, kicking parties on the ground, and pulling hair aggressively. Officers intervened immediately, but became surrounded and faced a difficult challenge in calming the crowd. A number of other fights erupted within the large crowd despite police intervention. Officers requested further support. 
While the aggressive and violent behaviour began amongst themselves, many members of the group became hostile and aggressive to officers that were trying to prevent further violence. Five police officers were assaulted including being slapped, punched, pushed and spat on. Officers on scene who arrived to help used reasonable and proportionate force to try and prevent crowding and a further breach of the peace. 
In total, five young people were arrested for the following offences – four for assaulting an emergency worker and one for failing to leave a dispersal zone.  
Three females and one male were charged. They will appear in court for assaulting police & common assault at a later date.  A young male was released under investigation. 
We would urge young people and their parents or guardians to remember there is still a requirement to adhere to social distancing, not to gather in a group of more than 6 people not from your household.
Hampstead Heath is a welcoming open space for local residents and visitors. This will not change. 
For those engaging in anti-social and violent behaviour in our community, it will not be tolerated. Do not engage in violent behaviour towards one another. Do not engage in violent behaviour towards emergency workers, it is not acceptable.

Hampstead, 3rd June 2020.

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