The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has promised to shut down illegal parties after officers came under attack for a second night in London as they tried to break up crowds.
Dame Cressida Dick said the force has a “duty” to stop unlawful music events during the Covid-19 pandemic and vowed: “We will be prepared this weekend.”
Her comments come after officers sent to break up a street party in Notting Hill, west London, were pelted with objects on Thursday night.
Dame Cressida said police were on the lookout for illegal parties after violent scenes in Brixton on Wednesday evening left 22 officers injured.
The UK’s most senior officer said police “closed down several before they even got going”, but condemned violence in Colville Gardens, Notting Hill, as “completely, utterly unacceptable”.
She said: “These events are unlawful. They shouldn’t be happening and we have a duty to go and close them down and to disperse them.
“The local communities hate them, (it is) incredibly anti-social behaviour, very noisy during a pandemic and sometimes (there is) violence.
“For our officers who are simply doing their duty to be attacked is utterly unacceptable.”
Scotland Yard said extra officers in protective gear had been dispatched to illegal raves and block parties around the capital on Thursday after an event on the Angell Town estate in Brixton the night before descended into violence.
Footage on social media showed police vehicles smashed and officers pelted with bottles during clashes with a large crowd, with Downing Street condemning the scenes as “appalling”.
Dame Cressida said three officers suffered “really quite nasty injuries”, adding: “It was a really really horrible incident for them to deal with, really vicious attacks by people using bottles, glasses and anything they could pick up.”
She suggested that the number of police injuries is now “heading up to 140-odd officers” in the last three weeks, including those hurt during protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the US.
The commissioner said: “We have seen some large numbers of people completely flouting the health regulations, seeming not to care at all about their own or their families’ health and wanting to have large parties.
“It is hot. Some people have drunk far too much. Some people are just angry and aggressive and some people are plain violent.
“We will be prepared this weekend. We have officers all over London working hard again to try to keep the peace and to protect our public from violence and disorder.”
No officers were injured during the Notting Hill violence, which the commissioner described as “very unacceptable behaviour but very much less serious” than the Brixton event.
Officers also attended another party in Streatham Common.
In a message to the public, Dame Cressida said: “Tell us about unlicensed music events. We will come and close them down.
“My message to my officers is that I will support you and I will do everything I can to ensure that you are able to do your job to your best ability and that you are well equipped.”
The comments came after Home Secretary Priti Patel told the Daily Express those who attack police “will be taken off our streets”.
John Apter, the national chair of the Police Federation, has warned the Government’s announcement about loosening the lockdown on July 4 could be “a countdown to party time”.
He said: “This leads to issues that the police will have to deal with.
“Firstly, of course, there are worries about alcohol consumption leading to drunken and irresponsible behaviour, and there’s also the concern that people who can’t get into pubs because of restrictions that are still in place may cause conflict.
“This will, without doubt, add more pressure on policing, paramedics and the wider NHS.”