As you maybe aware Trevor Merralls and I were asked to attend an urgent meeting at New Scotland Yard this afternoon to discuss the forthcoming Windsor House demo.
On Wednesday afternoon the Met agreed we could have 90 minutes, utilising the two eastbound carriageways of Victoria St, the focus being on Windsor House.
Our Campaigns Officer accepted this time limit even though he had requested 120 minutes.
Late yesterday afternoon , October 1st, he received a call from the Met informing him that actually we could now have only 60 mins. Trevor refused this 30 minute reduction explaining that 90 mins had been agreed already
After the Met had discussed our displeasure and refusal to accept 1 hour, they then offered 60 minutes but with all 4 carriageways given to us. In effect all of Victoria St.
We told them that we were still not happy at this last minute time restriction, we would discuss it in committee and ring them this morning with a decision.
After a COM meeting Trevor was asked if we may have 1 hr 15 min compromise the Met said they would let us know asap..
At 11;30 am today ,Trevor and ' one other ' COM member was summoned to the Yard for a meeting 13:30; the Met even offered to "go and get him".
As soon as we sat down ,Chief Inspector Mark Chatfield invited us to call off Mondays action completely as our last two demos had been so successful in terms sheer numbers that the disruption caused was more than they could have envisaged.
PC Keith Leahys words were " You are victims of your own success" and the Police needed breathing space before our next action.
This request was flatly refused.
We were then told ," In that case you can have 30 minutes but in only the two eastbound carriageways of Victoria St.
Again we refused as we found it Draconian. They then said we would be served a Section 12 Public Order document Order placing severe restrictions on us ,if we did not accept it.
After a conference call with our committee we said, as our demos are about Enforcing the Law, we would be willing to call them off if the Met would give us 10 police officers and a small TFL compliance team on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday night for a few weeks, along with a UCG committee member who could highlight the touting activity hotspots. The officers could then investigate, question and if neccessay arrest touts.
After a long period, we were told they could not guaranteed this, but they would arrange a meeting with senior enforcement officers and the Head of the Mets cab enforcement, to discuss a 'strategy' and also make our concerns known to TFL !
As a mark of good faith, we then offered to postpone Monday's action, but ONLY (pending the meeting) if they would supply 4 PCs who could act when shown the real tout spots and not the photo opportunity Operation Neon nonsense.
Surprisingly the Chef Inspector said he could not get 4 Constables from Scotland Yard, without primary meetings.
We refused to put faith in meetings which promised nothing and subsequently have been served under Section 12 (3) Public Order Act 1986.
The restriction put upon all attendees will be made clear by us and the Met and we ask, as always, that all drivers abide by them and comply with requests of Liaison and Police officers on the day.
THE DEMO IS STILL GOING AHEAD:
We have been informed that we must return to the Yard on Tuesday, to discuss what the Met refer to as " your 3 huge demos "
Please support us in our continued fight.
We will update you all constantly.
Many thanks guys and girls.
We hope all orgs will now support us as it becomes clear the " stop the demo " order is coming from the very top.