One of Britain’s most senior police officers has called on climate change protesters to “behave like adults” and stop going floppy when they face arrest.
Sir Steve House told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that tactics used by Extinction Rebellion (XR) are “a flipping nuisance” and “a complete pain in the neck”.
Some demonstrators use a tactic where they deliberately go limp when officers attempt to make an arrest, meaning that four or five people are required to carry them off.
Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve told the committee: “We have asked them to stop being floppy. It might seem like a silly thing to say, but when we arrest them and pick them up they go all floppy, which is why you see four or five officers carrying them away.
“It’s a complete waste of officers’ time, and a complete pain in the neck. If they could just behave like sensible adults – you’ve made your point, you wanted to be arrested, you’ve been arrested, get up and walk away with one officer and stop wasting police time.
“This is a real issue, and they will not do it, and it is a flipping nuisance.”
XR held 10 days of protest in central London at the start of September, with the latest figures from the Met showing that 680 people had been arrested.
These were for alleged offences including obstructing the highway, criminal damage and breaching the legal conditions set on the demonstration.
Sir Steve went on: “The problem with them going floppy and four officers carrying them away is that it looks to the general public like the police are overreacting here.
“We’re not making them go floppy – they’re just being a nuisance.”