News story

Update on student rally violence

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Nick Herbert has spoken to parliament about the police response to yesterday's central London protest by students leading to violence.

The policing minister today told parliament that the Metropolitan Police will carry out a thorough review of its response to yesterday’s outbreak of violence in central London.

At a peaceful demonstration by the National Union of Students, a violent faction caused significant damage to Conservative Campaign Headquarters at Millbank.

‘Yesterdays protest and the policing did not go to plan and the police will learn the lessons,’ Nick Herbert told parliament. ‘But the blame and responsibility for yesterday’s appalling scenes of violence lies squarely and solely with those who carried it out.’

Sequence of events

The police minister took the opportunity to update the house on events as they unfolded.

According to Metropolitan Police Service information:

  • the police had planned to deploy around 225 officers to the protest based on predictions by the NUS that there would be around 5,000 demonstrators
  • as the situation developed during the day - and with an estimated 15,000 demonstrators - an additional 225 officers were deployed
  • at about 1.10pm, the front of the march reached the rally point at Millbank. A group of protestors ran towards the Millbank office complex, which houses Conservative Campaign Headquarters
  • protesters stormed the building and threw missiles. Windows were broken and significant damage to the property was caused. Some managed to gain entry to the building and some got on to the roof
  • it is estimated that about 2,000 people were around Milbank, though many appeared not to be directly involved in violence
  • officers were then deployed in public order protective equipment
  • at around 3pm the police were informed that members of staff within the Millbank complex were concerned for their safety. Police advised them to stay in the building
  • by 4pm officers had located the staff members and arrangements were put in place to escort them from the building