- June 1, 2012
Sussex Police has cancelled leave and called in back up from other forces to cope with a packed bank holiday weekend in Brighton and Hove.
Protests, street parties to celebrate the Queen’s diamond jubilee, a carnival and the first two stadium gigs at the Amex in Falmer are among the events that have been planned.
English nationalists are planning to gather in Brighton tomorrow (Saturday 2 June) and UK Uncut is holding an anti-jubilee street party, also tomorrow.
Smash EDO is planning a march through the centre of Brighton and Hove on Monday (4 June).
And today (Friday 1 June) and tomorrow Fat Boy Slim is playing two gigs at the Amex Stadium at Falmer, with the railway station there being partially closed for safety reasons.
The Hove Lions Carnival takes place on Monday. It usually attracts about 10,000 people to Hove Park but has not traditionally required a noticeable police presence.
Many other smaller events are taking place including dozens of jubilee street parties with several roads closing.
Chief Superintendent Graham Bartlett, the Brighton and Hove divisional police commander, said: “Whether you’re heading to the Amex, attending one of the events in the city centre, live or work in Brighton and Hove, or are visiting for other reasons, I want to assure you’re that we’ve thoroughly planned for this weekend.
“It will be busy but I want to express that it will be very much business as usual.
“We are working closely with partner agencies and local businesses, particularly transport companies, to make sure everyone can have an enjoyable time in the city and make the most of everything it has to offer over this four-day weekend.
“You will see additional police officers, particularly in the city centre on Saturday and Monday, including roads policing officers to help minimise any delays and mounted officers who are highly visible in crowds.
“We will be assisted by some officers from other forces, allowing us to provide our usual emergency response across Sussex, with enough officers to meet the policing needs of the larger events in the city and to help to keep the many thousands of locals and additional bank holiday visitors safe.
“During some points over the weekend it is likely there will be temporary disruption, dependent on the exact activities during the planned events and the numbers who take part.
“Most of the groups planning activity in the city centre over the weekend have been in contact, although some have not made exact plans or shared them with us.
“It is not too late for anyone who hasn’t been in contact to do so.
“During events, liaison officers will be embedded with those taking part in marches, protests or similar activity.
“They are clearly identifiable by their bright orange tabards, rather than the yellow ones worn by other officers.
“Their aims on the day are to continue this open dialogue with those involved, to understand if their plans change, update them on the policing plans for the event and explain any police action being taken.
“This supplements the information we already share publicly with residents, businesses and others in the city.
“Sussex Police welcomes and supports the right to free speech and always seeks to facilitate groups who want to express their views in the city in a peaceful way.
“Our new protest liaison approach will help us do exactly that.
“However, we also make it clear that crime, disorder or violence within or between groups will not be tolerated and if it does occur we are ready to provide a proportionate and effective response.”
English nationalist groups have indicated their intention to meet in the centre of Brighton tomorrow.
Sussex Police said that representatives of most of the groups had been in touch and said that they do not plan to hold specific marches or a rally, but to meet and socialise around the city.
Also tomorrow UK Uncut has used Facebook to organise an anti-jubilee street party meeting at the Clock Tower in Brighton at noon.
The organisers said that more than 500 people were expected at the street party which may move to other streets.
Sussex Police warned of some possible disruption in the city centre which officers expect will be noisy but peaceful.
The Smash EDO protest on Monday is expected to start outside Barclays Bank in North Street at noon. Protesters have said on websites that they intend to march to Hove Town Hall to present a petition.