Prepare for more disorder says Met chief

Police must prepare for more lawless demonstrations because the "game has changed", Britain's most senior officer said today.

Sir Paul Stephenson said his officers failed to correctly assess the mood of protesters in a new political climate before the Millbank riot two weeks ago.



But the Metropolitan Police boss said they did not make that mistake yesterday as clashes once again marred a mass march against rising student tuition fees.



The London force deployed more than 800 officers, almost four times as many as on November 10, as police prepared for a fresh wave of violence and disorder.



Potential targets for occupation, including the headquarters of the Liberal Democrats, were encircled by officers as reserves surrounded Trafalgar Square.



Speaking at a meeting of the Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) at City Hall, Sir Paul said the "likelihood is for more disorder on our streets".



He said: "We have been going through a period where we have not seen that sort of violent disorder.



"We had dealt with student organisers before and I think we based it too much on history. If we follow an intelligence-based model that stops you doing that.



"Obviously you realise the game has changed. Regrettably, the game has changed and we must act."



The senior officer defended the decision to "kettle" thousands of protesters, including many school pupils, in Whitehall, close to the entrance to Downing Street.



He said when several large-scale marches linked up in Whitehall police wanted to stop them getting into Parliament Square and beyond.



The meeting heard a smaller group of known troublemakers tried and failed to target the Lib Dem Cowley Street headquarters earlier in the day.



Sir Paul said in recent years the Met has been reducing the numbers of officers and other resources deployed to tackle demonstrations.



He said: "Regrettably we are going to have to review that. We are going to have to take a more cautious approach."



Speaking about the clashes yesterday, Sir Paul said: "The bottom line is we did not get it right two weeks ago and in my opinion we did get it right yesterday.



"We did put an enormous amount more assets out yesterday but we did get it right."







Sir Paul said out of the 35 people arrested yesterday, nine were held for vandalising and looting a police carrier left stranded in the centre of Whitehall.



He added that seven officers were injured, including a woman who suffered a broken bone in her hand and a man with "soft tissue damage" to his leg.



A further 11 members of the public were treated by paramedics as thousands of people descended on Westminster.



Several landmark buildings, including those in Whitehall, were "locked down" over fears protesters were planning to occupy them by force.



Police said protesters wore masks, ripped up roadworks, destroyed a bus shelter, threw smoke canisters and ignited aerosols, burning some people's faces.



Sir Paul said there were no police officers in the vandalised police carrier and it was abandoned because of the risk of getting it back.



He added: "It is beyond irritating, it is disgraceful, but had we deployed to that carrier we would have achieved nothing. We could have injured protesters and police officers.



"The decision was made to leave it there and evidence gather and deal with the criminals later, which is what we have done."



Speaking about the decision to pen in protesters, Sir Paul said there were fears some would try to occupy the Liberal Democrat headquarters.



He said: "Given their intentions and the criminal damage seen in Parliament Street and Whitehall, a containment, also known by another phrase, was authorised at 1pm.



"The command team was in no doubt if protesters were given free reign in Parliament Square and the Government security zone, they would have tried to enter premises by force."



Sir Paul said police wanted to release those held in the pen earlier, but could not because of renewed violent clashes involving people outside the area.



He added that the process of photographing and identifying suspects before they were allowed to leave was "frustratingly slow".



The meeting heard that clashes continued late into the evening with sit-down demonstrations on Westminster Bridge and in Parliament Square.





A group of students staged a protest at the London constituency office of Simon Hughes, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat party.



Police were called to the offices after around 40 students stormed in, chanting: "No ifs, no buts, no education cuts."



One of the students said they would remain in the office until Mr Hughes turned up.





Mr Hughes said: "Some demonstrators attempted to enter our Liberal Democrat office in Bermondsey this afternoon but have been prevented from doing so. The situation is under control and the police are in attendance.



"If anybody thinks that the way to persuade me or my colleagues to their point of view is to disrupt the work done by my staff or by me looking after my constituents then they are making a foolish mistake.



"Regularly and rationally, privately and publicly I engage in debate with many students and other people about higher education and many other issues.



"I will continue working for the best possible deal for the next generation of over 16s who want apprenticeships, training and further or higher education."

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?