As the demonstrations continued for a sixth day on Saturday, Metropolitan Police revealed that 715 people have been arrested and 28 have been charged since the Extinction Rebellion disruption began on Monday.
The National Police Chief’s Council said the Met had made a formal request for assistance managing the protests in the capital to the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC).
A spokesman for the National Police Chief’s Council told The Independent the request had gone out to forces in the “south east” and “eastern” regions and the Met had got the number of extra officers requested.
“It is used to ensure an appropriate police presence exists where there is increased demand for it,” the spokesman said. “NPoCC works with forces to determine their requirements should the need arise.”
As part of its request, the Met asked for a protest removal team, which includes specially trained officers able to deal people locking or gluing themselves to objects.
Scotland Yard admitted on Friday that the ongoing arrests have put the force under pressure because they placed a “logistical problem on … the police service for cell space but also the wider criminal justice system”.
A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told The Independent: “Our custody suites are not full and we are continuing to arrest those who are breaking the law. Those who have been arrested are being taken to MPS custody suites throughout London. Contingency plans are in place should custody suites become full.”
On Saturday around 30 protesters sat down in the centre of the Oxford Circus junction as police threatened arrests.
Extinction Rebellion said a liaison officer had told the group the police had “graciously withdrawn” and decided not to clear the area of protesters.
Dozens of police have also been reported moving onto Waterloo Bridge, where protesters have also blocked the road.
Extinction Rebellion said there were about 14 police vans on the southern end of Waterloo Bridge and the group believes it is a “genuine concerted effort” to clear the area.
A police-sanctioned event is also taking place today at Marble Arch.
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