This year’s Gay Pride celebrations in London will be surrounded by a ring of concrete roadblocks to guard against vehicle attacks as witnessed in the Westminster, Borough Market, and Finsbury Park terror attacks.
After a “full security review” following recent attacks, the Metropolitan Police also revealed there will be a higher police presence than on previous years and said people attending would be subjected to extra checks and searches.
Around 26,000 people are expected to take to the streets of Soho and march down Regent Street on the 8th of July to mark London’s 45th annual Pride Festival.
Such were concerns for security, organisers released a statement earlier this month to reassure people, insisting they were working closely with police, as “in recent months there have been horrendous attacks on our country, on our city, and on our way of life”.
Pride in London’s directors then met Thursday with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick and Gold Commander David Musker to talk through their security strategy and take questions from the public.
Outlining their plans, Gold Commander Musker explained in a statement: “There is no specific intelligence with respect to the threat to Pride at this time. However… we will police this event within the context of the last three of four months.”
He said “there will be some things that you will see that I don’t want you to be surprised about”, including, “more uniformed ‘cops’”, “a search and accreditation regime”, and “what we call ‘hostile vehicle mitigation’”.
Explaining what this third measure entails, he added: “Those big concrete ‘ugly’ blocks will be put in various locations across the footprint [of the event]. The objective of that is to stop somebody with a vehicle getting at pace and entering Regent Street or into the main event.”
Met Commissioner Dick acknowledged the celebrations would “look and feel a bit different this year”, adding: “We’ve adapted our posture, we’ve changed some of our plans, and the organisers have changed some of theirs.
“That’s been designed to protect Pride more and to let people know that’s what we’re doing.”