Trenton Oldfield: The police want to “help” me protest again

Boat Race rocked by protest and controversy 30 March 2013

Trenton Oldfield, the protester who interrupted last year’s Boat Race by diving into the river, has claimed that the police have offered to help him with protest at this week’s race, remarking that “the Old Bill are trying to organise protests – and actively seeking likely participants.”

Oldfield, who describes himself as an ‘anti-elitism’ protester, says that he has been repeatedly approached by officers from the Scotland Yard with offers of “help”. Writing in The Spectator, Oldfield describes how he has received numerous emails from the police asking “how they can help organise a protest,” and even a “helpful letter” hand-delivered by “two extremely tall policemen.”

The letter Oldfield received was from the Metropolitan Police’s newly-formed Liaison Gateway Team, a unit of the police “dedicated to facilitating peaceful protest.” In the letter, the ‘Team’ describe themselves as “very keen to engage with people who may be intending to protest at this year’s University Boat Race.”

In his article, Oldfield heavily implies that this offer of “help” is a veiled threat, accusing the Liason Gateway Team of heavy-handed tactics; “Their ‘total policing’ sometimes includes pre-emptive arrests.” Speaking to TCS, a representative from the Metropolitan Police denied that “pre-emptive” arrests have taken place, explaining that their officers can only arrest individuals if they are suspected of committing an offence, and not on the basis that they may commit an offence in future. In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Met has revealed that there are only four people in the Liason Gateway Team – one sergeant and three constables.

Nonetheless, Oldfield seems to have been unnerved by the policemen who “darkened” his kitchen, and has no plans to take the Liason Gateway Team up on their offer. Explaining that he has been discouraged by the “foul” weather, Oldfield writes: “I shan’t be at this year’s race I’ll probably have a ramble across the Cotswolds instead.”

Speaking to TCS, the Metropolitan Police have issued a statement explaining the nature of the Police Liaison Gateway Team’s communication with Trenton Oldfield: “The PLGT, as is routine for their outreach and engagement work ahead of events such as the Boat Race, contacted Mr Oldfield to establish if he intended to protest on the day of this year’s boat race. The PLGT offered Mr Oldfield the opportunity to talk to the team as anyone intending to protest can exercise their lawful rights, without causing disruption or danger to themselves or others. This is part of the wider policing operation to ensure a safe and secure 2013 Boat Race for the thousands of people expected to attend on the day.”

TCS News

Related Stories:

Guilty: Boat Race protester Trenton Oldfield lambasted as a ‘public nuisance’

Boat Race rocked by protest and controversy