New Year: Eight arrests as revellers rush stewards to ‘force’ way into fireworks
Eight people were arrested during New Year’s Eve fireworks in central London, after celebrations turned sour with revellers trying to “force” their way into the sold-out event.
In its first return since the pandemic, thousands of tickets were sold to watch midnight fireworks, but trouble started about an hour before 2023 was welcomed.
Fireworks also included tributes to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, who passed away aged 96 last year.
The Met Police said the celebrations were largely peaceful up until 11.15pm and there were “no reports of any significant incidents for the first three hours.”
However in 45 minutes before Big Ben struck 12, “there were a number of incidents where groups of people without tickets forced their way past hoardings and fencing.
“Officers worked quickly in challenging circumstances to support stewards in an effort to prevent crowds getting into the ticketed area and to maintain the safety and security of those already inside.”
The Met added that “at the junction of Storey’s Gate and Victoria Street, they had to draw their batons when a small but determined group who had pushed down fence panels in an attempt to get in became aggressive towards stewards and officers. A small number of people were treated for minor injuries.”
In addition to trouble at the fireworks, there eight arrests in central London, including two for being drunk and disorderly, and one each for drink driving, possession of an offensive weapon, assault on an emergency worker, common assault and possession of cannabis, and assault on an emergency worker and handling stolen goods.
The force also said there was an arrest for sexual assault, with the suspect being a 31-year-old who was wanted for five alleged indecent assaults against women.
The individual was arrested during patrols of the south Bank.
Two officers who were assaulted had minor injuries.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor would like to thank the Met police, British Transport Police, Transport for London and the event stewards and partners for their role in delivering an overwhelmingly safe and secure New Year’s Eve celebration event.
“A small number of people without tickets attempted to force entry to the ticketed area but these incidents were dealt with swiftly. The circumstances surrounding these attempts will be urgently reviewed – with partners – to ensure all lessons are learnt.”