Report Just Stop Oil protesters to help us convict them, police tell drivers
Anyone adversely affected by Just Stop Oil protests on the M25 should report incidents so those responsible can be brought to justice, police have said.
In a highly unusual move the Metropolitan Police, along with colleagues from the Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Thames Valley and Surrey forces, have launched a public appeal to identify some of the thousands of motorists caught up in the chaos.
They want to speak to anyone who was unable to get to work, missed a vital appointment or suffered significant financial loss as a result of the actions of the environmental protesters.
Almost 60 people are awaiting trial on charges of causing a public nuisance or conspiracy to cause a public nuisance, but the police are seeking to build the strongest possible cases against the activists.
The appeal has been launched in a bid to gather evidence that shows the actions of Just Stop Oil impacted on the lives of individuals, rather than just affecting the national infrastructure.
Prosecutions have failed on a technicality
Sir Mark Rowley, the Met Commissioner, has complained that the current law around protests is "fuzzy" and "grey", making it difficult for the police to act decisively.
The Government is currently looking at tightening the law to make it easier for the police to determine what constitutes "serious disruption".
A number of prosecutions involving protests have failed on a technicality and the police have said they are determined to bring those who brought “significant and unreasonable disruption” to justice.
Earlier this week a group of climate protesters was cleared of tampering with an oil tanker after a judge ruled that the part they glued themselves to did not constitute a motor vehicle
The police appeal relates to motorists who were caught up in the disruption that took place in November on the M25 between junctions 7 and 10.
During a month of action by Just Stop Oil members, protesters scaled gantries above the motorway and then locked or glued themselves to the structure.
As a result, the carriageway had to be closed to traffic while officers climbed the gantries and removed and arrested the demonstrators.
A total of 61 people were charged in connection with the protests, three have pleaded guilty and the remaining 58 are awaiting trial.
Man missed his father's funeral
Detective Chief Inspector Natalie Norris from Scotland Yard, who is leading the investigations, said: “Actions by Just Stop Oil on the M25 caused a significant amount of disruption to road users.
“We are determined to bring to justice all those who conspire to cause significant and unreasonable disruption to London and the motorway network.
“Our investigations are progressing at pace, but we would also like to hear from anyone who believes they were adversely affected by the disruptions to come forward with information to help our investigations.
“I know a substantial number of people will have been simply delayed by the disruption, but specifically I would like to hear from anyone who was prevented from getting to necessary or vital appointments or meetings, attend planned work and therefore missed out on payment, missed, or were severely delayed, attending any significant life events with a view to obtaining a statement from them.”
In November, Tony Bambury from Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire described how he missed his father’s funeral after Just Stop Oil blocked the motorway.
He said at the time: “These people have forced me not to go to my own father's funeral by their actions and it's not like I can get a second chance at this. I'll never forget what they've done and I'll never forgive what they have done.”