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Australian royal superfan wrongly arrested at coronation fears she may lose visa to live in UK

An Australian royal superfan who was mistakenly locked up by police for 13 hours at the King’s coronation fears the arrest could force her to leave the UK.

Alice Chambers, 36, told i how she desperately tried to explain to the police that she just happened to be standing next to Just Stop Oil protesters when officers swooped in on crowds waiting on The Mall in London on Saturday morning.

But Ms Chambers ended up being taken in handcuffs to Wandsworth police station where she was further arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to cause a public nuisance.

After being repeatedly questioned, physically searched and having her fingerprints, DNA and mugshot photos taken she was finally released without charge and told she will face “no further action”.

However, this means her arrest on suspicion of a criminal offence will remain on her record on the Police National Computer (PNC) and Ms Chambers will be required to make an application supported by evidence to have the record removed.

She has instructed solicitors Taylor Rose and will be seeking the removal as soon as possible, as well looking at a potential civil claim against police, but she told i: “It’s something I’m worried about because I’m sponsored and I’ve got a visa.”

Alice Chambers stood outside Buckingham Palace in 2017
Alice Chambers stood outside Buckingham Palace in 2017 (Photo: supplied)

Ms Chambers has lived in the UK for seven years but is an Australian citizen and as such she fears the arrest record could lead to her losing her visa sponsorship.

“I want to get indefinite leave to remain. If it can be changed in some way, the question needs to be asked,” she said.

The architect, 36, has made a complaint to the Met Police but the force said the complaint would be passed to Lincolnshire Police because it was a Lincolnshire officer who had been sent to help at the coronation, that made the initial arrest.

Police watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) told i it has yet to receive any referrals from the Met over arrests made during the coronation.

Although some serious incidents are automatically referred to the IOPC, in cases such as complaints about an allegedly unlawful arrest, police forces will investigate the complaint themselves before deciding whether it needs to be referred to the watchdog.

Alice Chambers was arrested on The Mall at the King?s Coronation on 6 May and held for 13 hours
Alice Chambers was arrested on The Mall at the King’s Coronation on 6 May and held for 13 hours (Photo: Sky News)

The arrest of Ms Chambers has intensified the row about the Met’s handling of policing at the coronation after six members of the anti-monarchy group Republic were also arrested.

They were accused of being equipped for “locking on” because officers said baggage straps they were using to hold placards together could also be used to attach a protester to an object.

Republic’s chief executive Graham Smith, who was among those arrested and later told they will face no further action, said the arrests were a “direct attack” on British democracy, adding that he is planning to sue the Met.

Legal experts have told i successful claims for false imprisonment could run into payouts of thousands of pounds.

Ms Chambers was among 64 people arrested last Saturday. The Met’s Commissioner Mark Rowley has backed officers over their actions claiming intelligence showed that protesters had plans to throw paint and use rape alarms to scare police horses.

The Met did not respond to specific queries about Ms Chambers’ arrest and whether it will be removed from the Police National Computer.

A spokesperson referred i to a previous statement which said: “We are aware that a woman was arrested in relation to a protest on 6 May 2023.

“The arresting officer was from Lincolnshire Police and the complaint has therefore been passed to the relevant force to investigate. The Met will assist by providing any relevant information they require.”

Chief Inspector Simon Outen from the Professional Standards Department at Lincolnshire Police, said: “Our officers were in central London providing mutual aid support to colleagues in the Met on Saturday 6 May, and during that time, a woman in her thirties was arrested in connection with a Just Stop Oil protest.

“She was subsequently released with no further action.

“We have now received a complaint and we are reviewing the incident, and we are in contact with the complainant to establish the full details of her allegations.”

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