Authorities have seized 80 tonnes worth of equipment from Extinction Rebellion protesters, according to the deputy assistant commissioner for London’s Metropolitan Police.
DAC Laurence Taylor told talkRADIO's Mike Graham that officers were using “every piece of legislation” available to them to deal with demonstrators who are acting unlawfully.
The capital has faced mass disruption as climate change campaigners blocked roads and bridges, calling on the government for immediate environmental action.
Activists have been cut out of their tents by police in an attempt to control the rallies bringing the city to a standstill.
DAC Taylor said: “We’ve been really clear that the activity of the protesters this time is unlawful; obstruction of the highway is an offence.”
But he also explained that, while the force is "absolutely determined that people who commit offences go through the criminial justice system", the process “takes time”.
“When people go limp on arrest it takes at least four officers to take them away, they have to be processed through custody, that takes additional time.
“We are clearing a lot of tents; we’ve cleared 80 tonnes worth of equipment to date. That’s all storage because it’s all evidence of offences - but people are locked on, they’re glued together, they’ve got big thick D locks around their necks, it’s not a quick process.”
The Metropolitan Police have issued a condition to protesters - ordering them to move to Trafalgar Square or face arrest.
The condition, imposed under Section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, does not have a time limit and the force says it is necessary to “prevent serious disruption to the community”.
Nearly 600 people have been arrested during the first two days of protest – already more than half of the total number arrested over the entire two week demonstrations that took place in April.
Officers have been brought in from around the country to help control the demonstrations.