Following a complaint from Campaign Against Antisemitism, the Metropolitan Police Service is investigating multiple police officers over their participation in antisemitic protests whilst in uniform.
Campaign Against Antisemitism wrote to Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick after two videos emerged, one showing a uniformed police officer embracing protestors and chanting “Free, free Palestine,” with another showing officers at the same demonstration greeting and shaking hands with the drivers of a convoy of cars that displayed Palestinian flags.
The protests were characterised by some of the worst incidents of antisemitism seen on the streets of London in recent years. Swastikas and pictures of Adolf Hitler as well as calls for Jews to be murdered and Jewish women to be raped were all accompanied by the constant beat of the same words that were chanted by the officer who appears in the first video.
Campaign Against Antisemitism’s Director of Investigations and Enforcement, Stephen Silverman, wrote to Dame Cressida: “At events as highly charged as those we witnessed over the weekend, the shameless abandonment by these officers of any pretence at impartiality can only serve to embolden those who have caused such fear amongst British Jews. These disgraceful videos have been widely circulated. It would be impossible for any Jewish person to trust these officers to assist them impartially. Our latest Antisemitism Barometer shows that three in five British Jews believe that the authorities are not doing enough to address and punish antisemitism, and less than one third are confident that antisemitic hate crimes against them would be prosecuted. The behaviour of these officers can only have caused further damage. It is now vital that a disciplinary hearing into the conduct of the officers concerned is conducted with the utmost urgency, and that a clear message is sent that officers who engage in such behaviour have no place in the Metropolitan Police Service.”
In a statement to journalists he added: “Over the weekend we have seen a car convoy drive through Jewish areas calling for Jewish girls and women to be raped, we have seen a Rabbi hospitalised in an assault, and we have documented numerous antisemitic crimes at demonstrations. For police officers to cheer such a convoy and join in those same demonstrations in uniform is utterly incompatible with the impartiality that is a basic requirement of service. A firm message must be sent that officers who engage in such behaviour will have no place in the Metropolitan Police Service.”
Confirming that an investigation would take place, Chief Superintendent Roy Smith warned: “Whilst we expect officers to engage they must remain impartial.”
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police Service said: “While officers are encouraged to positively engage with those attending demonstrations, they know they are not to actively participate or adopt political positions. This is vital to ensuring the public have confidence in our officers. The Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed and are investigating the full circumstances of this incident and to determine what further action is appropriate.”