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Met launches investigation into volunteer officer who told Christian busker 'you can't sing outside of church'
30 January 2024, 12:20 | Updated: 30 January 2024, 13:37
A volunteer officer who told a Christian busker she is not allowed to sing outside of church grounds is being investigated.
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Maya Hadzhipetkova, a special constable, stopped Harmonie London from performing on London's Oxford Street at the weekend - sparking fury as the footage was posted online.
Harmonie, a 20-year-old gospel signer who regularly performs in central London, as well as to a 300,000-strong YouTube following, filmed Hadzhipetkova try to shut her down, then stick her tongue out at the camera.
The officer intervened despite there being no laws against religious singing on the pavement - just local bylaws over busking licences and obstructing roads.
The Met said: "We're reviewing body worn video of this interaction - it's more than 40 minutes long. At the heart of this is a specific by-law related to busking.
"The officer knows she could have handled this differently and is speaking to her manager."
In the footage, Hadzhipetkova told Harmonie: "You're not allowed to sing church songs outside of church grounds, by the way."
The confrontation took place outside John Lewis on Oxford Street, where Ms London defended her right to sing the songs.
She hit back: "You are, you are, you are."
But the officer told the gospel singer she could not sing "outside of church grounds unless you have been authorised by the church to do these kind of songs".
Harmonie told her "that's a load of rubbish, you're allowed" before the Hadzhipetkova walked away.
The singer said: "Are you saying that you don't care about the Human Rights Act?"
The volunteer officer is accused of laughing then stuck her tongue out at the singer's camera.
The video, which is titled 'Unpaid Volunteer Officer Doesn't Like Gospel Songs', has sparked a backlash online.
Former police officer and anti-crime campaigner Norman Brennan tweeted: "Folks, this is not a good look. Some of us are trying hard to help policing get back public lost support respect and confidence and this does not help."
Folks this👇is not a good look; some of us are trying hard to help policing get back public lost support respect & confidence & this👇does NOT help🤷♂️🙄🤦♂️👎pic.twitter.com/UfscBCfYWP— Norman Brennan (@NormanBrennan) January 29, 2024
Hadzhipetkova lived in Bulgaria then moved to Cyprus in 2009 before moving to the UK in 2019.
She has also worked at Costa Coffee as well as in pubs and bars.
As a special constable, Hadzhipetkova has the same powers as a full-time officer but carries out the role part-time.
They have to give up at least 16 hours a month to police across London. Special constables are given free travel throughout the capital and get a discount on council tax alongside a range of other bonuses.