'I'm unclear why it took so long': Sadiq Khan condemns delayed Met Police response over swastika shame

3 April 2024, 20:09

Sadiq Khan has spoken out over the Met Police response over a swastika displayed at a protest at the weekend.
Sadiq Khan has spoken out over the Met Police response over a swastika displayed at a protest at the weekend. Picture: Alamy/Social media

By Emma Soteriou

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has condemned the Met Police's delayed response in removing swastikas shown at a pro-Palestine march, after officers were filmed telling a Jewish woman they needed to be "taken in context".

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American documentary maker Jocelin Weiss told police that she saw the Nazi symbol being displayed on banners during a march through London last weekend.

She was told that displaying a swastika was "not necessarily anti-Semitic" nor "a disruption of public order".

A clip shared online showed the furious activist asking police in what context a swastika could not be seen as anti-Semitic.

One officer replied: "I didn't say it was or it wasn't."

A Met Police Chief Inspector then interrupted and said: "A swastika on its own, I don't think is..."

Read more: Why Didn’t They Know?! Met Police told to "Get Back To School" after Swastika Shame

Read more: 'It doesn't need context - it's an outrageous symbol': Met condemned after swastika row on pro-Palestine protest

Addressing the incident, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told LBC: "I saw a clip, which is a partial clip, of the complete conversation.

"The police are looking into this - we should give the police the time they need to respond properly.

"What I think is unfair is for people to draw conclusions based upon a short clip.

"On the face of it though, it does raise lots of questions in relation to why there was a delay in action being taken.

"I know action was taken but I’m unclear why it took so long. Let’s wait and see what the police response is."

It comes after Ms Weiss called for anti-bias training programmes within the Met.

She told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast: "There is clearly a lapse in communication and a lapse in this training - whether that comes from the Community Security Trust (CST) I'm not sure but there needs to be a training in this regard because there's a lack of education."

She said she was sent "up the line" and told several times "it needs to be put in context".

"I thought at any point they would have backtracked and said 'oh, well I'll go with you - perhaps this doesn't need context' but no, [the officer] basically brought out the metaphorical shovel and kept digging deeper and deeper," she said.

Despite the concerning scenes, the Met Police have confirmed that no disciplinary proceedings have been launched into the officers.

The force also confirmed that the man who was carrying the placard was arrested.

Jocelin Weiss calls for 'anti-bias training' in the Met

A Downing Street spokesperson said it was up to the Met Police to speak as to what their training around the issue was, but Rishi Sunak "expects the police to enforce the law and take the toughest possible action against anti-Semitism, and intimidation".

Mr Sunak said there was no place on Britain's streets for anti-Semitism.

He said: "We've been crystal clear on this, there's absolutely no place in our society or on our streets for anti-Semitism or hatred of any kind.

"We've given the police more powers to tackle it, and I've been crystal clear that I expect the police to use those powers and hold people to account."

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