Police accused of 'blatant discrimination' over traveller funeral warning

10 February 2020, 08:22

Charity accuses police of blatant discrimination after email to firms in Barking and Dagenham
Charity accuses police of blatant discrimination after email to firms in Barking and Dagenham. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The Met Police has been accused of "discrimination" after a police officer emailed businesses to warn them of a traveller funeral in the area.

In January an officer in Barking and Dagenham sent a message to licence holders in the borough saying: “Intelligence has been received that there is a very large-scale Travelling community funeral wake today in the borough of Barking and Dagenham."

The officer wanted businesses selling alcohol to be aware of the “very high risk of incidents” if their premise was the intended destination. He called on businesses to inform the police if they did get a visit so that resources were available “in the event of any incidents”.

The warning has caused a backlash from representatives of the traveller community who have made official complaints to the police watchdog and the Met Commissioner.

One charity has branded the email "blatant discrimination from the police."

Traveller Movement chief executive Yvonne MacNamara, said she was “deeply concerned that yet again we see this blatant discrimination from the police. We have previously raised concerns with the Metropolitan police and referred these complaints to the Independent Police Complaint Commission which were upheld.”

Daniel Cooper, of Imran Khan & Partners Solicitors, who is representing the Traveller Movement, said: “The police have repeatedly said that there is no room in their ranks for discrimination. This incident shows that this does not appear to be the case. Urgent action is required at the highest levels to address what has happened and a failure to do so will leave our client with no choice but to seek legal action against the police.”

A spokesperson for the Met confirmed a "complaint was received on Friday 7 February. The content of the complaint will be assessed.”