UK Police officers will not "take the knee" at protests, says Met Police Commissioner

6 June 2020, 10:41

By Seán Hickey

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner has told officers not to take the knee during Black Lives Matter protests.

British streets are set to be flooded with people showing solidarity with protesters in the US after the death of George Floyd sparked mass demonstrations against systematic racism in the UK.

Andrew Castle was joined by Dame Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and asked her for her views on images of police officers taking the knee to show support for protesters in the US.

"We encourage our officers to talk to people" Dame Cressida told Andrew, adding that a main function of the police is "to engage in a positive manner with people." The Police Commissioner went on to state that although she understands the sentiment behind officers taking the knee, "we won't be kneeling during protests" in the UK.

"However heartfelt something like that might be, I don't think it is likely to be safe" she told Andrew.

Andrew wanted clarification, asking Dame Cressida to say that she "won't take the knee during protests" if protesters encouraged her to. "I wouldn't, and I have asked my officers not to because our job is to police" she said.

Black Lives Matter protests are set to take place nationwide over the weekend
Black Lives Matter protests are set to take place nationwide over the weekend. Picture: PA

She told Andrew at the beginning of the conversation that "under the coronavirus regulations any gathering of over six people is illegal" and thus the scheduled protests in the UK fall into dangerous territory.

The Police Commissioner said that she would ask people to share solidarity with Black Lives Matter "in any other way than gathering on the streets" referencing the dangers of mass gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

"We are fighting a deadly virus, it can get spread in gatherings" Dame Cressida said, warning people against joining protests this weekend in an effort to protect others from the virus.

"I am incredibly proud of how the Met has done its job" she added and commended her police officers for the work they've done so far during the coronavirus pandemic to enforce law and order on the streets of London.

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