Sadiq Khan: Police have questions to answer over Westminster Bridge clap

17 April 2020, 10:41 | Updated: 17 April 2020, 11:48

By Adrian Sherling

Sadiq Khan told LBC police have questions to answer over why they ignored social distancing guidelines on Westminster Bridge during last night's Clap For Our Carers.

A doctor filmed the "astonishing" gathering of people on Westminster Bridge, next to NHS Hospital St Thomas' to applaud our NHS and frontline heroes.

While many people across the nation applauded from their windows and front doors in a show of national support for the NHS and other key workers, a large group took to the central London bridge to join together in their thanks to those tackling coronavirus.

Many attendees were emergency workers themselves - including the Met Police and London Ambulance Service.

Damir Rafi, a junior doctor working at St Thomas' Hospital, shared his video with the caption: "I'm a doctor working at the hospital that's right there. And yes, I was also somewhat perplexed by the lack of social distancing."

Speaking to James O'Brien on LBC, Mayor Sadiq Khan said it was clear that social distancing guidelines were not being followed.

He said: "Clearly the advice isn't optional and it doesn't appear to have been followed. A number of people on the clip that I've seen were not 2 metres apart. These rules to keep 2 metres apart are there for all of our wellbeing and health and we've got to be cognisant of that.

"I'm sure there will be questions to be asked."

Sadiq Khan had concerns over police not obeying social distancing guidelines
Sadiq Khan had concerns over police not obeying social distancing guidelines. Picture: Damir Rafi/Twitter / LBC

When James asked how police officers were involved and not doing anything to stop it, the Mayor said: "I've seen the same footage you have and I'm equally concerned that the social distancing rules don't appear to have been observed.

"I've got no confirmation of this, but I suspect the Met Police Service and the London Ambulance Service whose people were there will be asking the sort of questions that you, not unreasonably, are asking.

"I think both the MPS and the LAS will be asking questions about social distancing guidelines not being observed."

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A spokesperson for the Met Police told LBC that it did appear some were not following the social distancing rules whilst on the bridge. They added: "Officers, along with other emergency service workers, came together last night on Westminster Bridge to celebrate the work of all key workers.

"A large number of members of the public also gathered to express their gratitude. While many people adhered to social distancing guidance, it appears that some did not.

"We regularly remind our officers of the importance of social distancing where practical, and will continue do so."