Suella Braverman demands Met Police chief QUIT for ignoring 'flagrant antisemitism'

Suella Braverman demands Met Police chief QUIT for ignoring 'flagrant antisemitism'
Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 21/04/2024

- 08:29

Pressure has built on Sir Mark Rowley over the past 24 hours

Outrage at the Metropolitan Police grew overnight when former home secretary Suella Braverman led calls for the head of the force to quit.

Sir Mark Rowley is under increasing pressure to resign or be sacked after being accused of having “emboldened” antisemites with policing in London in the aftermath of the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas.

For months critics have accused the organisation of "two-tier policing" with Palestinian protesters being given undue leniency by Met Police officers.

However, anger at the organisation hit new highs this week after video footage emerged of an officer telling the Campaign Against Antisemitism's chief executive Gideon Falter that he would be arrested if he did not leave a pro-Palestine march because he was "openly Jewish" and his presence was "antagonising".

Demanding a change in leadership at the top of the Met Police, Braverman used a Sunday newspaper op-ed to claim people who were “flagrantly antisemitic” were being “waved on by the police”.

"Either this is gross incompetence, or it’s a culture coming from the top, where thugs are free to intimidate and harass while the rest of us have to keep our mouths shut and stay out of the way," she wrote in the Sunday Telegraph.

\u200bSuella Braverman

Suella Braverman has demanded Sir Mark Rowley quit or be sacked


"My complaint is not against officers on the ground. Their job is incredibly difficult. Most police just want to catch the bad guys and keep people safe. This is about the leadership.

"Ministers and the mayor of London have either refused or been unable to hold the Met commissioner to account."

She added: "It gives me no pleasure to say this, but after such a litany of failure and a wholesale refusal to change, the Met commissioner needs to accept responsibility. And he must go."

Braverman was sacked from her position as home secretary in November last year after the Conservative MP wrote op-ed critical of the way police were handling protests in the capital.

Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley

Sir Mark Rowley is under growing pressure following the row


The Fareham MP's calls for Rowley to quit have been echoed by Falter, who said: "Racists, extremists and terrorist sympathisers have watched the excuses and inertia of the Met under his command and been emboldened by his inaction at precisely the moment when he should be signalling a renewed determination to crack down on this criminality.

"What the Met under Sir Mark has done to the Jewish community over the course of six months is utterly unforgivable and it is time for him to go. Enough is enough."

The Met apologised on Friday for its officer's "only Jewish remark".

However, in the statement the force suggested opponents of pro-Palestinian marches “must know that their presence is provocative” and they are “increasing the likelihood of an altercation” by lining the route to object.

It subsequently issued another statement apologising for the “further offence” caused by its first apology.

Policing minister Chris Philp said yesterday he was “deeply concerned” and would meet the Met Police commissioner the following week to discuss the incident.

Rowley said: “Every member of the Met is determined to ensure that London is a city in which everyone feels safe.

“We absolutely understand how vulnerable Jewish and Muslim Londoners feel since the terrorist attacks on Israel.

“Some of our actions have increased this concern. I personally reiterate our apology from earlier this week.

“Today, as with every other day, our officers will continue to police with courage, empathy and impartiality.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We welcome the Met Police’s apology, and recognise the complexities of policing fast-moving public protests, but simply being Jewish – or of any other race or religion – should never be seen as provocative.

"Anyone of any religion should be free to go about their lives and feel safe doing so."

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