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Met Boss Who Hid in Car During Westminster Attack ‘Guilty of Cowardice’, Say Police Colleagues

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Met boss Sir Craig Mackey is receiving a massive backlash from police veterans and serving officers for his decision to stay locked in his car and watch while PC Keith Palmer was murdered by a radical Islamic terrorist during the Westminster attack in 2017.

Sir Craig, who was Acting Commissioner for London’s Metropolitan Police when Khalid Masood mowed down several pedestrians outside Parliament before attacking the unarmed police officer with two carving knives at the gates, is currently Deputy Commissioner under Cressida Dick — but is set to retire with a substantial pension under his belt in December 2018.

He told an inquest investigating the attack he was present while it was carried out, having just been in a meeting with then-policing minister Brandon Lewis — but stayed in his car with the doors locked and watched it unfold through the window, as he had “no protective equipment, no radio, [and] two colleagues with me who [were] quite distressed”.

The testimony has caused huge anger among serving officers and police veterans, many of whom are calling for him to be investigated and stripped of his knighthood.

“Grassroots officers are disgusted with what they have heard and Scotland Yard ought to refer this matter to the [Independent Office for Police Conduct] as a matter of urgency,” commented retired senior officer Paul Settle, who described Sir Craig’s testimony as “insulting”.

“[I]t saddens me to say it, but the former Acting Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Craig Mackey, is guilty of cowardice,” added former Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Philip Flower in a lengthy column for the Daily Mail.

“[I]f I’d still been in the Met, Sir Craig’s conduct would mean that I would never want to serve under him,” he added.

Mr Flower said that “Many current and former police officers, of all rank and file, feel the same way”, and disputed Sir Craig’s contention that it was right for him to leave the scene to “start putting everything we need in place”.

“I have news for Sir Craig,” he wrote. “Senior police officers do not lead from behind a desk, or hurry back to it, as he did, to take control.”

Former Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville was equally disturbed by Sir Craig’s actions, according to The Sun, saying he was “appalled that any police officer, of whatever rank, would simply drive away after seeing a colleague brutally attacked”, and even going so far as to say he should be prosecuted for neglect of duty.

‘Richard’, a former Met commander who called in to LBC to express his feelings on the matter, was equally scathing, stating in no uncertain terms that he was “absolutely disgusted in Craig Mackey’s behaviour” and that he believed the senior officer “displayed cowardice”.

Retired detective Peter Bleksley, meanwhile, appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain programme to voice the widely held sentiment that Sir Craig’s actions compared unfavourably with those of hero officer Charlie Ginegal, who was stabbed multiple times tackling the London Bridge terrorists in his street clothes, having been enjoying an off-duty drink with friends when the Islamists struck.

“[Sir Craig’s] actions that day were utterly unforgivable,” Bleksley added.

Serving officers are largely expressing their feelings anonymously, likely to avoid the threat of disciplinary action, but the apparent consensus of sentinment is reflected in an image of Sir Craig receiving his knighthood, altered to replace the honour with a white feather, the symbol for cowardice issued to British men — sometimes unfairly — who avoided frontline service during the world wars.

Follow Jack Montgomery on Twitter: @JackBMontgomery
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