British soldiers have been banned from taking the knee in solidarity with the far-left Black Lives Matter movement when they are in uniform, as they are bound to remain politically neutral.
Military leaders reportedly told soldiers at the Naval Base HMS Sultan in Gosport, Hampshire, that they were forbidden from making the gesture.
A defence source told the Daily Mail: “When they are in uniform, they are not allowed to take part in any political activity. With taking the knee, it is becoming a political movement.”
“When you are in uniform, there are long-standing rules for how you should behave.
“We are looking at the policy and are trying to find a way in an appropriate situation what they can do to show their respect.
“The armed forces and the MoD [are] absolutely against racism in any form and want to stamp it out,” the source added.
The position comes in sharp contrast to recent reports of British police allowing and encouraging officers to take the knee, in once instance a police force telling officers that failure to do so may attract the negative attention of Black Lives Matter activists.
‘Run Piggy Run’ – British Cops Chased Through Streets at BLM Protest https://t.co/uqdS8A6bb5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 8, 2020
The far-left protests also resulted in acts of vandalism culminating in mob iconoclasm last month when vandals tore down the statue of Bristol merchant and philanthropist Edward Colston who had ties to the slave trade. Police stood by as rioters felled the memorial, graffitied it, ritualistically beat it, and rolled it into the harbour. Bristol police superintendent Andy Bennett said that officers not intervening to stop vandalism was “the right thing to do”, and that “Bristol should be proud of itself.”
In London, where mobs defaced statues of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, and tried to set fire to the flags of the Cenotaph, officers tried to appeal to the left-radicals by taking a knee before them on Wednesday, June 3rd, outside Downing Street. It did not ease tensions, however, as on that same day BLM activists were seen assaulting London Metropolitan police officers guarding the prime minister’s residence.
While slow to respond in policy, Scotland Yard chief Cressida Dick said on June 6th that her officers would no longer be taking the knee while on duty and in uniform.
Even after the violence committed against London officers, other senior figures in forces across the country were seen prostrating to the far-left anarchist group. On June 5th, Kent’s Chief Constable Alan Pughsley defended his public “act of humility” when he kneeled for BLM. His force then endorsed other staff following suit, saying that “officers are supported in doing this where appropriate and safe to do so, without compromising on the service we provide to the public”.
While Hertfordshire Constabulary claimed that officers taking the knee has a “very positive” effect on protests and that while it remained optional, those who do not bend the knee could agitate the far-leftists.
Hertfordshire Constabulary said: “Officers are to be mindful that this is optional and those who do not do so may become the focus of the protestors’ attention.”
London’s Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said that he would have “probably” would have joined the street protests, despite at the time some 60 of his officers having been injured while policing them.
London: ‘Hostile’ Crowd Attacks Police, 22 Officers Injured During What Media Called a ‘Street Party’ https://t.co/MP8Ku4GXGe
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 25, 2020