The new Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire has banned his staff from communicating with Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK) activists because the Marxist group “wants to defund the police, has put police officers in hospital, and desecrated the cenotaph in London”.
Conservative Party candidate Rupert Matthews was elected as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire and Rutland in the May 2021 local election, taking the role from the Labour Party’s Willy Bachs. A PCC is responsible for holding the chief constable to account and, as an elected official, is the voice of the local community in policing matters.
Writing for the political news website ConservativeHome in a diary-style entry entitled “Day 3”, Mr Matthews remarked that on reading the agenda for that afternoon’s meeting, he noted a point on “meetings with Black Lives Matter”.
“Hang on. Why are we meeting an organisation that wants to defund the police, has put police officers in hospital, and desecrated the cenotaph in London?” Police Commissioner Matthews wrote.
Detailing the events of the online meeting itself, Mr Matthews continued: “I have a dozen or so faces looking at me from the Teams screen. ‘Any Other Business’. ‘Yes,’ I say. ‘As of now this organisation will have absolutely no contact at all with Black Lives Matter.’ There is a deathly silence. Meeting over, the screen goes blank.”
A spokesman for Leicestershire PCC confirmed to The Guardian on Thursday: “Mr Matthews directed his staff to have no contact with the Black Lives Matter organisation – BLM UK – for the reasons outlined in his blog.”
The PCC’s office also clarified that the ban only applies to people employed at the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner — not to officers or to Leicestershire Police’s Chief Constable Simon Cole.
Focus on Crime, Not Woke Virtue Signalling, Says Top Police Chief https://t.co/VfeY5K61zr
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 15, 2021
The height of the BLMUK activism in the summer of 2020 saw not only the vandalism of the Whitehall war memorial, the Cenotaph and the Parliament Square statue of Sir Winston Churchill, but violence against London’s police officers resulting in dozens of officers injured during one week of protest in June of that year alone.
Mr Matthews is not the only recently-appointed policing figure to turn his back on preferential treatment for far-left causes, with one of the UK’s most senior police officers, Chief Constable Stephen Watson of Greater Manchester Police, saying last month that police should focus more on fighting crime than engaging in woke virtue-signalling, such as “putting rainbows on their epaulettes and wearing rainbow shoelaces” — referencing LGBT activism.
Chief Constable Watson also objected to the BLM-associated taking of the knee, saying: “I do not think that things like taking the knee, demonstrating that you have a commonality of view with the protesters that you’re policing is compatible with the standards of service that people require of their police.
“Officers could put themselves in a difficult place because if you demonstrate you’re not impartial, and you then have to make an arrest, how on earth do you assist the courts to come to just judgement as to you having executed your powers of arrest in an appropriately impartial professional manner?”
It appears that only one MP has also vocally taken a stand against the BLM activism seeping into Britain’s institutions, with Conservative lawmaker Lee Anderson saying he would boycott the Euro 2020 final of England versus Italy because players take the knee.
The MP for Ashfield in Nottinghamshire said: “I’ve had a bit of abuse about my decision not to watch the England matches. That’s my decision, I’m not forcing my views on anybody else.”
Mr Anderson continued: “I don’t like the taking the knee business, I think it associates with Black Lives Matter movement. I know the England players don’t think it does, but it does, it does to me.”
“But that’s their choice to take the knee, and it’s my choice not to watch the matches,” he said.
London police squads were chased through the streets and pelted with missiles by crowds yelling "run, piggy." …35 officers of its officers suffered injuries… https://t.co/cX10v8AW8M
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 9, 2020