Metropolitan Police Chief Faces Calls to Resign over ‘Two-Tiered Policing’ of Pro-Palestinian Protests

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16: Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley speaks at the Insti
Leon Neal/Getty Images

The head of London’s Metropolitan Police is facing calls to resign over the force’s alleged “two-tiered policing” of pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel protesters.

In the wake of a scandal in which the head of the Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA) was threatened with arrest by a London police officer, who warned against going near a pro-Palestinian demonstration this week because he was “openly Jewish”, there have been calls for Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley to step down.

Leading the charge against Sir Mark is former Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who accused the force of “two-tiered policing”, and wrote in the Sunday Telegraph: “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.”

“If the Met commissioner is incapable of or unwilling to ensure that his officers enforce the law, and Sadiq Khan is happy with the soft approach to the hate marches, then the Prime Minister needs to finally get a grip.

“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.”

The chief executive for the Campaign Against Antisemitism, Gideon Falter added: “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.”

On Friday, the Metropolitan Police issued an apology for the treatment of Falter, but said that counter-protesters who come to pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London “must know that their presence is provocative” and that they are “increasing the likelihood of an altercation”.

The apparent attempt to excuse the actions of the police caused more outrage and the Met was forced into releasing a second apology for the “further offence” caused by the first apology.

“We have reflected on the strength of the response to our previous statement. In an effort to make a point about the policing of protest, we caused further offence. This was never our intention. We have removed that statement and we apologise.

“Being Jewish is not a provocation. Jewish Londoners must be able to feel safe in this city. Our commitment to protecting the public extends to all communities across London. It’s important that our public statements reflect that more clearly than they did today.”

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

Since the October 7th Hamas terror attacks on Israel, anti-Israel protests have become a near-weekly occurrence in London.  The Met has frequently faced criticism for its apparent double standards in its treatment of pro-Palestinian protests, as it previously faced during Black Lives Matter demonstrations. In a glaring example, the police force previously excused protesters who called for “jihad”, with the Met stipulating that the word “has a number of meanings“.

The government’s policing minister, Chris Philp, said on Saturday that he would be meeting with the Met Commissioner next week to discuss the latest incident, saying: “No one should be told their religion is provocative, nor an innocent person threatened with arrest solely because of someone else’s anticipated unreasonable reaction.”

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