Met Police chief to meet home secretary after calls for him to quit over antisemitism row

UK

Met Police chief Sir Mark Rowley will meet the home secretary and policing minister this week to discuss antisemitism, Sky News understands.

It comes after an antisemitism campaigner was threatened with arrest yards away from a pro-Palestine protest where officers described him as “openly Jewish” and said his presence was “antagonising demonstrators”.

The force apologised but then had to apologise for their apology after suggesting opponents of pro-Palestinian marches “must know that their presence is provocative”.

Sir Mark will also meet London mayor Sadiq Khan to discuss “community relations” and he is expected to speak to organisations including the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the London Jewish Forum and the Community Safety Trust.

Gideon Falter, the campaigner who was threatened with arrest, said Jewish Londoners could not have confidence in the police under Sir Mark’s leadership, accusing the commissioner of “victim blaming”.

In video from the incident, an officer appeared to prevent Mr Falter from crossing the road at the London protest, telling him: “You are quite openly Jewish, this is a pro-Palestinian march. I’m not accusing you of anything but I am worried about the reaction to your presence.”

Mr Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism, was wearing a yarmulke and said he was simply walking past after attending synagogue.

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He said he was threatened with arrest if he did not leave the area.

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He told Sky News: “I felt it was disgraceful.

“I could not understand how the police were able to look at a Jew walking down the street and decide that person is the threat, that person needs to be got rid of, not all the people around who were shouting abuse, but because I was walking down the street being a Jew.”

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Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.
Pic: PA
Image:
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.
Pic: PA

Responding to calls for him to stand down, Sir Mark 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.”

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Admitting that “some of our actions have increased this concern,” he added: “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.”

Mr Khan and Home Secretary James Cleverly have the power to dismiss the commissioner, but sources from both the government and the mayoralty have said his job is not under threat.

Gideon Falter, chief executive of the Campaign Against Antisemitism and the man at the heart of this debate, will be speaking to Sky News at around 9.20am today

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