The Metropolitan Police have denied targeting so-called woke issues after an article about officers’ dress codes was published in The Telegraph.
Met commissioner Mark Rowley was reported as saying he is “fairly narrow-minded” on allowing officers to wave rainbow flags or wear climate action badges.
But, in a statement to PinkNews, Scotland Yard said it refutes the suggestion that the comments were aimed at a particular part of society.
“The Met’s dress code policy has not changed,” a spokesperson said. “It sets out the official uniform police officers must adhere to while serving the public.”
“The policy makes exception for the work of the National Police Memorial Day Trust, Help for Heroes, and the Royal British Legion charities, and permits officers to wear their insignia on duty.”
Rowley, known as the UK’s top police officer, made reference to this in his interview, saying that Remembrance Day poppies, Help for Heroes wristbands and the police memorial badge would be notable exceptions.
“Wearing a poppy in autumn is perfectly proper but there is not a lot that we should align to,” he said in his interview with The Telegraph.
The Met spokesperson also told PinkNews that, in his initial interview, Rowley made no reference to “woke” political issues despite the nature of the article.
In a statement provided to PinkNews, Rowley said it wasn’t “woke” to engage with communities to understand what worries them.
“It is a central part of our service to Londoners and at the heart of the principle of policing by consent. London is one of the most diverse cities in the world and it’s crucial we police in a way which responds to the varied, complex and unique challenges this presents.”
Aligning with causes is “not something policing should be doing” and would not “deliver the scale of change required across the Met,” he added.
“There are lots of people in the organisation who will personally support causes, and that is absolutely OK but, as an organisation, we must remain impartial and focused on the significant job at hand.”
The Telegraph article said that Rowley would reprimand officers for things such as taking the knee or wearing rainbow badges.
But the force’s spokesperson said his boss had not singled out any specific issue as an example of supporting causes while on duty.
“We’re here to fight crime and keep people safe,” Rowley said. “We will begin to rebuild confidence in us as a service by demonstrating action against issues which matter most to Londoners.
“That is what I am focused on, alongside thousands of brilliant officers and staff.”
‘Institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynist’
Notable examples of issues within the Met include the mishandling of the Stephen Port murders, as well as a “materially flawed” investigation of the murder of private detective Daniel Morgan in 1987.
Following the report, Scotland Yard officials vowed to wipe out institutional corruption and bigotry within the Met.
Officials noted a recent report, titled A New Met for London, which aimed to implement “more trust, less crime [and] high standards”.
It included planned policy changes that would help prioritise community policing, changing the Met’s internal culture, and building a “well-run organisation” by 2025.
“We want the public to trust in the work we’re doing and see how we’re fighting crime in their communities and keeping people safe,” Rowley, who took over running the Met just under a year ago, said in a foreword to the report.
“We’ll build on the work we’ve done and keep serious violence low,” he continued. “We’ll reduce disproportionality when crime and our use of powers falls unevenly across London’s communities.
“You’ll see the people who fall short of our high standards being dealt with swiftly and robustly… Together, we will succeed in delivering a new Met for London.”
PinkNews has contacted The Telegraph for comment.