Met Commissioner accused of pandering to the right-wing in Telegraph interview

"Him taking this stand shows me he’s not impartial because he’s pandering to the top boss, to the right-wing”

A photo of the Metropolitan Police HQ, New Scotland Yard

The acting Met Police Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley has been accused of ‘political posturing’ and pandering to the right-wing by a former Met Superintendent after an interview with Rowley in The Telegraph.

A Telegraph article published on Tuesday led with the angle that Rowley will not allow officers to express support for so called “woke” causes while on duty. The article titled ‘Met chief cracks down on support for woke causes’ appears to deliberately play into the culture wars narrative by conflating the word ‘woke’ with supporting causes that seek to protect minorities, a practice extremely prevalent in the right-wing press, who lapped the story up.  

The article laid out how Rowley was “fairly narrow-minded” when it comes to officers taking the knee, flying rainbow flags or adorning their uniforms with badges that support environmental causes.

Former Met Superintendent Nusrit Mehtab said the commissioner’s views show he’s pandering to the right-wing establishment and failing to demonstrate that the force is moving to tackle institutional racism.

“It’s just political posturing by the Commissioner,” said Mehtab on Times Radio. “Him taking this stand shows me he’s not impartial because he’s pandering to the top boss, to the right-wing.”

“To make this statement just shows me that he isn’t serious about turning the Met around. With this message to police officers it’s giving certain police officers the green light to carry on their bad behaviour.”

The Met Police have since denied that the Met Commissioner used the word “woke” in the interview. Scotland Yard refuted Rowley’s use of the word “woke” at all when approached by the publication PinkNews for comment.

Rowley did say that it wasn’t “woke” to engage with communities to understand what worries them and that the comments weren’t aimed at a particular part of society.

He said aligning with causes is “not something policing should be doing” and would not “deliver the scale of change required across the Met”.

The obsession of the right-wing media and institutions to focus on so called “woke” issues proves again a distraction from holding institutions accountable for their proven failings. With the recent Baroness Casey review finding the Met Police force to be “institutionally racist, homophobic and misogynist”, with bullying, discrimination and harassment reported within the force.

(Image credit: Can Pac Swire – Creative Commons)

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward, focusing on trade unions and environmental issues

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