A policewoman filmed in uniform chanting “free Palestine” alongside protestors in central London over the weekend is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police’s professional standards unit.
Footage of the office, posted on Twitter, sparked questions from some corners as to whether she should have expressed political views while on duty.
The officer, who has not been named, was filmed holding a white rose and hugging a female demonstrator, telling her: “I’ve got you and I’m here”. She then turned to the crowd, raised her hand and shouted: “Free free Palestine”.
Police officers are forbidden from taking part in any activity that is “likely to interfere with the impartial discharge of duty or likely to give rise to the impression that the activity may do so”.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said the force’s internal Directorate of Professional Standards was investigating.
He said: “While officers are encouraged to positively engage with those attending demonstrations, they know they are not to actively participate or adopt political positions.”
A UK police officer is under investigation after a video of her shouting “Free Palestine” during anti-Israeli demonstrations in London emerged on social media pic.twitter.com/mzxnDex406— TRT World (@trtworld) May 18, 2021
Last summer Dame Cressida Dick, the Met commissioner, said that officers policing protests should not take a knee for safety reasons. Some officers at Black Lives Matter demonstrations had done so, in solidarity with the anti-racist protests.
Conflict in the Middle East shows little sign of slowing, after Israeli air strikes killed at least six people across the Gaza Strip and destroyed the home of a large extended family on Monday.
The military said it widened its strikes on militant targets to the south amid continuing rocket fire from the Hamas-ruled territory.
Residents surveyed the piles of bricks, concrete and other debris that had once been the home of 40 members of al-Astal family.
They said a warning missile struck the building in the southern town of Khan Younis five minutes before the airstrike, allowing everyone to escape.
Ahmed al-Astal, a university professor, described a scene of panic before the airstrike hit, with men, women and children racing out of the building in various states of undress.
“We had just gotten down to the street, breathless, when the devastating bombardment came,” he said.
“They left nothing but destruction, the children’s cries filling the street… This is happening and there is no one to help us.
“We ask God to help us.”