Police have asked their officers to "take the knee" for Black Lives Matter protesters
Hertfordshire Constabulary said those who chose not to make the solidarity gesture ‘may become the focus of the protesters’ attention’. Reports the Mail on Sunday.
The advice was issued during a recent operational briefing and points out that, when officers kneel down – joining in the symbolic stance of the Black Lives Matter movement – it ‘has a very positive reaction on the protest groups’.
People across the world have been encouraged to ‘take the knee’ as part of a Stand Up To Racism campaign, following the recent death of George Floyd at the hands of US police.
Scotland Yard initially said officers can kneel when it is safe and does not interfere with their duties. It later told its officers they should not kneel at public order events for their own safety, but that at other times it was a personal choice.
But one Met officer, Inspector Richard Berns, broke ranks and declared he would not get involved in politics by taking the knee.
Alan Pughsley, the Chief Constable of Kent, is believed to be the first top-ranking officer to make the gesture since protests began.
Hertfordshire Police said of the kneeling advice: ‘Officers working at events involving the Black Lives Matters movement are free to demonstrate their personal support by “taking the knee” should they wish.