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Met slammed for 'failing to enforce law' during protests

By Peter Madeley | Dudley | Crime | Published:

A Black Country MP has hit out at the Metropolitan Police for failing to take action against the "violent and mob-like element" of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Protesters threw a statue of Edward Colston into Bristol harbour during a Black Lives Matter protest rally

Marco Longhi said the Met had "inexplicably and unacceptably" failed to enforce the law during protests that have broken out across the UK since the killing of George Floyd in the US.

The Conservative MP for Dudley North said he was appalled that officers had stood by and watched while protestors defaced and toppled statues, clashed with police, and breached social distancing guidelines by congregating in large numbers.

He also claimed a march through Brixton at the start of the month by the Forever Family Force group had contravened UK law, as members wore stab vests and paramilitary uniforms.

Mr Longhi has written to Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick demanding an explanation for her decisions.

Vandals defaced the statue of Sir Winston Churchill at Parliament Square in London, following a Black Lives Matter protest.

He wrote: "As an MP, I must place on record the utter dismay that I and thousands of constituents of mine have at the Metropolitan Police's lack of action.

"The clear message sent out is that people can behave with impunity and disrespect of our laws and suffer no consequences. There are also very negative and severe consequences for community cohesion."

Mr Longhi told the Express & Star that he objected to the "culture and history cancelling attitude taken by so many in positions of responsibility".

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He referenced Bristol's police chief Andy Marsh – who ordered his officers not to intervene while vandals toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston – and a fire chief in the West Midlands who banned the Black Country flag, a decision which has since been reversed.

Dudley North MP Marco Longhi

"Many people will have been completely dismayed by the Metropolitan Police's handling of the violent and mob-like element of Black Lives Matter," Mr Longhi said.

"I know we can always improve as a society and I for one will always want to learn how to do so. But I utterly condemn violence of any kind and the defacing and damage of statues, cenotaphs or any public realm object.

"Irrespective of opinions, the law is the law, and the police should enforce the law. They should not decide which law to enforce one day and not another."

The Met has been contacted for a response.

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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