Met chief apologises in person to community leaders over ‘openly Jewish’ remark

The meeting came after Rishi Sunak described the force’s treatment of a Jewish man as ‘unconscionable’


Sir Mark Rowley is under pressure to resign over the Met's handling of anti-Israel marches after footage emerged of an officer threatening to arrest an 'openly Jewish' man (Photo: AFP)

Jewish leaders have praised the Metropolitan Police for making “positive steps” over their regulation of anti-Israel protests but called for greater action to limit the impact of marches on the community.

A meeting between the force and Jewish groups was held on this morning amid the fallout over the treatment of a man who was described by a police officer as “openly Jewish”, threatened with arrest and prevented from crossing a road during a Palestine rally earlier this month.

Gideon Falter, who leads the Campaign Against Antisemitism, was filmed in a tense standoff with an officer while wearing a kippah and carrying a tallit bag in central London on 13 April. He said he had been attending synagogue prior to the altercation.

The Met has since apologised twice after Falter was told his presence at the march was causing a "breach of the peace".

In a statement released today ahead of Pesach, the Community Security Trust said Jewish leaders had since met with Met Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley and other senior officers to discuss community concerns.

After repeating the apologies made regarding Falter, Met representatives agreed to consult more closely with Jewish community representatives and senior Jewish police officers, to ensure, “greater cultural sensitivity in future communications relating to the Jewish community.”

The CST said: "All the organisations present expressed their appreciation for how much the police have done since October 7 to support the Jewish community; however, all stressed that when a mistake is made it needs to be admitted, rectified and learnt from so it is not repeated.

“We will continue our dialogue with police later this week to press our concerns regarding the cumulative impact of the repeated anti-Israel protests in terms of disruption and intimidation of the Jewish community.”

The Jewish groups present, which included the Board of Deputies, the London Jewish Forum, the CST and the Union of Jewish Students, urged the police and government to limit the number and scale of anti-Israel protests.

“We have repeatedly raised these issues and related concerns with police since October 7,” the CST said.

"We have seen improvements in the policing of protests since then but often these positive steps are not noticed, whereas mistakes attract widespread attention. We will continue to press for strong and consistent action to help build up Jewish community confidence in the police.”

Meanwhile, writing for the JC, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak described the Met’s treatment of Falter as “unconscionable”.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist has written to Falter to offer a private meeting at which the force will apologise to him personally.

Speaking to Times Radio, however, the former chief inspector of constabulary defended the Met’s actions.

Sir Tom Winsor said officers were “diligently and conscientiously” trying to protect Falter from demonstrators who may have been a threat to him.

“It was not only their right to prevent him doing so, it was their duty to prevent a breach of the peace,” he added.

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