An English police force has suggested that officers ‘take the knee’ during Black Lives Matter protests in order to avoid unwanted attention from the leftist activists, a move which Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage described as “insanity mixed with cowardice”.
Hertfordshire Constabulary advised officers symbolically join the BLM movement by kneeling during a recent briefing for Operation Velour, claiming that the gesture of submission has a “very positive” effect on protests.
“Officers are to be mindful that this is optional and those who do not do so may become the focus of the protestors’ attention,” the advice said according to the Mail on Sunday.
“This has a very positive and engaging effect and when taken by officers, has a positive reaction on the protest groups,” Hertfordshire Constabulary added.
A senior detective from the constabulary slammed the move, saying: “It’s absurd. Will officers be expected to make similarly appeasing gestures at political events – far-Right protests, for instance?”
Nigel Farage also blasted the police force, remarking: “That Hertfordshire police want their officers to take the knee before protestors is a total surrender to anarchy, Marxism and an organisation that wants them abolished. Insanity mixed with cowardice.”
Former Home Secretary David Blunkett also decried the move, warning that such acts could serve to politicise the police force.
“I am concerned that the gesture of kneeling, though prompted by the best instincts, might give the perception of undermining the role of the police in such situations,” Blunkett said.
“They are there to ensure a safe demonstration, not to make political statements,” he said, adding: “may have been left deeply uneasy at the sight of police kneeling before a protesting crowd.”
In response to the outcry, Hertfordshire Police said: “Officers working at events involving the Black Lives Matters movement are free to demonstrate their personal support by “taking the knee” should they wish.
“The force has not sought to either encourage or discourage this action which remains a personal choice,” the constabulary claimed.
Initially, Scotland Yard said that officers could take a knee during the protests, however, later backtracked on the statement out of concern for the safety of officers following attacks on police by BLM agitators.
Traditionally, British police officers were expected to not make political statements while in uniform.
The act of kneeling before Black Lives Matter protesters was first seen in America and was later picked up by top members of the Democratic Party establishment, who kneeled in the Capitol Building in ‘solidarity’ with the BLM movement.
Left-wing politicians in Britain also joined in on the act, with Labour Party leader Sir Kier Starmer and his deputy Angela Raynor kneeling in the Houses of Parliament last week. Sir Kier said: “We kneel with all those opposing anti-Black racism. #BlackLivesMatter.”